SAN CARLOS, CA-Electric sports car manufacturer Tesla Motors will build a new automobile assembly facility in Albuquerque, NM, set to ramp up in early 2007.

SAN CARLOS, CA-Electric sports car manufacturerTesla Motorswill build a new automobile assembly facility in Albuquerque, NM, set to ramp up in early 2007. The $35 million, 150,000 square-foot plant will employ about 400 workers.

Tesla Motors plans to use the plant to produce its WhiteStar model, a four-door, five-passenger sports sedan that is 100 percent electric. The New Mexico plant will be the company’s first assembly facility in the United States. By 2009, Tesla Motors hopes to produce at least 10,000 cars annually. The vehicles will cost $50,000 for a standard model, $65,000 for a premium model with greater performance and range. Tesla Motors is also beginning production of a zero-emission, two-seat roadster in conjunction with the venerable automaker Lotus Cars (Hethel, Englad) later this year.

“Today’s announcement is proof that New Mexico is a national leader when it comes to innovation, new technology and creating jobs,” says New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. “Tesla is committed to clean energy and so is New Mexico.”

Among other initiatives, Gov. Richardson is having the state's general services division look into the possibility of purchasing 100 WhiteStar vehicles for use as part of the state fleet. The governor has also invited Tesla Motors Chairman, Elon Musk, and Tesla Motors CEO, Martin Eberhard, to work with the state to develop legislation that will encourage the purchase of clean energy vehicles, including hybrid and electric vehicles.

According to Musk, Tesla Motors considered a number of states during its search for a plant location, including Arizona and California. However, New Mexico won out in the end.

“We wanted to be in a state that is as committed as Tesla is to developing clean energy and addressing global climate change,” Musk says. “We found that leadership in New Mexico.”