Any lingering doubts that Tulsans might have about whether Tesla is seriously considering building his next factory here disappeared late Friday afternoon when CEO Elon Musk arrived in the city on his private plane.
Together with Craig Hulse, Tesla’s director of politics and government, Musk went straight to the proposed location of the plant, where he met with Governor Kevin Stitt and Secretary of Commerce Sean Kouplen and the owner. Jeff Stava, head of the George Kaiser Family Foundation̵
Officials have not disclosed where the website is located.
We had a great visit to @elonmusk yesterday and talked about @Tesla in Tulsa!
Oklahoma is the place to go for Tesla and I thank all Oklahomans who have shown their overwhelming support. Go on! # Tulsa4Tesla pic.twitter.com/eVhIeCIvwv
– Governor Kevin Stitt (@GovStitt), July 4, 2020
“To maximize our time together, we set up a tent, table, chairs, some snacks, and water on the premises,” said Kouplen. “… you can see the city center from the construction site, we are high up on a hill, it is really a wonderful day. Basically, we only have a conversation in the middle of the field of just over an hour. “
Stitt and Kouplen had personally discussed the project with Musk in May when they traveled to Florida to launch Musk’s manned SpaceX rocket. But Stitt recently invited Musk to visit Tulsa to get a feel for where the plant would be built.
“The site is very important for Elon. He likes to get a feel for it. It’s really based on his personal feeling, ”said Kouplen. “So that was a big part of letting him experience the journey from the city center to the construction site.”
“We showed him the site plan of what he would look like on the construction site. We obviously talked about things like access to utilities and access to water and natural gas … all the basics around the location and really just tried to imagine what a Tesla facility would look like on that particular piece of land. “
The Associated Press and other media have reported that Austin, Texas and Tulsa are finalists in the electronic vehicle manufacturer’s cybertruck factory. The factory would initially employ approximately 7,000 people, said Kouplen, with a capacity of up to 20,000.
The factory would be built on at least 1,500 acres.
Late Friday evening Musk tweeted: “Thank you for welcoming me to Tulsa today!”
Kouplen said he feels very good about Tulsa’s chance to land the electric vehicle giant, but the work remains.
“We have the challenge that Tulsa is less known than Austin and his team are familiarizing us with us as a potential location,” he said.
Everyday Tulsans were the key to representing the city, said Kouplen, and this work is more important than ever today.
“I know getting Tesla fatigue is easy because it’s been a while, but we’re really up to date and if we just keep going and continue our support, be creative, go ahead with the videos and Tweets and the good ideas we’ve seen come from our citizens and give us a much greater chance, ”said Kouplen.
Mayor GT Bynum was a vocal champion of the project. He reiterated his support on Saturday and found that Tulsa’s investment in quality of life is part of what makes the city ideal for Tesla.
“And there are still so many projects that will make Tulsa a world-class city,” said Bynum. “We have now spent several years in the city of Tulsa to reform our development processes so that this is the best environment for a quick and reliable return on investment.”