The word is out. Tesla is searching the U.S. for a place to build its dramatically styled Cybertruck.
CEO Elon Musk says he has in mind a spot somewhere in the middle of the continental U.S., meaning the heart of the country’s pickup truck market.
Tesla Trucks and SUVs
Tesla’s Cybertruck (Image: Tesla)
The new factory also would supply the East Coast with Tesla’s upcoming Model Y electric small crossover. That model is likely to go into production at the company’s home plant in Fremont, Calif., early next month.
The Cybertruck, which was unveiled in prototype form in November, is expected to be finalized and made ready for production by the end of next year. The angular pickup truck has a retail base price of $39,900, although the most powerful version will go for $69,900.
Exactly where will the Cybertruck plant be located? Tesla is vague, and for good reason.
States Bidding on Tesla
Back in 2014, Musk used the same tack to spark a bidding war among several states over the right to host the company’s $5 billion Gigafactory battery plant.
Nevada won that brawl by dangling $1.3 billion in tax breaks for the facility, which began pilot production outside Reno in 2016. The state has estimated the factory will bestow it with $100 billion, yes billion, in economic benefit.
Given Musk’s aversion to unionized labor, Tesla is likely to favor a right-to-work state such as Tennessee, Texas or Michigan. Musk tells The Wall Street Journal that low logistics costs and access to a large local workforce will be important.
The Cybertruck factory would be Tesla’s fourth vehicle assembly facility. The company opened its second big auto plant, located in Shanghai, in January. A third factory outside Berlin is expected to be completed next year.
Those three complexes alone will eventually give Tesla the capacity to make about 1.3 million vehicles per year worldwide. The EV maker aims to hike this year’s deliveries 36% to about 500,000 cars.
From the point of view of structural engineering and assembly, electric vehicles are a whole lot simpler than those with internal combustion engines, which probably goes a long way to explain why there are so many startups showing EVs.
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