Electric cars could begin rolling off an Albuquerque assembly line in 2009 -
and they'll look nothing like golf carts.
New Mexico's biggest city will be home to an automobile assembly facility for
Tesla Motors' all-electric, four-door, five-passenger sedan that will sell for
at least $50,000.
"I really believe the future is electric vehicles. I think we will look back
upon gasoline-powered cars ... as a temporary aberration," company chairman Elon
Musk said Monday during a news conference.
Musk was a co-founder of the PayPal online payment system and is founder and
chief executive officer of Space X, which develops and manufactures space launch
The $35 million facility on Albuquerque's west side will mean 400 new jobs, Gov.
Bill Richardson said.
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., who attended the event, said there's a mandate from
the American people to reduce the addiction to foreign oil and deal with the
problem of global warming.
"We're going to be a major participant in seeing electric cars become the cars
of the future," Bingaman said.
Tesla Motors Inc., founded in 2003 and based in San Carlos, Calif., has more
than 160 employees at design, engineering and manufacturing facilities in
California, Michigan, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.
Its first vehicle, a two-seat sports car, will begin production this year at a
facility in England.
The company plans to produce at least 10,000 cars a year at the Albuquerque
plant, with the first cars slated to be ready in the fall of 2009. They would be
able to travel 250 miles before being recharged, officials said.
Construction is scheduled to begin in April on the 150,000-square-foot plant.
"This really fits us like a glove," said Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez, noting
that the city is also home to Eclipse Aviation, an innovator in personal jet
Tesla will get incentives from the state that include the high-wage job tax
credit, the manufacturer's investment tax credit and help from the Job Training
Incentive Program, Richardson said.
The governor also has committed $3.5 million in capital projects funding during
this legislative session and another $3.5 million next year. The money would go
to Bernalillo County for building and infrastructure investment related to the
Albuquerque and Bernalillo County have agreed to help with development of
infrastructure to the site.
And Richardson said state agencies will investigate the purchase of 100 of
Tesla's Albuquerque-produced vehicles over two years for the state fleet.