By on September 4, 2014

Tesla Gigafactory

After months of wondering as to where Tesla’s massive Gigafactory would end up, an answer could come as soon as 4 p.m. Mountain, when Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and the automaker plan to hold a joint press conference in Carson City.

AutoblogGreen reports the location for the 6,500-strong battery factory will likely be Reno, though Tesla hasn’t said much as of this writing. Four other states were in contention to be the Gigafactory’s host: California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Local ABC affiliate KOLO-TV — which has live-streaming news, if you wish to tune in later this afternoon — adds that the factory will be placed in the city’s Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, where 3.5 million cubic yards of earth were moved in less than four weeks to establish a pad for a large structure, all under the project name Project Tiger.

Once up and running, the Gigafactory will supply packs for as many as 500,000 vehicles annually by 2020, including the upcoming $35,000 Model 3 due around 2017. Project cost is projected at $5 billion, with the host state expected to chip in $500 million in the form of massive tax breaks.

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11 Comments on “Tesla Gigafactory May Land In Nevada...”

  • avatar

    Giant desert factories powered by solar and wind.

    I wonder if they can pull this off without having to rely on the local power grid?

    Apple should be doing this as well.

    • 0 avatar

      Even if they produce enough power on-site (i.e., their total production equals their total consumption), they will still depend on the grid. To ensure uninterrupted operations without the grid means they would have to use too many of the batteries they produce as load-levelers or install too much power generation (and let it go to waste). Frankly, that’s what the grid is good for–buy power when you need it and sell your excess when you produce too much.

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        It wouldn’t surprise me if they installed ~3x mean power use worth of solar cells and put power back on the grid/used the grid as a huge battery. However, it also wouldn’t surprise me if they had natural gas SOFCs as well as diesel backup generators.

    • 0 avatar

      Apple has/is building several facilities in the Reno area –– a server farm and a business center downtown.

      I lived in Reno for some time and it’s a great city that has an abundance of wind (look up the Washoe Zephyr!) and sun.

      The area makes a great location to do business. Plus, with Tahoe and the Sierras and a low cost of living, it’s an attractive place to live as well. Hopefully this all pans out for the area.

  • avatar

    What about the suppliers? They must move there and build facilities (are they green?), or ship parts in using big trucks and fuel. Where is that aspect in this “green estimate?” There’s a nice factory in Pontiac Michigan ready to go right now.

    • 0 avatar

      >> What about the suppliers?

      The only commercially active lithium mine in the US is in Silver Peak NV. Apparently, Nevada has a lot of lithium.

    • 0 avatar

      Shipping parts and cars all over the continent is nothing new for automobile manufacturers. In a previous job, I installed ride recording equipment on a load of body parts being shipped from the stamping plant in Michigan to the assembly plant in Mexico. Finished cars were shipped back to the US. Ditto for dashboards made in Ontario, Canada going to California.

    • 0 avatar

      At 500K vehicles a year, Tesla can’t rely solely on toffs playing “green” anymore. Instead, they’ll need to think more like any other business.

      Reno is a great location for them, as far as I can see. Lots of engineering and highly skilled type people are chomping at the bit to bolt Silicon Valley for the Reno Tahoe area, due to lower costs, less traffic, less Cali nonsense in general etc., etc. Recruiting should be a snap.

      And Nevada is so utterly under endowed with innate reasons to stay there, that it’s politicians and leech intenders are unlikely to ever be able to squeeze people as hard as they can get away with in Cali. They really can’t get away with it in MI either, but historical inertia enables them to still be a major nuisance there.

  • avatar

    As was expected. Also think of the forerunner status of Nevada in allowing self-driving vehicles and the fact that Tesla can operate without dealers. Does anyone know how far Elon Musk is in getting other companies interested, besides Panasonic? The scale of production requires a higher demand for EV’s, i.e. more car companies that will build them.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Yes, as expected.

      I believe Tesla will be its own customer for these cells. No other EV maker uses the 18650 format, and it would be galling to buy cells from Tesla.

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        Laptops, backup batteries, power tools, there’s plenty of use that we already know of for 18650s, and if they’re halved in cost there may be many more uses we don’t know of yet.

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