Tesla Motors is set to receive a cash injection from state regulators to help manufacture its next electric car. A $10 million grant will be awarded to the California-based company, with Tesla adding another $50 million to match that grant from the California Energy Commission.
The money will be used to create the ‘Model X‘ SUV. The company hopes to expand manufacturing capacity at its factory in Fremont, California, and to purchase equipment to make components for the vehicle.
Observers say it was something of a ‘love fest’ for Tesla at the energy commission meeting in Sacramento. Forbes writer Todd Woody reports that commissioners and other regulators praised Tesla as an innovator that has brought automotive manufacturing back to California while creating clean cars and more than 1,500 jobs.
Woody quotes Ryan McCarthy, the science and technology policy advisor to the chair of the California Air Resources Board: “Tesla has the unique distinction of being the only automaker to actually ask us to increase our targets under zero emission rules. I think the Model X is going to be the next embodiment of delivering on that unique vision and capability.”
Tesla’s latest car, the Model S sedan, sells between $50,000 and $100,000. Woody reports that the Model X, which is based on the Model S platform, is expected to sell in that price range as well.
“Too often we’re portrayed in the press as only producing an electric sports car,” Mike Taylor, Tesla’s vice president of finance, reportedly told the commissioners. “I think that misses the point of what Tesla Motors is trying to do and why it’s important for California. Our mission has always been to aggressively promote electric vehicles for the masses.”
Woody reports that Taylor said the $10 million grant would contribute to the hiring of about 700 additional workers when the Model X goes into production in 2014.