Sacramento Airport In Running For Tesla Gigafactory Location

3 years ago by Jay Cole 16

Mather Was Converted To A Cargo Airport And Business Park In The 90s After The Air Force Moved Out

Mather Was Converted To A Cargo Airport And Business Park In The 90s After The Air Force Moved Out

We know Tesla is hoping to break ground on the first of two sites for the company’s $5 billion dollar Gigafactory in June.

Lots Of Cheap Land In California Available To Accommodate Tesla?  Mather Airport Has That In Spades (1998 aerial shot via USGS The National Map)

Who Has Lots Of Cheap Land In California Available To Accommodate Tesla? Mather Airport Does (1998 aerial shot via USGS The National Map)

And we also know that Elon Musk opened the door (albeit slightly) to California being put on the “short list” alongside Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas for that facility; provided the state could cut through its own red tape fast enough for Tesla to make their 2017 completion deadline.

But where in California might it go?   How about the Mather Airport’s business park in Sacramento?

The Mather Commerce Park is now currently one of the locations under consideration, and have put together a package for Tesla to consider.

It was just May 7th when Elon Musk mentioned California could still be a viable option for the battery manufacturing plant during a quarterly conference call; but he didn’t sound too terribly confident

 “I think California’s still in the sort of improbable, but not of being impossible, category at this point.”

The reason for Musk’s pessimism was that he didn’t think California was nimble enough to deliver permits and regulatory approvals in a timely fashion.  The state has a history of being difficult to deal with in this regard; automaker Toyota recently decided to move its headquarters from the state for friendlier corporate pastures in Texas.

California Joins 4 Other States In Running For New Battery Facililty

California Joins 4 Other States In Running For New Battery Facililty

If California could get out of its own way, the park would seem like a good choice.

  • it is logistically superior to Tesla over having the factory out of state
  • there is endless amounts of land
  • and the town is more than willing to accommodate Tesla, as the largest tenant – the Air Force, left in 1993.  The airport has since been converted to a cargo facility and business park

The Sacramento Bee talked to Country Supervisor Don Nottoli who looks after the Mather area, and he echoed the Tesla CEO’s words:

“One month – that’s a pretty big mountain to climb. Nothing’s impossible.”

Brook Taylor, deputy director of California Gov. Jerry Brown’s economic development office, wouldn’t comment specifically on the Mather site, but did offer the following:

“The administration is working every day to bring companies to California and help them grow here,” he said in an email to the Bee, “Tesla is certainly one of those companies.”

So the willingness to say California is ready to ‘play ball’ is there…but can they follow through on those words?

Sacramento Bee

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16 responses to "Sacramento Airport In Running For Tesla Gigafactory Location"

  1. acevolt says:

    I think the state can cut through the red tape pretty quickly if motivated. It’s like Apple with their spaceship campus. There was a lot of permits and environmental impact studies that quickly passed because Cupertino did not want to loose Apple:
    http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/10/16/apple-spaceship-campus-approved/

    The site for the Gigafactory looks a lot easier than the Apple campus because it will have less environmental impact (no trees to cut down, no issues with traffic).

  2. Omar Sultan says:

    Sweet – in my backyard. Might make sense with the facility they just picked up in Lathrop which is a straight shot down I-5.

    O

    1. Darkj says:

      Nice. I was born on Mather AFB back in the 60’s, and grew up in and around Sacramento. It would be nice to see Tesla go there.

  3. TomArt says:

    “Red Tape” is not an evil…what matters is whether the requirements are reasonably protecting the public’s interests. Many States gleefully throw their citizens under the bus for the sake of a few thousand jobs: saddling the taxpayers with the infrastructure development, rushing permits and site planning which leaves half-assed results that cause problems down the road, looking away from pollution violations, etc.

    Instead of vilifying responsible gov’t like California, we need to be criticizing the surrounding State gov’ts that undermine States like California.

    1. Grant Gerke says:

      Agreed.

  4. MDEV says:

    Cut through the red tape should be for all business large and small in California, but the over tax issue will be a deal breaker compare to Nevada and Arizona. Texas well no red tape but they are against technology and progress.

  5. ClarksonCote says:

    So I’m probably ignorant here (or perhaps just wishful thinking about the origin and shipment of materials), but I would think such a factory is better located next to a rail system than an airport.

    1. Dan says:

      The rail system that would run from the Nevada site to Fremont passes through Sacramento anyway. I’m not certain if there is specifically a rail artery that goes to the proposed site, but keep in mind that it’s a former Air Force base that was closed in the ’90s (so some rail connection is highly probable).

  6. kdawg says:

    I thought Tesla had already selected its 2 locations? How can there be so many still in the running?

    1. Bonaire says:

      Three-card monte needs three locations.

  7. Spec9 says:

    Does it have rail?

  8. CaliVolt says:

    There is a rail line to Mather.

  9. James Dawson says:

    Mather has its own multiple railyard sidings for large rail shipments. It also naturally has an airstrip suitable for the largest aircraft and it is only about 100 miles by Freeways to the Tesla Factory in Fremont.

    It also has full utilities on site and many large buildings and alot of vacant land as well as a very large and well educated workforce in the Sacramento Region so it shouldn’t take long to get up and running.

    Could be a win, win.

  10. HeyHey says:

    This makes total sense. The cost for labor there is no different than Texas. Keep Tesla California!!

  11. Jesse Gurr says:

    Perusing the airport website, there is apparently only 2,000 sq ft of office area available for lease. No listing for empty land. Maybe listed somewhere else? Doesn’t look like there are any train tracks going to those buildings either so items will have to be trucked in.

    Don’t know if this is the site Tesla is looking at.