Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt hosted a visit by Elon Musk and Craig Hulse, Tesla’s director of policy and government affairs, to an undisclosed location near Tulsa on the 4th of July. The pair were in Oklahoma to discuss the possibility of locating a Tesla factory in the area, which suggests Austin, Texas does not yet have a lock on being the site of the new facility, a facility which will probably be used first to build the Tesla Cybertruck.
— Governor Kevin Stitt (@GovStitt) July 4, 2020
Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce Sean Kouplen tells Tulsa World, “To maximize our time together, we had set up a tent, table, chairs, some snacks and water on the site,” Kouplen said. “You can see downtown from the site, we are up high on a hill, it is really a beautiful day. So we’re basically just having our little-over-an-hour conversation out there in the middle of the field.”
Stitt and Kouplen discussed the project with Musk in May when they traveled to Florida for the launch of the SpaceX rocket that took astronauts to the International Space Station. Stitt invited Musk to visit Tulsa recently to get a feel for where the plant would be built. “The site is very important to Elon. He likes to get a feel for it. He really goes based upon his kind of personal feeling,” Kouplen said. “So that was a big part of it, just letting him experience the drive from downtown to the site.”
“We showed him the site plan, what it would look like on the site. We obviously talked about things like utility access, and water and natural gas access … all the kind of the basics around the site and really just kind of tried to visualize what a Tesla plant would look like on that particular piece of land.” The factory would be built on a 1500 acre parcel near Tulsa and bring 7,000 jobs to the area. Once fully operational, as many as 20,000 people could be employed there.
Kouplen said he feels very good about Tulsa’s chance to land the electric vehicle giant, but work remains, though noting that Tulsa is indeed not as well known as Austin.
Tulsa mayor G.T. Bynum noted that Tulsa’s quality of life investments are part of what makes the city an ideal fit for Tesla. “There are still so many projects underway that will further elevate Tulsa as a world-class city. We’ve now spent several years at the city of Tulsa reforming our development processes to make this the best environment for a quick, reliable return on investment.” So, there’s still a chance that one day Elon and Tesla could be livin’ on Tulsa Time.
Editor’s side note: If you know Tesla history and culture a bit and you aren’t too offended by a certain F word, I recommend this site for a good laugh.
Top photo by Kyle Field, CleanTechnica