Regardless of what Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger may or may not have said between the lines to California assemblyman Tom Ammiano, his message is clear when it comes to Tesla Motors: a break on the sales tax on $320 million worth of equipment has enticed Tesla to build its new Model S sedan plant within the state's borders. The final selection of Downey, California was leaked today by two local newspapers, and uncovered by High Gear Media's John Voelcker.

Long Beach was also considered a front runner in the race for the plant, but in the Downey won out, with the Tesla factory to be located on an 80-acre ex-NASA plot. For those not intimately familiar with L.A. Basin geography, this would put the new plant--where Tesla will build its 2012 Model S Sedan--just south of Los Angeles, between Compton and Whittier, and about 7 hours south of Tesla's Menlo Park headquarters.

Roughly $238 million will be spent on the plant itself, while another $59 million will go to upgrade the existing Palo Alto powertrain production facility. All of these funds come from the U.S. Department of Energy loan secured earlier this year, worth $465 million.

The 2012 Tesla Model S sedan, in addition to being seriously good-looking, is expected to be one of the first all-electric sedans to market. It will also carry forward some of the perform legacy built by the Tesla Roadster, with an expected 0-60 mph time of 5.5 seconds in the running with many gasoline sports sedans. In some configurations the sedan will also be capable of a 300 to 600-mile range.

Starting price for the Model S will be $57,500, though a $7,500 tax credit will help bring its total cost down to about $50,000. It's expected to go into production by mid-to-late 2011, reaching retail sale by early 2012.

[District Weekly, Downey Patriot, via TheCarConnection]