Saturday, June 07, 2014

Tesla’s $5 billion plant proving a fickle mistress for bidding states

Senior Reporter- Phoenix Business Journal
Tesla is proving to be a fickle mistress for Arizona and other Western economic developers trying to land its $5 billion, 6,500-worker battery factory. Deadlines have come and gone, and CEO Elon Musk keeps changing the rules for the site selection.

Musk said at Tesla’s annual meeting this week he might have three sites as finalists for the plant, and a final decision might not come until the end of the year. That comes on the heels of moving deadlines, and California first being out and now being in the running for the plant. Musk also said previously that there would be two finalists.

“I can’t wait until it's over,” said one local economic official working on a Tesla bid.

Locations in Surprise, Goodyear and Buckeye could be in the running for Musk’s short list. The Surprise Railplex in the West Valley could be a serious contender and part of a $50 million Arizona incentive package for the electric auto maker.

The quandary is that Tesla could include Texas — and its Texas-sized incentives — on the short list, sparking a bidding war with other states, or it could simply use other states to squeeze a sweetheart deal out of its home state of California. Tesla is based in Palo Alto and has its assembly plant in Fremont. California wants to keep Tesla, especially since Toyota recently decided to move its U.S. headquarters from Los Angeles to Dallas.

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