Expected to enter production by late 2021, the Cybertruck won’t wear a “made in California” label like every current member of the Tesla range. The company will manufacture the head-turning, pyramid-shaped pickup in a new factory it plans to build somewhere in the central part of the United States.
“[We’re] scouting locations for Cybertruck Gigafactory,” company co-founder and CEO Elon Musk revealed on his personal Twitter page. He added that the facility will also build the Model Y for the East Coast, which suggests the Fremont, California, factory currently making preproduction versions of the crossover won’t be able to keep up with demand on its own.
Scouting locations for Cybertruck Gigafactory. Will be central USA.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 11, 2020
America is a country the size of a continent, and the central part of it is almost as big as western Europe, so Musk’s statement poses more questions than it answers. Insiders told Tech Crunch the Tesla team is currently talking with officials in Nashville, Tennessee, about potentially building the facility there. The topics being discussed are private, but it’s not difficult to imagine they’re talking about infrastructure- and tax incentive-related matters.
Setting up shop in the Volunteer State makes sense, because it’s already home to three major car factories. General Motors runs a plant in Spring Hill that makes the GMC Acadia and the Cadillac XT5, Nissan’s Smyrna facility churns out the electric Leaf and the popular Rogue, while Volkswagen builds two versions of the Atlas and the Passat in Chattanooga. The VW factory is getting a major, $800 million makeover to build electric cars, like the ID.4.
The anonymous officials who spoke with Tech Crunch warned that the deal with Tennessean officials is far from done. There are other cities vying for Tesla’s business because a new Gigafactory promises to create thousands of jobs.
Regardless of which state the pickup calls home, it sounds like Tesla is gearing up to build a plant from scratch rather than take over an existing facility. It purchased the Fremontfactory that makes its current cars from Toyota, in 2010. Musk hasn’t revealed when his team will select a site, let alone when construction work will begin, but everything will need to be operational by the end of 2021, when Cybertruck deliveries are scheduled to start.
Tesla’s global manufacturing footprint is growing. In addition to the aforementioned California factory, it operates a plant on the outskirts of Reno, Nevada, that builds battery packs and car components. It recently inaugurated a manufacturing facility in Shanghai to supply the local market, though it might build a city-friendly, entry-level model there in the coming years. It’s also in the process of building its first factory in Europe, near Berlin, and it raised more than a few eyebrows in early 2020 by chopping down a forest to prepare the site.
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