Tesla has selected Nevada in the United States as the site for a massive factory which will develop batteries for electric vehicles.
According to the Associated Press, an industrial park just outside Reno has been earmarked for the factory. The publication's sources say that while no official announcement has been made, as long as state leaders adhere to economic incentives promised to the company, Nevada will host the factory rather than four other states also competing for the build.
Originally, Tesla said the factory -- which will employ approximately 6,500 people -- "represents a fundamental change in the way large scale battery production can be realized."
Panasonic has partnered with Tesla on the build. While Tesla will purchase the land, buildings and utilities required for the battery-producing factory, Panasonic has agreed to manufacture and supply cylindrical lithium-ion cells, as well as invest funds in equipment, machinery and tools.
It is hoped the gigafactory will act as a research center for the improvement of electric vehicle (EV) batteries. At the moment, battery life is often lacking in EVs, and this contributes to 'range anxiety' -- the fear of an EV running out of juice on the road -- and a lack of charging stations in our cities have also hampered consumer demand. Unless these issues are resolved, it is unlikely that the EV industry will reach its full potential.
The site will also produce cells, modules and packs for Tesla EVs. Tesla and Panasonic hope the factory will produce 35GWh of cells and 50GWh of packs per year by 2020 -- and will also make mass-producing cars which cost $35,000 and go for 200 miles on a single charge feasible.
While other automakers are also rushing to produce more affordable electric vehicles -- including General Motors and Nissan -- the average short-term investment cost of purchase remains high, and you can often expect to pay between $50,000 and $70,000 for a basic EV. However, if the cost of batteries is brought down, this saving can be passed on to the consumer, which in turn may prompt quicker rates of adoption.
The gigafactory is predicted to span across 10 million square feet, and Tesla wants the factory operational by 2017.
The AP reports that while Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval wouldn't comment on the plans, based on Tesla CEO Elon Musk's statements, Nevada's financial incentives are likely to total at least $500 million, and may include tax breaks and relaxed workplace laws. Other feathers in the US state's cap include the climate -- where solar energy can be used to keep the costs of operation down -- and the fact the industrial park is close to a source of lithium, which is used in battery cell production.
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