We Could Have a Winner: Nevada Will Likely Be Home to Tesla 'Gigafactory'
Sorry, Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. You lose. Rather, it seems you might lose and soon. Why? It’s looking more like Tesla Motors is bringing its ultra-hyped Gigafactory to Nevada.
The Silver State appears to be the location of choice for Elon Musk's $5 billion battery factory, an unnamed source close to the luxury electric carmaker revealed yesterday.
State officials are expected to announce the proposed factory at a news conference in Carson City, Nev. later today. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Governor Brian Sandoval appeared to tease the expected announcement on Twitter, asking his followers to “Stay tuned for a major announcement at 4PM related to economic development in #NV.”
Stay tuned for a major announcement tomorrow at 4PM related to economic development in #NV.— Governor Sandoval (@GovSandoval) September 3, 2014
Hold your horses, though, Nevadans. The innovative car manufacturer Morgan Stanley calls “the most important car company in the world” isn’t confirming a potential Nevada locus yet, but it’s not necessarily denying anything either.
“We continue to work with the state of Nevada and look forward to joining Governor Sandoval and legislative leaders tomorrow [Thursday] in Carson City,” Tesla representative Alexis Georgeson told Entrepreneur.com. However, she didn’t rule out other locations for the Gigafactory, noting that “Discussions with the other states in the process are ongoing.”
The Palo Alto-based company anticipates breaking ground at “more than one site for the Gigafactory,” Georgeson said, echoing recent comments Musk made to Bloomberg about requiring more than one location for the long-slated mega manufacturing operation.
If Nevada does indeed clinch a deal with Tesla, it is most likely due to an attractive package and the state's assets. Back in July, Musk said the winning state would need to pony up 10 percent of the Gigafactory's cost, or $500 million (most likely in the form of a tax credit). If this figure is correct, it would be the largest ever in the state’s history.
Nevada also promised Tesla “expedited permitting and environmental review processes.” Plus, it doesn't hurt that the 36th state is home to the only commercially active lithium mine in the U.S. (Tesla is expected to produce 15,000 additional tons of lithium carbonate by 2017). The presumed site’s proximity to Tesla’s Fremont, Calif. plant is also a boon. (It’s about a four-hour drive away.)
The massive plant, which Tesla says will put approximately 6,500 people to work by 2020, will produce lower-cost battery packs, modules and cells for Tesla’s electric vehicles of the future. The huge facility will also build cheaper batteries for the stationary energy storage market.
Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here.