Tesla has picked Austin, Texas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, as finalists for its new U.S. assembly plant, a person briefed on the matter said Friday.
The person says company officials visited Tulsa in the past week and were shown two sites.
It wasn’t clear if any other finalists were in the mix. The person didn’t want to be identified because the site selection process is secret.
The Palo Alto, California-based electric-car maker has said it wants the factory to be in the center of the country and closer to East Coast markets.
Both Mayor G.T. Bynum and Gov. Kevin Stitt issued statements pushing Tulsa as a potential factory site for Tesla.
“While I cannot comment on potential projects, it is clear that Tesla and Tulsa were forged in the same spirit,” Bynum said in his statement. “Both founded by pioneers who dreamt big and made it happen. Both trying to change the world with a new kind of energy. Both investing big in what matters most: people. Tulsa is a city that doesn’t stifle entrepreneurs — we revere them. And as Tesla continues to rapidly change transportation all around the world, I can’t imagine a better place for them to further that important work than Green Country.”
The governor’s statement followed a similar welcoming tone.
“To the press, we can’t comment on any pending proposals,” Stitt said. “To (Tesla CEO) Elon Musk and Tesla, the people of Oklahoma love our trucks, we love our rockets and we would love to partner with you here in our great state. As a Tulsan myself, I can tell you that confusing the names Tulsa and Tesla has happened more than once, so it would only be appropriate to have a Tesla factory right here.
“Oklahoma is open for business and our world-class workforce, business-friendly policies and caring people make us an excellent choice for companies worldwide. When you consider our state’s central location — providing access to a wide customer base — and Tulsa’s nationally-recognized quality of life and strong manufacturing workforce, we would make a great long-term partner for a world-class company like Tesla.
“When you factor in our state’s automotive engineer workforce tax credit, it makes even more financial sense for Tesla to set up shop in Tulsa.”
The stakes are high for state and local governments. Tesla has said the plant will be larger than its factory in Fremont, California, which employs 10,000 workers.
Companies typically play finalists against each other in order to get the best package of tax breaks and other incentives.
Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber, issued a statement expressing confidence that Tulsa could be a “tremendous home” for Tesla.
“We at the Tulsa Regional Chamber are always thrilled at the prospect of a major new employer coming to northeast Oklahoma,” Neal said. “Companies like Google and Amazon have already seen how much our region has to offer in terms of innovation and attitude. We have the land, infrastructure and workforce that could support a Gigafactory. Elon Musk has said he wants a Cybertruck facility based in the center of the country. We can go one better than that: Google ‘Center of the Universe’ and you’ll find it’s Tulsa. We are a region of dreamers and doers, and we are home to people with unabashedly big ideas.”
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