Two adjacent Southern California cities have been competing for the factory where Tesla Motors will build its all-electric 2012 Model S luxury sports sedan. Now, a pair of local papers have scooped the automotive press and broken the news: Downey beats Long Beach.
Downey Mayor Mario Guerra told the Downey Patriot that the deal is "99.9 percent done," and the Downey City Council could meet as early as tonight to approve the deal that would turn the 80-acre former NASA site over to a development company on Tesla's behalf.
Tesla received $465 million of low-interest loans from the Department of Energy this summer. Those loans require that a manufacturing plant more than 20 years old be refitted to produce vehicles with lower energy consumption than competitors in their class.
Fun trivia fact: The oldest surviving branch of McDonald's in the United States is located in Downey, dating back to 1953, complete with its original Golden Arches and a 60-foot animated neon sign.
Earlier this year, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk had slammed the efforts of the city of Long Beach, so the selection may not be a total surprise. It's also worth noting that Tesla is rumored to be planning in Initial Public Offering of its stock early next year.
Tesla has said it will launch the 2012 Model S in the fall of 2011. Before then, it must finish design and validation of the vehicle, outfit the factory, and get prototype production up and running.
For buyers who've been debating whether to buy a 2009 Tesla Roadster as a holiday gift, by the way, the State of Colorado's $42,000 tax credit for purchase of the fast, sporty, all-electric two-seater is still in force, but it expires December 31. You have been warned.