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Stockton Considered Contender For $5 Billion Tesla Motors Factory

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Leigh Martinez Leigh Martinez
Leigh Martinez is the multimedia journalist covering the San Joaquin...
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STOCKTON (CBS13) — Five western states are competing for a $5 billion factory that would make batteries for Tesla Motors.

It would employ more than 6,000 people. California is considered a long-shot, but Stockton is has been touted as a top contender.

Not many Teslas are seen in the valley. J&S Auto Spa in downtown Stockton said it’s a car they’d like to detail eventually.

The manager of J&S Auto Spa said she hasn’t had to lay off employees, but her business took a hit in the last two years. Manager Darlene January said several regular clients lost their jobs and stopped coming in for detailing. However, that luxury electric car, Tesla, could change things around if Tesla decides to build a large battery factory in Stockton.

“Once a person starts working, the person needs a vehicle,” said January. “Car needs fixed, cars need detailing. So it’ll be good for us.”

State Senator Ted Gaines believes Stockton is a good contender, because it has a strong labor force ready for work, property values are low, and it’s convenient to import and export. Gaines has been on a publicity campaign to land Tesla.

“We’ve been meeting with elected officials, GoBiz, I took a trip to Texas to remind Governor Perry that I believe in friendly competition,” said Gaines.

Gaines said he’s also co-authoring legislation to cut California’s red tape on business.

“Certain tax structures that are incentive-oriented; regulation reform they can count on for a decade in the future,” said Gaines.

No one knows where Tesla would build in Stockton. According to Forbes, Tesla would need 500 acres to build the battory gigafactory. Stockton already has an industrial infrastructure, but there’s also plenty of property available both downtown and in the county areas.

“A lot of people right now are without transportation, so you should have it convenient where people can get to work,” said January.

Tesla spokesperson Simon Sproule said it’s likely Tesla will choose more than one location to ensure the factory opens on time for the release of the more affordable Model 3. Automotive magazines speculate the Model 3 will be released in 2016.

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