Tesla eyes Arizona for new manufacturing plant

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Electric car maker Tesla has big plans and Arizona is in the middle of them.

It has plans to build a $5 billion, 10 million square foot manufacturing plant for its batteries.

It's looking at four states right now: Texas, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona.

Tucson leaders believes, given the needs of Tesla, it should be at the top of the list.

Tesla, according to some financial experts, will need rail service to move its heavy batteries to California for car assembly.

Tucson has its inland port built five years ago with train commerce in mind.

It's located along the Southern Pacific line, near I-10, I-19 with access to I-8.

Tesla says its interested in space exploration, especially Mars missions. The University of Arizona is heavily involved in Mars missions, especially with the Rover.

Tesla is immersed in solar energy. Tucson is the "Solar City."

Tesla says it needs space, lots of it. Southeast Tucson has plenty.

An educated workforce can be supplied by the University.

The U of A Tech Park is also a source of new, innovative research.

"It's a perfect fit," says Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild.

Tesla brings with it 6,500 new jobs.

"I think this is something the entire community can get behind," he says. "The city, the county, the Chambers of Commerce, the University."

Still, it's difficult to get anyone to talk about it.

TREO, which would be instrumental in bringing the company to Tucson says "because of confidentiality agreements, we cannot comment."

Tesla itself says "We can confirm Arizona is being considered" but would go no further than that.

Tesla also would not set a timetable or which state may be the frontrunner.

The Mayor of Tucson says looking at the proposals Tucson has an edge.

He says Tucson did offer tax incentives and it has the land and water guarantees which are important.

He says the company and city have not had a conversation about the potential deal yet.

"I would like to get them talking at the table," he says.

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