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From the start, little has been typical about Tesla Motors’ plan for a $5 billion factory to make batteries for a new generation of electric cars. It’s not just the project’s massive scale, the cutting-edge technology, or even the bonanza of 6,500 good-paying jobs. It’s how Tesla is deciding where to build. Through a series of unusual plays, Tesla has five states bidding up subsidy packages to land the coveted plant. The winner is expected to offer the luxury car-maker publicly financed incentives exceeding a half-billion dollars. This spring, CEO Elon Musk announced Tesla would take the extremely unusual step of spending millions to prepare sites in two states — or perhaps even three — before the finalist was chosen. Then, over the summer, Musk said the winning state would pitch in about 10 percent of the cost, effectively signaling a minimum bid of $500 million.



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