22/01/2021

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Tesla eyes new US factory start this summer – reports | Automotive Industry News

Tesla would like to start building a large vehicle assembly plant in the southwestern United...

Tesla would like to start building a large vehicle assembly plant in the southwestern United States as early as the third quarter of this year, the company reportedly told Texas officials in documents made public this week.

Reuters said the documents showed the company was still making Texas and Oklahoma compete against each other in an effort to secure tax breaks.

The plant reportedly would build the upcoming electric pickup truck and Model Y SUV.

Reuters said Tesla had told officials in Travis County, Texas, the automaker wants to invest about US$1bn to build a 4m to 5m square foot vehicle assembly plant employing 5,000 people on the grounds of what is now a cement operation near Austin.

But it needs tax breaks to make the site competitive with an alternative location in Oklahoma, according to the documents.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk previously hinted about a Texas plant and state governor Greg Abbott has spoken with Musk about the possibility, Reuters added.

Oklahoma’s secretary of commerce Sean Kouplen told the news agency Tulsa remained in the hunt for the plant.

“We’ve pulled together a compelling, well balanced and, more importantly, a responsible performance based incentives package to attract Tesla to Oklahoma,” he said in a statement.

Reuters noted Tesla’s current sole US vehicle assembly plant in Fremont, California, [once the GM-Toyota NUMMI JV factory] covers 5.3m square feet – a large plant, but not large enough for the growing company. Tesla has had to build cars under a tent adjacent to the plant.

Musk clashed recently with California officials after Alameda county ordered the Fremont factory to halt production and comply with coronavirus stay at home orders that took effect in March and he threatened to move future operations to Texas or Nevada [where Tesla has its Gigafactory battery with Panasonic]. The California plant has since reopened, Reuters noted.