By STEVEN TAVARES
FREMONT Bay Area electric car-maker Tesla Motors and Toyota will partner in bringing 1,200 new jobs to the recently shuttered Nummi plant in Fremont, says former state Sen. Liz Figueroa.
News of the partnership broke Thursday morning when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made refernce to the deal, but gave no further details. Tesla has been shopping for a site to expand its small boutique electric car company for months. Tesla recently received a $465 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy to build a lower cost electric sedan.
An Associated Press story reported a city councilman from Downey was informed this morning of the decision from Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk. According to the story, Downey’s City Council was prepared to vote on a lease deal with Tesla to replace its own vacant auto plant in the Southern California city.
Figueroa, who is running for Alameda County Supervisor in District 2, which incorporates part of Northern Fremont, says negotiations for the deal have been going on for over two months and believes the news of the possible deal was tightly-held to avoid any political grandstanding. According to Figueroa, the partnership will create 1,200 jobs in a growing sector of the green economy. She did not know how many of those jobs would bring part of the over 4,700 Nummi employees who lost their jobs back to the plant.
The Nummi plant was closed nearly two months ago after the partnership between General Motors and Toyota was dissolved in part due to government intervention to keep G.M. afloat. For the Nummi plant, the news today is history repeating itself. The sprawling plant located next to Interstate 880 sat vacant for after General Motors closed shop in 1982. Two years later, Toyota and GM formed a unique partnership to build cars from both brands that lasted until two months ago. This time around, the auto plant is set to return in a smaller scale, but possibly better positioned for future growth than its predecessor.
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