New Developments In Tesla $5 Billion Gigafactory

Posted: Jun 4 2014, 12:59am CDT | by , in News | Cars & Vehicles

New Developments in Tesla $5 Billion Gigafactory
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Tesla Motors said Tuesday is inching closer to a decision on the Southwest states that will get to break ground on its $5 billion gigafactory, which will produce enough battery packs by 2020 to supply 500,000 vehicles.

At the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Mountain View, Calif., Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk said the company now expects to allow up to three states to be the finalists in the race to build the factory, up from its previous plans to pit two states against each other.

Meanwhile, Musk said Tesla expects to pick the winner by year end. The gigafactory is supposed to begin production in 2017, allowing two full years for construction.

In February, Tesla announced that Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas were in the running to land the project, considered by economic experts to be a significant prize. But soon after, California began pushing to be considered. It hadn’t made the first round because of its normally lengthy environmental permitting process.

Last month, Musk said Tesla planned to break ground in at least two places, creating a “bake off” to see which state offered the best opportunity for the company. Although companies normally just select a single site, Musk said Tesla couldn’t take the risk that its choice might not be ready, and decided to let more than one state compete.

Now, that’s been expanded to allow another finalist.

The broader field could be good news for California. Musk had said it was “improbable” that it would be among the original two states that the company planned to pick between. Tesla plans to announce the first finalist this month, with the others following.

If California were to be the last state announced, that would give it more time to meet the terms that Tesla is requiring states to meet at ground breaking. Tesla wants the finalists to have everything ready, “all the way to creating a foundation, completing the plans and getting approval,” Musk said on Tuesday.

The company isn’t showing its hand on which state or states have the lead. The company is “still expecting to make some announcement this month,” said Simon Sproule, Tesla vice president of communications, but he said he was “unable to give any more guidance than that.”

A number of experts believe that Nevada has an inside shot at becoming the first finalist. Lately, some media reports have speculated that Tesla’s press material on the gigafactory shows it on a site near the Reno-Stead airport, a 5,000 acre general aviation field that is home to the National Championship Air Races.

No matter which states become gigafactory finalists, Musk sounds like he’ll be around to see the factory come to life. At Tuesday’s meeting, he told shareholders that he plans to remain as CEO for at least four or five years, until Tesla produces a high volume small car it calls Gen 3.

Tesla's Gigafactory

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