The bidding war for the new Tesla Gigafactory that will build the EV maker’s battery-electric pickup trucks appears to have intensified.
Joplin, Missouri, which sits close to the state’s borders with Oklahoma and Kansas, is reportedly prepared to offer Tesla a $1 billion package of incentives and savings to win the unfolding battle to be the site of Tesla’s new Cybertruck factory. Tesla has also drawn offers from communities in other states in the middle of the country.
CEO Elon Musk said on twitter he would prefer site somewhere in the middle of the continental U.S., meaning the heart of the country’s pickup truck market.
Joplin is offering Tesla a 1,042-acre site at a 50% discount, according to a website set up local representatives from the city to woo the company. It’s also coaxing the carmaker with a 100% tax abatement for 12 years, and various other tax breaks and incentives.
Part of Joplin’s appeal is cheaper labor. The median hourly earnings rate in the city is $27.86, significantly less than Austin, Texas, or Nashville, Tennessee, which also may be vying for Tesla’s attention.
Joplin says Tesla will be able to save $75 million annually on its payroll compared with the manufacturing and engineering wages paid in those other markets, according to Bloomberg.
The State of Oklahoma has also made a bid for the Tesla plant, which would build Cybertruck, which was unveiled last November.
The company currently builds its vehicles at a plant in Fremont, California. The Fremont plant, like other auto plants in the U.S., is currently shut down because of the social distancing requirements imposed by the State of California.
The pandemic has put a severe strain on Tesla’s rickety capital structure. Nonetheless, other automakers also are suffering from the same stresses and governments around the world are lining up to offer automakers financial assistance in a bid to protect the jobs they bring.
Nevada won the battle for battery-building Gigafactory. Tesla extracted $1.3 billion in tax breaks for the factory site outside of Reno. State officials have estimated the factory will bestow it with $100 billion in economic benefit, although a follow-up study has yet to be completed.
Tesla also has opened a new factory in Shanghai to build vehicles for the Chinese market and also begun work on a third plant near Berlin that is expected to build a mix of vehicles, batteries and electric vehicle powertrains.
The Cybertruck, according to Musk, is supposed to be ready for production by the end of next year, although the pandemic will likely alter the timetable. The angular pickup truck has a retail base price of $39,900, although the most powerful version will go for $69,900.