Tesla: New Mexico One of Four Finalists for 'Gigafactory'

27 Feb 2014

new mexico, manufacturing

Nick Pappas | Albuquerque Journal -

New Mexico is one of four finalists for Tesla Motors Inc.’s multibillion-dollar battery “gigafactory,” a 10-million-square-foot facility that is expected to employ up to 6,500 workers.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based electric car manufacturer said Wednesday that it has narrowed the location to Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas for the giant plant that would power its cars of the future.

And should Tesla ultimately choose New Mexico for its state-of-the-art facility, that certainly would be good news for the Albuquerque metro.

“Tesla is one of the most exciting companies on the planet, and we are thrilled that the Albuquerque metro area is being considered for this world-class project,” Gary Tonjes, president of Albuquerque Economic Development, told the Journal.

Tonjes said his organization first reached out to Tesla last summer after seeing reports in the media of the company’s success and the growing popularity of its battery-powered Model S luxury sedan, which earlier this week was named Consumer Reports’ top pick for 2014.

“We contacted them last August … and let them know about changes taking place in New Mexico since we were last engaged in conversations with them,” he said.

Tonjes was referring to 2007, when Tesla came close to building a $35 million automobile assembly plant in Albuquerque. But a series of tax breaks and other incentives offered by then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger persuaded the company to build its cars in its home state.

New Mexico is far more competitive now, Tonjes said, citing a tax-reform package approved by the Legislature last year that included the “single sales factor” tax formula. As a result, a corporation’s local payroll and property no longer are considered when assessing how much it owes the state in corporate income taxes.

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