Mobility Portal, Spain
Date: May 17, 2024
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By Lucila de los Santos

Musk’s nod to Argentina opens up questions about the mogul’s eMobility investments

"I recommend investing in Argentina," Elon Musk posted after his latest meeting with President Javier Milei. But recommending is not the same as doing. In the country, Tesla electric cars are not sold, nor have chargers from the brand been deployed, let alone a gigafactory.
The President of Argentina, Javier Milei, alongside Elon Musk.
The President of Argentina, Javier Milei, alongside Elon Musk.

The series of meetings between Elon Musk and Javier Milei fuel expectations in the country, although reality differs from the posts they make on social media, where a personal and ideological harmony is observed.

A scenario of potential investments in Argentine territory is being fueled, and many wonder if there is a chance that this friendship will translate into new businesses, as it happened with Tesla‘s venture in Mexico.

In 2023, an announcement sparked discussion: the company’s landing in Argentina under a new importer.

However, there have been no updates so far.

It’s worth mentioning that as of last July, there were about 230 electric vehicle charging stations in the country, none of which are Tesla Superchargers.

A story like that of two young teenagers surrounds both characters.

They started exchanging messages until they met face to face on April 12, when the libertarian visited the South African magnate’s industrial plant in Austin, Texas.

On May 5, they met again at the global investors summit in Los Angeles, where the president was invited by the Milken Institute to participate in the event.

Without beating around the bush, Milei wanted to make things clear to Musk.

“I want him to invest. Wherever he wants,” he expressed to his entourage before the encounter with the owner of the X social network.

The truth is that there is a widespread “Hmm” in the air. Even though the Argentine president wishes it, reality seems distant.

The lack of superchargers is compounded by the current economic outlook. The automotive industry is scratching its head at the fact that prices are not rising.

This directly affects profitability because inputs continue to increase due to inflation, which requires rising costs, fixed expenses, and salaries, while the price of cars remains stagnant.

What is Argentesla?

As mentioned earlier, the iconic electric car brand is about to have its first opportunity in Argentina, a market where few automakers have dared to sell models that use this technology 100 per cent, and there are only a few local manufacturers dedicated exclusively to electric motors.

By whose hand? The landing is scheduled for this year, and it would be in the hands of an importer, as has been done in other countries in the region, since Tesla only has official presence in Mexico within Latin America.

However, various markets in the region are being explored by private importers, as is the case with Hilton Motors in Uruguay.

In this context, according to IProfesional, Argentesla, based in Buenos Aires and Boston, emerges as the pioneer in bringing this commercial model to Argentina.

Argentesla’s initial strategy will focus on importing upon customer request.

It has already taken the first steps to homologate three Tesla models: Model 3, Model X, and Model Y, in addition to the chargers.

Some are more eager than others and cannot wait for the updates, which have not yet appeared in the country.

A Buenos Aires mayor made a unique offer to Musk

Marcelo Matzkin, who leads the Zárate municipality, offered tax benefits to the Tesla automaker to install an electric car factory in that northern part of the Buenos Aires province.

“In Zárate, Argentina, any company that wants to establish itself to produce electric vehicles, their parts, and charging infrastructure will not pay taxes for ten years,” said Matzkin.

“We await you, Elon Musk. We have the best location and incredible cuisine,” he adds.

The Zárate district already hosts two car factories: Toyota Argentina (which has been operating for 26 years) and Mercedes-Benz Trucks and Buses, which is already under construction and plans to start production in early 2026.

It is worth noting that during that first meeting between Milei and the magnate in Austin, Texas, they agreed on a visit by Musk to Argentina, scheduled for mid-this year.

The president’s advisor, Carlos Ruckauf, revealed that Tesla could install an electric vehicle production plant to supply all of Latin America from Argentina, provided that Congress approves the Electromobility Law.

It only remains to be seen if Musk’s visit will materialize and if that could potentially lead to an investment.

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