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Washington Secretly Competed For Tesla ‘Gigafactory’

Tesla Motors
A rendering of a potential Tesla battery plant.

For the first time, we are learning that Washington competed to become the location for a massive battery factory for Tesla electric cars.

State officials confirmed Washington's effort to woo the plant on Thursday, even as reports are surfacing that Tesla has broken ground near Reno, Nevada.

California-based Tesla calls it a "gigafactory." It’s a 10 million square foot, multi-billion-dollar battery production facility.

Tesla says the factory could employ more than 6,000 people. It would manufacture enough batteries to allow the electric car maker to produce half a million cars a year by 2020.

John Boyd, a consultant in New Jersey who helps companies decide where to locate facilities, said this factory is the most "coveted economic development project in North America today."

Tesla is not one of Boyd's clients.

The Washington Department of Commerce said it mounted an "aggressive effort" beginning last fall to land the gigafactory for the state. That effort included the personal involvement of Governor Jay Inslee.

But, in the end, Washington was not among the finalists.

The governor’s office said the state does plan to compete for future Tesla jobs.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."