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Tesla Motors set to announce Gigafactory location near Reno

The Gigafactory is set to single-handedly double world production of lithium-ion battery packs
The Gigafactory is set to single-handedly double world production of lithium-ion battery packs
Tesla Motors, used with permission

A major economic development announcement scheduled for 4PM Thursday by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has the news wires buzzing with a rumor that Tesla Motors has chosen its Gigafactory location. The buzz started on Wednesday with a CNBC report quoting unnamed sources saying a deal had been reached between Tesla and Nevada, but that the details hadn't been finalized. Several news outlets are now reporting a deal has been reached, and that Tesla has confirmed they're making an announcement on Thursday along with Gov. Sandoval.

The Gigafactory is a key asset in Tesla's plan to start manufacturing the Tesla Model 3 in 2017. Because the Model 3 is to sell at over 100,000 vehicles a year, and to have a 60 kilowatt-hour battery pack giving a 200+ mile electric driving range, Tesla Motors has calculated they need a gigantic battery pack factory. Tesla has signed a deal with Panasonic to build such a factory, and the companies have been looking at five states for potential locations. (Arizona, California, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas)

In July it was learned that site preparation work was underway near Reno, Nevada, under heavy secrecy. Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed that ground had been broken in Reno, but reiterated that Tesla/Panasonic would do negotiations with several states, perhaps breaking ground in more than one state, before selecting a final location.

Several news outlets are now reporting that, indeed, the site near Reno has been chosen with a few details remaining to be settled. The Desert Sun confirmed this report, and said they'd received a statement from Tesla Motors confirming that the company is going to make an announcement on Thursday with Gov. Sandoval. That report said that while California was in the running, and had become a strong contender for the Gigafactory, the California Legislature closed on Saturday without passing any enabling legislation. SB-1309 would have been that legislation, but it died in committee.

The Reno Gazette-Journal also confirms that the site near Reno has been chosen. That report says Gov. Sandoval has called a special legislative session for next week, lasting 1-2 days, to consider legislation to support the deal. The size of the incentives package, $400 million or more in various tax breaks, is beyond the caps on property and sales tax breaks.

The press conference is scheduled for 4pm Thursday at the Capitol Building in Carson City, NV.