8/5/2014

Tesla Hedges on Nevada Site for Battery “Gigafactory”

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Tesla Motors Inc. says it broke ground in June near Reno, Nev., for its first $5 billion electric-car battery factory.

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Tesla Motors Inc. says it broke ground in June near Reno, Nev., for its first $5 billion electric-car battery factory.

But the California-based EV maker adds that it continues to consider other sites in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas and will launch similar site-prep work in at least one other location.

Last week Tesla signed Panasonic Corp. as a major partner in the project, which aims to begin making lithium-ion EV batteries by 2017 at one or more 10 million-sq-ft "gigafactories" in the western U.S.

CEO Elon Musk says he expects his company will pay 40%-50% of the cost of the factory. He figures state incentives will contribute about 10% of the cost.

Musk tells analysts it "made sense" to begin site work even as the company awaits the best state-level financial deal to finalize the locations. He says Tesla won't start "pouring a lot of concrete" until it receives final incentive packages from the candidate states.

Musk also says Tesla won't make final site selections until the end of this year.