“We pushed for Volkswagen’s decision also because we were faced with the question of whether to invest additional funds in the development of the location. Now I don’t have a clear opponent to be able to propose another solution to the government,” said Síkela, adding that the Czech Republic has so far invested several tens of millions of CZK in the preparation of the zone.

According to Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS), the construction of a gigafactory for batteries for electric cars is still among the government’s priorities, he told journalists. He held talks with Volkswagen CEO Oliver Blum on Monday. According to the prime minister, it would be good if the entire chain of electric car production was located in the Czech Republic, i.e. lithium mining, battery production and electric car production. According to Fiala, the Líně Airport, if there was no project similar to the VW gigafactory for the location, would continue to serve the army. “If there was a fantastic project of similar significance as the Volkswagen gigafactory, then we can talk about it. However, such a project is not completely on the table. We are discussing several battery production projects in the Czech Republic, which usually have other locations,” the Prime Minister pointed out.

According to Síkela, of the five interested parties, two projects are on a similar scale to the Volkswagen gigafactory being considered in Líny near Pilsen, and three are smaller. For smaller projects, the Ministry of Industry offers other locations, as well as for one of the larger ones. For the last project, which is in the initial stage of negotiations, Lína is also in the game, Síkela said. “All five investors have expressed their wish that we not publish their names for now. One even said that if his name leaked, he would immediately end the meeting,” Síkela added.

“Given the market situation, including the slower take-off of the electric car market in Europe, there are currently no commercial reasons to decide on additional locations in Europe. At the same time, the Volkswagen concern and PowerCo have already selected three locations for the production of battery cells: Salzgitter (Germany), Valencia (Spain) and St. Thomas (Canada). These three plants have a production potential of up to 200 GWh per year,” Blume said today.

According to Blume, the Czech government, in cooperation with local partners, has done an excellent job in preparing the potential location of the battery factory. Volkswagen will be in connection with the transformation of its Škoda car company Auto for the production of electric cars in close contact with the government and will continue strategic negotiations, he added.

Chairman of the Board of Directors of Škoda Auto Klaus Zellmer said that from a commercial point of view, it is not possible to decide on another factory now. “I am committed to helping transform the automotive industry. The future of Škoda Auto is electric and we have committed to invest 5.6 billion euros in electromobility and 700 million euros in digitalization by 2027,” he said. In addition to the continuation of production of the Enyaq electric car in Mladá Boleslav, Škoda will be in the Czech Republic Auto also produce a new large electric family SUV based on the Vision 7S study.

In the largest European markets, according to PwC’s analysis, in the first three quarters of the year, the share of electric and hybrid cars exceeded half of all newly registered cars for the first time aut. The Czech market is growing significantly slower, the share of newly registered aut with an electric motor and hybrids exceeded 20 percent this year.

According to EY expert Petr Knap, Volkswagen’s cautious approach to the next big investment in the context of the development of electromobility markets and the strong entry of competitors makes sense. “It is positive that the Czech Republic had an interesting offer and did not lose in this gigafactory competition. We should strive for another similar project, and several discussions are underway. Damage Auto in any case, it still has a key place in the VW brand portfolio,” he added.

Until recently, according to Cyrrus economist Vít Hradil, the Czech Republic offered foreign investors two main attractions: cheap labor and an excellent geographical location. “However, with the gradual growth of the economic level, the salary requirements of the employees also increased, which ceased to be cheap in international comparison. We have not lost the advantageous geographical location, but with technological progress, physical distance will become less and less of a relevant factor,” he concluded.