Musk tells Moscow he could expand Tesla manufacturing to Russia

Musk tells Moscow he could expand Tesla manufacturing to Russia
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Friday said that he would be open to expanding Tesla manufacturing to Russia while speaking at an event for students sponsored by the Kremlin.

Musk, who was invited to the event by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, spent 45 minutes discussing Tesla's artificial intelligence programs and hiring practices and answering questions from students, according to Bloomberg.

“I think we’re close to establishing a Tesla presence in Russia, and I think that would be great,” Musk said at the event. “Over time, we will look to have factories in other parts of the world, potentially Russia at some point.”

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Despite Musk's comments, Russia seems to be an unusual choice for a new Tesla factory, considering just 5,300 used and 700 new electric vehicles were purchased in the country last year, according to Bloomberg.

Less than 0.2 percent of Russia's passenger cars are electric, the news outlet noted. However, Tesla's website does indicate that the company sees potential in the country and lists five supercharger locations as “coming soon.”

Russian politician Aleksandr Brechalov welcomed the idea, responding to Musk's remarks on Twitter.

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Musk also called for conversations to begin between the U.S. and Moscow on Friday, Bloomberg reported.

“There’s a lot of talent and energy in Russia,” he said. “Hopefully that energy continues into the future, and I would just like to strongly encourage people to strive to make the future better than the past and to be optimistic about the future.”