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Friday, August 14, 2009

"You're the first official from Long Beach to tell me the City wants TESLA to be there."

Even though the Mayor and City Manager have included in the current budget projections TESLA Motors as a source of revenue for the City of Long Beach, I have been unable to get specific information from the City Manager about what exactly has been done to attract TESLA Motors to relocate to Long Beach to produce electric vehicles.

And because the Council rejected my proposal last year to establish a "red team" that would pull out the stops to attract new jobs to Long Beach, I called the President of TESLA Motors, Eldon Musk yesterday afternoon on a hunch that nothing has been done to get TESLA here.

I was shocked when Mr. Musk told me "you're the first official from Long Beach to tell me that the city wants TESLA Motors to relocate there to produce electric vehicles."

That's right. No one has even bothered to reach out to TESLA.

Mr. Musk told me that the Mayor won't return his calls because lower level staff at the City have made it clear the Mayor doesn't want any other business courted for the Boeing property except a movie studio. Really. This matches what the City Manager told me when I asked why nothing had been done to reach out to TESLA and the City Manager said "staff decided a movie studio would be better at the property."

I don't recall the City Council directing staff to do this...which is why I put the issue on the agenda last Tuesday. Someone has to publicly explain why we might lose the 1,000 jobs TESLA would bring.

Oh, that's the other part of my conversation. Mr. Musk says they want to come to Long Beach and manufacture 20,000 electric vehicles and produce 1,000 jobs. But they are looking elsewhere because no one at Long Beach seems interested.

I asked him what he needs. He didn't ask for land, or redevelopment money as I had been told by staff that he had. He said the biggest problem will be getting through City Planning and Building and environmental review but because they are building electric cars they believe that will be a plus.

I asked him if he was aware that the airport area is in our "enterprise zone" and that TESLA could receive tax credits for every person hired at a Long Beach plant. He said "no one told us."

Who is TESLA? According to their website:
Based in California’s Silicon Valley, Tesla Motors is the only automaker in the world manufacturing and selling highway-capable EVs. The company's goal is to produce increasingly affordable cars to mainstream buyers – relentlessly driving down the cost of EV technology. Tesla also sells patented powertrain components to other automakers.
Oh and by the way, the US Department of Energy thinks TESLA has a bright future which is why...

Tesla gets loan approval from US Department of Energy

Electric vehicle manufacturer will use loans to build an assembly plant for Model S sedan and another facility to manufacture electric powertrains.

June 23, 2009

SAN CARLOS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE) —Tesla Motors has received approval for about $465 million in low-interest loans from the US Department of Energy to accelerate the production of affordable, fuel-efficient electric vehicles.

Tesla will use $365 million for production engineering and assembly of the Model S, an all-electric family sedan that carries seven people and travels up to 300 miles per charge.

The Model S has an anticipated base price of $49,900 after a $7,500 US federal tax credit. It has lifetime ownership costs equivalent to a conventional car with a sticker price of $35,000, thanks to the lower cost of electricity vs. gasoline and a relative lack of service and maintenance. Tesla expects to start Model S production in late 2011 in a state-of-the-art assembly plant employing about 1,000 workers.

Tesla will use $100 million for a powertrain manufacturing plant. The facility will supply all-electric powertrain solutions to other automakers, greatly accelerating the availability of mass-market EVs. The new facility will employ about 650 people.

Tesla is in the final stages of negotiation for facilities in California.

Gee, just think if this kind of nonsense continues, Long Beach may soon have its own version of the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car."

Save Station 18

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