DETROIT — Tesla Inc. wants to invest about $1 billion to build a 4- to 5-million-square-foot vehicle assembly plant in the southwestern United States as early as the third quarter of this year. The plant will employ 5,000 people and build Tesla’s electric pickup truck and Model Y SUV, according to reports.

Tesla told officials in Travis County, TX, the automaker wants to invest about $1 billion to build the assembly plant on what is now a cement operation near Austin. However, it needs tax breaks to make the site competitive with an alternative location in Oklahoma.

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk previously hinted about a Texas plant, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott has spoken with Musk about the possibility. Oklahoma’s Secretary of Commerce Sean Kouplen said Tulsa remains in the hunt for the plant.

“We’ve pulled together a compelling, well-balanced and, more importantly, a responsible performance-based incentives package to attract Tesla to Oklahoma,” he says in a Thursday statement.

Tesla’s sole U.S. vehicle assembly plant in Fremont, CA, covers 5.3 million square feet; a large plant, but not large enough for the growing company. Tesla has had to build cars under a tent adjacent to the plant.

Musk clashed with California officials after Alameda county officials ordered the Fremont factory to halt production and comply with coronavirus stay-at-home orders that took effect in March. He threatened to move future operations to Texas or Nevada. The California plant has since reopened.