Joplin, Mo., offers Tesla $1 billion of incentives in gigafactory bid

Austin and Nashville make for tough competition

Elon Musk is currently weighing numerous options as he scouts locations for where to build a new gigafactory that will produce batteries and the upcoming Cybertruck electric pickup. Musk intends to build in the central part of the United States, and small-town Joplin, Missouri, thinks it has the perfect spot. If Musk chose Joplin, he would be rewarded with a $1 billion incentives package. 

Toby Teeter, the president of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, directly tweeted Elon Musk with his plea of why Missouri would be the right partner for Tesla's upcoming manufacturing plant. Joplin created an entire website that explains the area's advantages and started a simple and to-the-point slogan, #ChooseJoplin. 

On March 10, 2020, Musk tweeted the beginning of a search for a new gigafactory location. In a Wall Street Journal article released the same day, Musk said incentives would play a key role in his decision, as would access to a large qualified workforce and low-cost logistics. So, Teeter centered his pitch around all three.

In total, the pitch package amounts to $1 billion of incentives and savings, and that excludes additional incentives that could come from the state. Teeter says Joplin, which is home to roughly 50,000 people (279,054 within a 30-mile radius), could offer Tesla a 1,042-acre site at a 50% discount. The site is close to all forms of logistical transportation, with nearby access to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, interstates 44 and 49, and the Joplin regional airport. The site will have a power capacity of 70 MW and will sit next to a 600-MW generation facility.

The package includes a 100% tax abatement for 12 years, Missouri Works incentives, Missouri Automotive Incentive tax credits, Missouri BUILD incentives, and local and state tax exemptions. More savings come from the low cost of employment in Joplin. Compared to the costs in Nashville and Austin, two other popular and attractive site options, Teeter says Tesla would save more than $75 million in annual costs. The median hourly wage for manufacturing employees and engineers in Joplin is $27.86, while Nashville is $33.18 and Austin is $37.50. 

Furthermore, Joplin calls itself the trucking capital of America, with access to four of the nation's largest trucking fleets, and the 13th-best manufacturing city in America. Joplin says it already has at least 150 battery engineers in the area and more than 500 licensed engineers within a 60-mile radius. More information is available at

If Tesla is not impressed with what Joplin, Nashville, and Austin have to offer, there is another option out there: a big f***ing field in Oklahoma.  

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