Maricopa Association of Governments Invites Tesla CEO To Visit

March 07, 2014

(Photo courtesy of Pete Gruber)
Cars like Pete Gruber's Tesla Roadster might be more popular in Arizona if Tucson becomes home to the plant.

The Phoenix Metro area is publicly courting the Tesla Motor Company in hopes of attracting a $5 billion battery factory and thousands of jobs to the state. A group of Valley cities and towns sent an invitation to Tesla’s CEO on Thursday asking him to visit the state.

The invitation to the high-end electric car maker was extended by the Maricopa Association of Governments. The group’s chairman Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said the letter speaks for itself.

"Arizona has a lot to offer," Smith said.

New Mexico, Texas and Nevada are also competing for the battery factory that could create 6,500 jobs. Smith said each state will offer Tesla all sorts of incentives, but he does not expect Arizona to bring much in the way of tax breaks. 

"We don’t have a lot to give, and I don’t think we should give,” said Smith.

Smith who is running for governor, said instead, Arizona should promote its qualified workforce, quality of life and favorable business atmosphere. He said utility companies in the state can also provide a very reliable source of energy and that is something Tesla has identified among its top priorities.