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Reports: Tesla chooses Nevada for new battery factory plant

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Updated: 9/04/2014 2:55 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV – CNBC, Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal cite unnamed sources that electric-car manufacturer Tesla has chosen Nevada as the site for its much-sought after battery factory plant, which is expected to employ 6,500 people by 2020.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla says that it will have a “major economic development announcement” Thursday in Carson City.

No details are available on a specific location for the plant, but Reno Gazette-Journal political reporter Ray Hagar Tweets: “Let’s be clear: The Tesla gigafactory is coming to ‘Northern’ Nevada.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval has scheduled a news conference for 4 p.m. Thursday.

“That’s a go, but they are still negotiating the specifics,” a source in the governor’s office told CNBC.

KSNV political reporter Jon Ralston reports that a special session of the Nevada Legislature has been tentatively set for next week to approve financial incentives for Tesla, the producer of high-end battery-operated vehicles that cost more than $70,000.

The massive facility, which would cost about $2 billion according to Forbes magazine, would produce about 500,000 lithium-ion batteries a year by 2020 – more than the number of lithium-ion batteries produced by all automotive suppliers in the world last year.

Five states competed to house the facility: Nevada, California, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico.

California-based Tesla, the brainchild of South African-born entrepreneur Elon Musk, reportedly has asked the winning state to commit as much as $500 million in financial incentives, or about 10 percent of the gigafactory’s overall cost, to house the facility.

The $5 billion plant is set to begin production of 500,000 lithium battery packs by 2017 for use in Tesla’s Model 3 cars, according to Forbes.

Tesla and Panasonic signed an agreement in July that would find Panasonic manufacturing and supplying investment dollars in the facility and producing the cylindrical lithium-ion cells. Tesla would take the cells and other components to assemble battery modules and packs.

The gigafactory would be managed by Tesla with Panasonic joining as the main partner. Key suppliers would be located in the other half of the industrial facilities.

The company, named for the late-19th Century electrical engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla, is the first automaker to employ lithium-ion battery cells with a range greater than 200 miles per charge.

Tesla operates stores or galleries that operate as showrooms and are typically found in shopping malls in 22 states and Washington, D.C. Vehicles cannot be purchased from the stores but rather from the company’s website.

Lux Research, a technology sector research firm with offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia, projects sales of 240,000 Model 3 Tesla cars in 2020, according to Forbes.

Musk is a key player in the effort to develop privately built spaceships for commercial travel and developed the concept for a high-speed transportation system that would carry travelers across the United States via a system of pressurized capsules that ride on a cushion of air.


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