Tesla Motors says decision on site for electric car factory is close, could be days away

By Dan Strumpf, AP
Friday, May 7, 2010

Tesla Motors close to picking site for new factory

NEW YORK — Tesla Motors Inc. is close to selecting a location for its new electric car assembly plant and a final decision could come in a matter of days, a spokeswoman said Friday.

“We think we’re days away,” Tesla spokeswoman Khobi Brooklyn said.

The company headquartered in San Carlos, Calif., has been scouting for a site to build its forthcoming Model S electric sedan, which is scheduled to go on sale in 2012. The Model S is slated to sell for $49,900 including federal tax credits and is designed to travel as far as 300 miles on a three- to five-hour charge.

Tesla currently makes only the $109,000 Roadster, a two-seater electric sports car that is partially built in California and England. The Roadster can travel 236 miles on a three-and-a-half hour charge.

The Los Angeles suburb of Downey has been trying to attract the carmaker. The city is finishing a lease deal that would allow Tesla to build a factory on property that used to be a NASA manufacturing plant, city councilman Mario Guerra said.

“We continue to work with Tesla on a daily basis,” Guerra said. The neighboring city of Long Beach is also bidding to attract Tesla.

The Department of Energy last June extended Tesla a $465 million loan to help it build the Model S. The loan came from a pool Congress set aside in 2007 to help automakers develop fuel-efficient technology. Ford Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and other carmakers have also received loans from the fund.

Tesla announced plans in January to hold an initial public offering of stock. The IPO has been widely anticipated, although the company has yet to say when it will begin selling shares to the public or how much money it plans to raise.

The company disclosed in its plans to go public that it has not been profitable. Through the end of 2009, it had sold 937 vehicles and has lost $236.4 million since it was founded in 2003.

Associated Press Writer Daisy Nguyen contributed to this report from Los Angeles.

May 8, 2010: 11:10 am

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