There's a debate touring its way around the blogosphere these days: should the new green auto industry be based in Motor City Detroit or shiny, happy Silicon Valley?
The Valley in southern San Fransisco Bay area is already a hub for electronics expertise - certainly a cornerstone in the pursuit for innovative design and engineering. The world's largest high-tech companies, including Apple, Google, Facebook, and Intel are headquartered there.
The culture of the region, a recent NPR series pointed out, is "where people are used to taking a chip, a cell or an idea and working on it until it becomes something big."
But is that enough to build a manufacturing industry?
GreenCarReports.com says no way, and for three reasons. Car companies need money and lots of time to mature to a point where they make any money, not exactly the model for the quick-turn success Silicon Valley hosts by the bucketfull. Secondly, programmers, coders and microelectronics experts may rule the tech industry, but electric cars require a whole different specialized skill set - automotive mechatronics (combining mechanical and electronic engineering) and high-voltage systems skills. Lastly, the cost of living is high in California and it's too highly-regulated a place for companies to locate, especially if they manufacture physical goods.
Tesla may be there, but one yet-to-turn-a-profit automaker does not an industry make. (Incidentally they chose California because of a sales tax exemption on the purchase of manufacturing equipment and grants for training staff. )