Elon Musk has reached a deal with the business-friendly state of Nuevo León, giving Tesla access to a dedicated lane at a remote US-Mexico border crossing.
The Colombia Solidarity facility, a less frequented checkpoint just north of Laredo, offers a dedicated lane for the use of the electric car company's suppliers travelling from Mexico into Texas. Tesla relies on at least six suppliers in Nuevo León, which is closer to the automaker's new headquarters in Austin and shares a 10-mile border with the US. Only suppliers, not Tesla owners, are permitted to use the lane.
It is significantly faster and more effective. And perhaps in the future, other businesses will have a lane much as Tesla does. It's unclear what kind of incentive Tesla provided for the restricted access or what the usage guidelines are. According to US officials, US-managed crossings do not provide a dedicated lane for any corporation, hence the lane is apparently only available in one direction.
There are currently only the standard cargo lanes and the Free and Secure Trade (Fast) lane available for northbound commercial truck traffic on the Colombia-Solidarity Bridge. The Fast lane is only available to businesses that have signed up for the CBP-Trade Partnership against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program. There isn't a special lane reserved for Tesla or any other corporation.
According to border patrol personnel, it's unusual to see a dedicated lane for a single corporation. It is estimated that 5 to 7 percent of investment in the state will come from the electro-mobility sector as Nuevo León develops into a hub. Tesla was successful in persuading the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon to establish a unique crossing lane that makes it easier for its Mexican suppliers to travel to and from the United States. The state of Nuevo Leon borders Texas, where Tesla has relocated its corporate offices and now relies on a number of Mexican suppliers to run its business.
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Six suppliers from the state are currently collaborating with Tesla, including APG Mexico, EnFlex Corp., Faurecia, and even Germany's ZF. And it stands to reason that, now that the automaker has established Texas as its home base, the number of businesses it depends on across the border would grow over time.
Using the new dedicated lane, Tesla suppliers pass through the border crossing between Texas and Nuevo Leon in less than 10 minutes, compared to wait times of up to 25 minutes during peak hour. Something like this at a border crossing is incredibly uncommon, yet the Tesla sign is there to indicate the lane.
There is only one crossing point along the 9 kilometers of shared border between the two states. The only direct border between Nuevo Leon and the US is this one.
More Foreign Expansion
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has mentioned the potential for constructing a manufacturing in Mexico. There was a possibility that it would also be constructed in Canada, although the exact location had not yet been chosen. However, Nuevo Leon, whose government Tesla is already in contact with, may be a favorable location if Tesla were to choose Mexico.
Elon Musk reportedly said during an internal meeting that Tesla's upcoming North American manufacturing might not necessarily be in the US.
Tesla is reportedly already looking at potential locations for a new facility in North America, despite the fact that the new Gigafactory Texas is still far from producing electric vehicles at its full capacity.
Elon Musk announced last week that Tesla was examining several site choices more broadly in North America, including Canada and Mexico, and that this new development might not be located in the United States. Musk made this announcement during a company-wide meeting with Tesla employees.
Although Musk made it clear that the company's top priority in North America right now is to build up Gigafactory Texas to volume production, the comment signals that Tesla is actively looking at sites.