Elon Musk made it official: Electric vehicles will roll with batteries built in Nevada. Governor Sandoval and Tesla’s CEO announced the decision in a news conference at the Capitol on Thursday afternoon, signaling an economic development package scaled for long-term sustainability.
Northern Nevada offers best overall package
Tesla plans to build electric cars with lithium batteries in a net-zero energy factory, and chose Nevada from 5 competing states where Tesla had weighed options. The plant will produce more lithium batteries than all the rest of the plants in the world combined. Proper siting of the gigafactory puts efficiency and scalability together with good business practice and sustainability, leaves tiny carbon toe-prints and creates a healthy economic base. Water in the desert.
The visionary Musk plans to accomplish this feat by using abundant Nevada natural resources too often overlooked or discounted – daily sunlight, moderate to blustery breezes, and vast geothermal resources.
Governor Sandoval will emerge from this windfall with sky-high approvals, especially since southern Nevada has been begging for a Medical School, and this handout to Reno/Sparks is already proving to be the unbalancing of the teeter-totter, a nearly done deal, providing the kind of leverage that creates opportunity.
This rich geography blends well with simple logistics to drive the decision, according to Musk, although skeptics accuse Tesla of shopping the 5 states for the best tax deal. Nevada’s incentive package currently amounts to $1.25 Billion in tax abatements, but Musk emphasized Tesla’s decisions are based on the ingredients for efficiency and sustainability.
The legislature meets Wednesday in Carson City in a special session called by Governor Sandoval to address the details, but most are optimistic about the likelihood of passage, creating the single largest investment by Nevada in history in an industry other than gaming or mining.
Nevada’s Director of Economic Development Steve King heralded the announcement as a victory for Nevada: “We think it is a real good deal for Nevada, a deal Nevadans can be proud of.” 22,000 jobs over 20 years and an economic boost of well over $100 billion is just the start of a good relationship.
The average wage would be $25 an hour with first choice for veterans and local workers. Truckee Meadows Community College is braced to handle worker training, and Tesla is sweetening the deal with funding for local schools.
Geography and efficiency steer decision to Nevada
The lithium deposits in Silver Peak, NV, 225 miles away and Tesla’s assembly plant in nearby Fremont, CA, together with the 6,500 full-time jobs in Northern Nevada provide Musk assurance that the 2017 date for manufacture is realistic.
Musk forecasts production of an electric vehicle that will sell for $35,000 and enjoy a range of 200 miles on a single charge, enough for most commuters to handle comfortably. Expect a new level of quiet ride, smooth power and exquisite handling with lower center of gravity. Say good bye to top-heavy roll-overs.
Tesla plans to spend $5 Billion to build the Gigafactory. Imagine 174 football fields of a solar- and wind-powered factory cranking out batteries for 500,000 electric vehicles a year. Storey County’s Tahoe Reno Industrial Center also includes such giants as Walmart, Toys R Us and PetSmart. The Center is billed as the largest of its kind in the US, and it has plenty of water, freeway and rail access and recycles all its downstream water while basking in sunshine 300 days a year.
Tesla will set the pace, driving us quietly into the future of electric vehicles. Reno/Sparks will benefit directly as the rest of the world begins the monumental trek to quiet power and a healthy economy through sustainable transportation.