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El Paso-Las Cruces borderplex not on Tesla Motor’s list for $5 billion factory

Official: Regional sales pitch needed
By Vic Kolenc / El Paso Times
Posted: 03/30/2014 12:25:01 AM MDT

Tesla workers cheer on the first Tesla Model S cars sold during a rally in June 2012 at the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif. Tesla Motors has announced
Tesla workers cheer on the first Tesla Model S cars sold during a rally in June 2012 at the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif. Tesla Motors has announced plans to build a 5-billion factory to make batteries for its electric cars, and New Mexico is one of four state finalists to land the plant. ( AP photo)
(COURTESY OF TESLA MOTORS )

The El Paso-Santa Teresa-Las Cruces area isn’t on electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors’ list of areas where it’s looking to locate a $5-billion battery factory with about 6,500 jobs, a top El Paso area economic development official said.

“For yet unknown reasons, they did not select any communities in southern New Mexico and West Texas,” Rolando Pablos, chief executive officer of the Borderplex Alliance, a regional economic development organization based in El Paso, said in an email. “This is one of those ‘Super Bowl’ trophy projects all communities would love to land; but for which only a few will qualify.”

Pablos said he still wants area leaders to pursue the Tesla factory. The best way to do that is to make a “binational, regional play” for the plant, he said.

It’s hard to imagine a situation in which any one community in this area “could make a compelling case for themselves to get on the Tesla short list without invoking (and leveraging) the assets, strengths and other attributes” of this entire border area, Pablos wrote.

Tesla officials late last month announced the company planned to put what they labeled a gigafactory in one of four Southwest states: Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, or Nevada. It did not reveal community finalists.
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