Tesla Motors officials said Thursday they haven’t dropped the Storey County site for their planned Gigafactory battery plant.
“We’ve essentially completed the creation of the pad for the Gigafactory in Nevada,” said company CEO Elon Musk during a conference call with financial institutions following the release of their quarterly financial report. “That is substantially complete.”
That was reassuring news following reports the dozens of bulldozers working on a huge factory pad at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center east of Reno had suddenly shut down and left, causing rampant rumors the Nevada site had been dropped from the list of finalists.
Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement that he was pleased with the announcement.
“Discussions with Tesla are ongoing,” he said.
Musk and other company officials said they will be doing similar preparations in one or two other states.
Those would likely be Texas and California, which in the past couple of weeks have approved major tax incentives to get the battery plant needed for Tesla’s planned major expansion built there.
The reason Nevada and the other states are so interested in the electric car manufacturer is the Gigafactory is set to employ an estimated 6,500 people.
“Before we go to the next stage pouring a lot of concrete, we have to make sure things are sorted out at the state level, the incentives are there,” Musk said. “We’re not going for a deal that’s unfair to the state or unfair to Tesla.
“On the Nevada side, at this point, the ball is in the court of the governor and the state legislature.”
The Tesla second quarter shareholder letter states that while they broke ground in June on the Nevada site, the final location of the site won’t be determined for several months, “once we have full visibility and agreement on the relevant incentives and processes for enabling the Gigafactory to be fully operational to meet the timing for Model 3.”
While the existing Model S and Model X Tesla vehicles are aimed at a more affluent buyer, the Model 3 is Tesla’s planned mass market car, priced in a range where many more people can afford it. But that vehicle will depend on the lower cost, more efficient batteries that Tesla and partner Panasonic will produce in the planned Gigafactory.
That vehicle, according to the shareholder letter, “will substantially broaden the addressable market for Tesla, helping to accelerate the transition towards sustainable transportation.”
“Time is important here,” Musk said. “In the absence of the Gigafactory, this process would be much slower.”