Joplin, Mo., offers $1 billion incentives for Tesla Cybertruck factory

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveils the Cybertruck at the TeslaDesign Studio in Hawthorne, Calif. The cracked window glass occurred during a demonstration on the strength of the glass.

Robert Hanashiro | USA TODAY | Reuters

Tesla isn’t running an Amazon-style public contest to find the location for a new plant to build Cybertruck electric cars, but one public bid has already rolled in. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted in March that the company was “counting locations for Cybertruck Gigafactory” in the central U.S.

So Joplin, Missouri, has since put together a package of what it claims are more than $1 billion in incentives and savings to lure that factory, according to a website it built to convince Tesla. The package includes a discount on a 1,042-acre site with retail access, as well as a slew of state and local tax credits. 

The president of the Joplin Chamber of Commerce, Toby Teeter, tweeted the site at Musk on Monday.

The state is also emphasizing the low cost of labor in the region, favorably comparing the city’s median hourly wage of $27.86 to higher wages in Nashville, Tennessee, and Austin, Texas. The website also emphasizes talent: It says that Joplin has leading battery manufacturers already in the region and and more than 150 battery engineers in the city. 

Tesla has received incentives from cities and states to build facilities in the past. It received nearly $750 million in subsidies to build its so-called “Gigafactory 2” for solar panels in Buffalo, New York. It also operates a battery plant near Reno, Nevada — the original “Gigafactory” — for which it received over $1 billion in incentives. 

Technology companies regularly receive incentives and bids to place facilities in a certain region or city. But the strategy of publicly soliciting competing bids from municipalities has come under more scrutiny after Amazon pulled out of a planned New York campus last year after local politicians said that the city was paying too much. 

Tesla revealed its Cybertruck electric pickup truck last November. Musk said last fall that the company has over 250,000 pre-orders for the vehicle, which starts at $39,000. Tesla didn’t immediately return an email asking for comment on Joplin’s solicitation.

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