Lithuania Launches ‘Minecraft’ Pitch To Lure Tesla Plant

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Tesla Motors announcement that it was ready to select a site for a planned “gigafactory” in Europe has set off a flurry of suitors who are trying to lure the company to their respective countries.

The Netherlands – which already has a Tesla plant – France and Spain appear to be among the front-runners.

But none of them have come close to matching the kind of out of the box pitch that Lithuania has launched.

The Lithuanians turned to the “Minecraft” video game to build a virtual vision of the new plant.

Vladas Lasas, who was behind the project, says they wanted to send a message to Tesla CEO Elon Musk that Lithuania “has plenty of skillful” people as well as a perfect factory site.

He said that 41 computer geeks spent two days building the virtual factory in Kruonis in central Lithuania near a hydroelectric plant and two airports.

The pitch did catch the eye of Tesla executives.

No date has been set for the announcement of where the factory — estimated to cost ($5.4 billion) — will be built.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Musk said the new European plant would give his company the extra capacity needed to ramp production to reach the target of building 500,000 vehicles a year by 2018.

Tesla sold 11,775 cars in Europe in the first nine months of 2016, up 7.6 percent, according to figures from market analysts JATO Dynamics.

TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten. The Associated Press contributed to this report

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