Nevada hits jackpot with Tesla ‘Gigafactory’

By all accounts, Nevada has just hit the jackpot, as the state has been selected by Tesla for the build-out of its $5 billion Gigafactory. The actual location of the facility is far from Las Vegas, as Tesla and its partners are eyeing land in rural Storey County, located some 15 miles east of Reno and with a population of just 4,000 people, to build the first battery plant of its kind. The deal is tentative pending Nevada state legislature approval, according to Reuters.

California-based Tesla was courted by its home state, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, but decided to go with Nevada because CEO Elon Musk deemed its state and local officials showed him they “can do things quickly… and get things done,” Reuters reported. The state of Nevada is giving Tesla more than $1 billion in tax breaks and abatements over 20 years, which Musk said “was not the biggest incentive package” his company had on the table.

The Gigafactory, which will produce electric batteries that power Tesla’s fully electric vehicles, including the forthcoming $35,000 Model 3, due in 2017, will be co-funded by Japan’s Panasonic Corp., the maker of lithium ion cells for battery packs. Panasonic’s share is estimated at 30 to 40 percent, with money from Tesla investors to cover 40 to 50 percent of the facility. Nevada will be asked to pitch in about 10 percent towards the total cost and additional 10 to 20 percent would come from additional industry partners, he added.

Tesla is looking to capitalize on the popularity of the sleek Model S all-electric sports sedan. Despite having yet to turn profit, Tesla plans to build 60,000 cars in 2015 in California’s San Francisco Bay area, where it recently expanded its Fremont assembly plan. It’s where the $70,000-plus Model S is manufactured and a crossover called the Model X will begin production next spring. Musk said the plant now can build up to 1,000 cars a week, and will double that by the end of next year, according to Reuters.

Photo Credit: Tesla Motors

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