Business & Real Estate

Is Sacramento really a finalist for big truck factory? Grab a dictionary.

Nikola Motor Co. unveils prototype electric truck at its Utah headquarters last week. The company is considering Sacramento for a major factory.
Nikola Motor Co. unveils prototype electric truck at its Utah headquarters last week. The company is considering Sacramento for a major factory. Nikola Motor

Is Sacramento a finalist for a massive electric-truck factory, or isn’t it?

It apparently depends on how you define the term.

On Tuesday, the Greater Sacramento Economic Council announced the region is “a top finalist” for a factory proposed by Nikola Motor Co., a Utah startup developing electric trucks.

But on Wednesday the company said Sacramento isn’t a finalist – a statement that kicked up a fuss in Sacramento economic development circles.

Company spokeswoman Colleen Robar said the process is too preliminary to declare Sacramento, or any community, a finalist. “There are no finalists of any kind at this point,” she said.

But the two sides might not be that far apart, after all, in terms of assessing Sacramento’s status.

Robar acknowledged that Sacramento “is definitely under consideration” for the plant. All told, Nikola is in discussion with fewer than 10 communities across the country, she said.

As far as the Greater Sacramento organization is concerned, Robar’s comments confirm that Sacramento is one of the serious contenders, whether the term “finalist” is used or not.

“That’s a finalist for us,” said Barry Broome, the Sacramento group’s plain-talking chief executive.

Broome said he spent a day and a half at Nikola’s headquarters recently, talked to most of the top executives and had a 15-minute meeting with Nikola founder and CEO Trevor Milton. He added that Nikola brushed aside Greater Sacramento’s offer to retract the statement it made Tuesday.

He added that officials from Nikola are expected to visit the Sacramento area soon.

Asked about that, Robar said “the meeting dates have not been confirmed yet.”

Both sides agreed the site-selection process is still a long way from completion. Broome said the Sacramento area won’t submit its formal proposal – including details on factory sites, utility costs and more – for several more months.

“This is a long process,” Robar said.

Dale Kasler: 916-321-1066, @dakasler

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