Buy electric, and buy local. This is the argument that Tulsa mayor G.T. Bynum is pitching to Tesla to win the Oklahoma city the next Gigafactory location.
Where the Tesla Cybertruck factory will be built has not yet been decided, but it would seem that competition is hot between Texas and Oklahama, the two states that have been shortlisted for Tesla’s next big Gigafactory announcement.
Tesla introduced its rule-breaking and innovative Cybertruck to the world in November 2019, and it has since attracted more than half a million refundable $US100 ($A150 in Australia) pre-orders according to order trackers, half of which were in the first week of its release.
In the US, it would seem there has been a great deal of interest in the Cybertruck particularly in the mid-western states.
Tesla’s decision on its location will mean jobs as well as some serious clean transport kudos, but which city it will be in – Tulsa, Oklahoma or Austin, Texas – is still anyone’s guess.
Austin is likely the odds-on favourite. Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk first mused on Twitter about a Texas Gigafactory in February, and then threatened last Monday to take Tesla headquarters to Texas or Nevada after the country of Alameda countered the state of California’s directive that Tesla and other manufacturers could reopen.
Last Wednesday it was reported that Musk has apparently had discussions with the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott. Abbott said that Musk was definitely interested in Texas, and frustrated with California.
Now, G.T. Bynum, mayor of Tulsa, has made it his own play for the upcoming Tesla Gigafactory.
Although the mayor would not comment in an article with local media site Tulsa World on Tuesday (US time) whether Tesla was leaning towards Tulsa, tweets made over the last few days send a clear message: “If @Tesla and #Tulsa team up to change the world, it would only be right to #BuyLocal.”
Coupled with a branded Cybertruck bearing the Tulsa police livery, it’s clear Tulsa would welcome a Cybertruck Gigafactory, and might even switch its police fleet over to the versatile electric vehicle.
— G.T. Bynum (@gtbynum) May 17, 2020
“The desire from businesses to invest in Tulsa is strong. We’ve announced over $1 billion in private sector investment over the last 3 years and throughout the global pandemic we have continued to engage with companies that are interested in Tulsa,” said Bynum in a follow up tweet.
Bynum also posted via his mayoral Facebook page saying that, “While I can not comment on potential projects, it is clear that Tesla and Tulsa were forged in the same spirit.
“Both founded by pioneers who dreamt big and made it happen. Both trying to change the world with a new kind of energy. Both investing big in what matters most: people.
“Tulsa is a city that doesn’t stifle entrepreneurs – we revere them. And as Tesla continues to rapidly change transportation all around the world, I can’t imagine a better place for them to further that important work than Green Country.”
Interesting times, but like many things Tesla we will have to wait for an official announcement from the Californian EV maker, possibly by the end of May if Musk’s comment in the company’s first quarter earnings call bear out.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.