PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) — California is back in the running for a massive battery plant that electric car maker Tesla Motors plans to start building this year, but CEO Elon Musk said the state remains in the "improbable" category for winning the plant because of the time it will take to win regulatory approval.
Musk said Wednesday that the company plans to break ground on one of two locations as early as next month for the plant that has been the subject of furious competition from four other Southwestern states. A second site will follow a month or two later.
Palo Alto-based Tesla has previously said just four states were in the running for the plant: Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas.
But Musk said on a call to discuss Tesla's quarterly earnings report Wednesday that Gov. Jerry Brown and his staff are working hard to woo the company. The problem, Musk said, is the estimated yearlong time frame for winning approval for a plant site.
"The governor and the Legislature are going to try to do something about that but it's a question of timing," Musk said. "California is still in the improbable-but-not-impossible category at this point."
Brook Taylor, a spokesman for Go-Biz, the agency Brown established to streamline business regulations, said in an email that the administration is working hard to bring companies to California, including Tesla. But he declined to say what steps the state is taking to recruit Tesla or to respond to Musk's claim that the approval process is lengthy.
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