Tesla Motors to build electric-car plant in New Mexico

In April, electric-car start-up Tesla Motors will break ground on a manufacturing plant in Albuquerque, which beat out Flagstaff, Ariz., and Pittsburg, Calif., for the honor. The plant will churn out 10,000 WhiteStar sedans a year starting in 2009 — “zero-emission” cars that will go 250 miles on a full charge and start at $50,000. The 150,000-square-foot plant, which will provide 400 jobs, has officials singing the company’s praises. “Tesla is committed to clean energy and so is New Mexico,” sang Gov. Bill Richardson (D), while Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) warbled that the state would be “a major participant in seeing electric cars become the cars of the future.” The state is expected to put $7 million toward the $35 million facility, as well as various tax credits. Were they swayed by the pungent passion of Tesla chair Elon Musk? “I really believe the future is electric vehicles,” the PayPal cofounder said. “I think we will look back upon gasoline-powered cars … as a temporary aberration.”