The Great Electric Hope?

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The Tesla Model S electric vehicle at the Detroit Auto Show (Photo: Getty Images)

The Tesla Model S electric vehicle at the Detroit Auto Show (Photo: Getty Images)

NUMMI will not be the last big auto maker in California. The federal government is helping to make sure of that.

Last month, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein announced she helped secure a $465 million loan from the Department of Energy to help Tesla build two new factories. One plant would manufacture electric vehicle battery packs, power trains, and related doo-dads in San Jose. The facility is likely to employ some NUMMI refugees – if they’re still unemployed when it opens.

Tesla has yet to announce where it plans to build the Model S, a four-door, all-electric sedan the company plans to put into production in 2012, at the earliest. There are at least two sites believed to be on the shortlist: one in Downey, one in Long Beach. Both cities have been trying to come up with deal sweeteners to win over the coy car maker from San Carlos.

Even if Tesla delivers one fifth of the number of jobs as NUMMI, the electric auto maker will be the only major auto maker in California. This is the start of a beautiful friendship from the standpoint of politicians desperate for job generators. And even though Tesla is planning to go public soon, creating all kinds of market pressures on the company's CEO, Elon Musk is obligated to stick around. At least in the near term.

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About Rachael Myrow

Rachael Myrow hosts the California Report for KQED. Over 17 years in public radio, she's worked for Marketplace and KPCC, filed for NPR and The World, and developed a sizable tea collection that's become the envy of the KQED newsroom. She specializes in politics, economics and history in California - but for emotional balance, she also covers food and its relationship to health and happiness.

Comments (1)

  1. charm pandora says:

    his is the start of a beautiful friendship from the standpoint of politicians desperate for job generators.