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Southern California Draws Electric Vehicle Industry

While the Next Biggest Thing our Governor seems capable of thinking up for economic development is to quarter-heartedly fund a shooting range where West River folks can waste lead on the weekend, California is recruiting talent to build the cars of the future. Ridiculed by our fact-free Governor as a place with too little Freedom™ and too much sucky Communism, California is enjoying a boom in its electric car industry, because it has lots of things South Dakota has never had and, given current leadership, never will:

“Greater L.A. has a unique and fast-growing EV industry ecosystem,” Lawren Markle, spokesman for the economic development corporation, said in an email. “SoCal’s gravitational pull on EV companies has increased, and it makes sense for them to grow here.”

By moving to Southern California, startups gain access to EV talent, EV suppliers, conventional and electric carmakers and R&D of all kinds, he said. And they get access to “a big EV market that is accelerating, thanks to forward-thinking public policy.”

Southern California’s EV cluster is heavily concentrated in Downtown Los Angeles, the South Bay and Orange County, the report said.

And there’s good reason.

California already accounts for nearly half of EV sales in the United States, with much of those cars now driving on Southern California roads [Jeff Collins, “Southern California Continues to Dominate EV Industry,” Governing, 2021.08.02].

Hopeful electric truck maker Rivian started in Florida, built a factory in Illinois, and moved into Michigan to tap auto industry talent, but last year the company moved product development to California. Rivian plans a second manufacturing plant, for which multiple states have bid. No word on whether South Dakota is making any effort to land the five-billion-dollar, 10,000-acre project, but we’d have to work extra hard to compete with southern California’s talent pool, market, and 21st-century public policy.


  1. Porter Lansing 2021-08-03

    Nobody knows where America will end up, but one thing is certain.

    California will get there first.

  2. John Dale 2021-08-03

    “California will get there first.”

    This made me chuckle.


  3. Mark Anderson 2021-08-03

    Well, I’ve heard it from a great source, Elon’s moving from California to Texas, then off to Mars.

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-08-04

    Musk is a somewhat erratic billionaire who seems to view his wealth as a cushion from making entirely rational decisions. He gives himself plenty of leeway to make decisions based on personal fancy or grievance. Musk has the freedom to do so. But I wouldn’t want to cast my state’s economic development lot on the hope that an unpredictable billionaire would get a wild hair and come build a factory here. I’d rather follow the model of talent, market, and policy advantages that are leading multiple rational electric car makers to set up shop in California.

    Notice that Musk still isn’t moving to South Dakota. Why not? With all her trips to Texas, how is it that Noem hasn’t made time to visit Musk and convince him to come make electric cars South Dakota’s Next Big Thing?

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