A Joplin business leader asked Elon Musk to consider Missouri for the Cybertruck factory

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JOPLIN, Mo. — Tesla is looking for a location to build its planned Cybertruck, and at least one Missouri business leader is vying to be in the running.

CEO Elon Musk disclosed via tweet late Tuesday that he is scouting locations to build the truck and that it “will be central US,” likely thousands of miles from its only US auto assembly line in California.

In a response to Musk’s tweet, President of the Joplin Chamber of Commerce Toby Teeter tweeted that he was “authorized to give you 100 acres” in commercial land as well as “$50+ million in incentives.”

The Cybertruck is a futuristic looking pickup that Tesla said it plans to begin building in 2021.

The tweet also brought other responses, included from a state senator from North Carolina, a member of Congress from Arkansas and Colorado Governor Jared Polis.

Despite the eagerness of elected officials for their towns to be considered, there is already a short list of contenders, and Nashville, Tennessee, appears to be at the top of that short list for the new plant, according to a person familiar with the discussions at Tesla. Telsa is already holding talks with officials in Nashville about a location there, according to that person.

Electric vehicle production is already underway in Tennessee. Nissan has been building the Leaf all-electric vehicle in Smyrna since 2010. Volkswagen is planning to turn out electric vehicles at its plant in Chattanooga. Access to parts suppliers for electric vehicles is a factor in whatever location Tesla selects.

“One of the factors is logistics and being able to conveniently deliver vehicles to the East Coast. Nashville is on the short list of locations that meets the criteria,” said the person familiar with discussions.

Musk also tweeted that the new plant location will also build the Model Y, its lower cost SUV, to serve the East Coast market.

Tesla started production of the Model Y in January at its factory in Fremont, California, where it also builds its other three models — the Model S luxury sedan, the Model X luxury SUV and Model 3, the lower cost sedan that is its best selling car. The company plans to deliver the first Model Y’s this month.

But the Fremont plant has limited room to add production of the Model Y. It is already producing cars at the top rate that Toyota and General Motors built cars there in 2006, the record year of production for the plant that was closed following GM’s 2008 bankruptcy. Tesla started its own production there in 2012.

Musk has said he expects to the Model Y to become Tesla’s best selling vehicle. He has also tweeted that he’s looking for new space on the East Coast.

Tesla opened its second assembly plant in Shanghai last year, and is building a third near Berlin, Germany to serve the European market.

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