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Tesla is eyeing Nashville for Cybertruck gigafactory

Kirsten Korosec

Tesla is in talks with Nashville officials to locate a factory there that will produce its all-electric Cybertruck and Model Y crossover, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted Tuesday evening that the company is "scouting" locations to build a new U.S. gigafactory that will produce the Cybertruck and Model Y crossover.

"Scouting locations for Cybertruck Gigafactory. Will be central USA," Musk tweeted Tuesday. He added that the factory would be used to produce Model Y crossovers for the East Coast market. The first Model Y vehicles are being produced at its plant in Fremont, Calif.

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Musk didn't provide further information in the tweets. However, a source with knowledge of the talks said Nashville is on a short list of contenders.

Tennessee is already shaping up to be a hub of electric vehicle production. Volkswagen is spending $800 million to expand its U.S. factory in Chattanooga, Tenn. and turn it into the company’s North American base for manufacturing electric vehicles. Electric vehicle production at the Tennessee site will begin in 2022, VW said at the time. Meanwhile, Nissan has been producing the Nissan Leaf in Smyrna since 2013.

Tesla assembles its Model S, Model X and Model 3 vehicles in Fremont, Calif. at a factory that was once home to GM and Toyota’s New United Motor Manufacturing Inc (NUMMI) operation. Tesla acquired the factory in 2010. The first Model S was produced at the factory in June 2012.

Tesla turned its efforts to battery production and in June 2014 broke ground on its first "gigafactory" on land near Reno, Nevada. The massive structure, which has surpassed. 1.9 million square feet, is where Tesla produces battery packs and electric motors for its Model 3 vehicles. The company has a joint venture with Panasonic, which is making the lithium-ion cells.

Tesla also has a "Gigafactory 2" in Buffalo, New York, where it's producing solar cells and modules.

In 2018, Tesla struck a deal with the Chinese government to build a factory in Shanghai, a milestone for Musk, who has long viewed China as a crucial market. The China factory started producing the Model 3 late last year. The first deliveries began in early January.

Tesla is now clearing land for another factory near Berlin. Once complete, this German factory will produce the Model 3 and Model Y for the European market.

The story has been updated to reflect new information about the possible location of the factory.