Tucson not out of the running for Tesla plant

Published: Sep. 4, 2014 at 2:35 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 4:15 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A major announcement by Nevada's governor Thursday could put Reno as the site of Tesla's first gigafactory. Details won't be available until then. But the company said that discussions with other states such as Arizona will continue. The five billion dollar plant could create 6500 jobs as it makes batteries for Tesla's third-generation electric car.

The industrial area south or east of the airport would give Tesla access to air, rail and roads. Tucson mayor Jonathan Rothschild said Wednesday that Tesla and other high tech companies are noticing Tucson. Tesla's vice president of communications said that tomorrow's announcement will not stop discussions with other interested states like Arizona.

Tesla communications V.P. Simon Sproule said he couldn't give details on Thursday's announcement in Nevada. Expectations are high, even by Mayor Rothschild, that Reno is the first pick for a gigafactory site. Both Sproule and Rothschild said that more sites are possible. Sproule said Tesla wants to cover its bets by having at least one more site in case it hits snags at the first one. It wants to be able to make batteries for its third generation vehicle in the next few years. It's also keeping in mind it might need a second factory at some point. Mayor Rothschild said Tucson has shown it is willing to offer incentives such as zoning, electricity and water for the plant.

"One of the things that has happened, also good here, is we have opened up personal relationships with folks at Tesla. And they're good relationships. And so, I am confident that we are on their minds. We'll see where this goes. I don't give up and I don't give up easily," Rothschild said.

Sproule pointed out that discussions with Arizona are not specific to Tucson. He said that Tesla's plans with Arizona, California, New Mexico, or Texas should be known by the end of the year.

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