Amanda Ketchledge /Nevada Media Alliance
Gov. Brian Sandoval speaks at the Tesla Motor news conference on Sept. 5. Sandoval stated that the Tesla gigafactory will bring about 22,500 to the battle born state.

 

By Amanda Ketchledge

Tesla Motors has officially chosen Nevada as the location to build a $5 billion battery plant for its electric vehicles.
“The gigafactory is an important step in advancing the cause of sustainable transportation and will enable the mass production of compelling electric vehicles for decades to come,” said CEO of Tesla Motors Elon Musk.

Governor Brian Sandoval made the announcement during the news conference last Friday, September 5 in Carson City. The City of Reno issued a statement that this announcement “represents a significant win for the Reno region’s innovative and business-friendly perception on the national level.”

Tesla has been in negotiation for months with four other states including California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. CEO Elon Musk announced in spring that two sites would start to be constructed before a final winner was declared. In July, Tesla broke ground at the Reno Tahoe Industrial Center, but the company did not publicly commit to building in Nevada. The Silver State ultimately won the battle for the major economic development.

“This is great news for Nevada. This gigafactory will mean nearly one hundred billion dollars in economic impact to Nevada over the next twenty years,” Sandoval said.
About 3,000 construction jobs will be created to build the structure. Once completed, 6,500 jobs will be available for Nevada workers who will receive an average wage of $25 an hour with excellent benefits. Another 16,000 indirect jobs will be made in the community for a total of 22,500 jobs created.

Not only will the job market benefit from the electric carmakers, but Sandoval says Nevada’s educational institutions will see a profit as well.

“Research dollars will flow to our universities and our K-12 system will receive a direct $35 million contribution from Tesla,” Sandoval said. The donation will reduce taxes starting in August of 2018. In exchange, Tesla will operate in the state essentially tax-free for 10 years if the Nevada Legislature approves the deal.

The 10-million square foot factory will be solar and geothermal powered to produce all the energy it needs. It is projected to produce hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles. With one electric car costing around $35,000 to make, mass production will reduce the cost of manufacturing batteries.

The project should also speed up Tesla’s plans to finalize its Model 3 by 2017.

“It’s not going to be just the biggest lithium ion factory in the world, but it will actually be bigger than the sum of all lithium ion factories in the world,” said Musk. Adding up all of the factories in China, Korea, Japan and elsewhere will not compare to the gigafactory being built in Nevada.

Tesla charging stations have already popped up in Reno; the Atlantis Hotel and Casino and the Peppermill have installed two each. “We usually have a couple cars here parked everyday,” said Tracie Barthuse, publicist for the Atlantis. “It takes about four and a half hours to charge. So a lot of people park their cars and go inside and either go into the spa or dine with us or play some games.”

Local businesses gain a competitive advantage with Tesla charging stations available for their customers. It not only is helpful for car owners, but the Atlantis and the Peppermill benefit from the business it draws.

“Tesla is a new idea and not only does it bring jobs in, but it supports a new image for Reno,” said Bill Hughes, director of marketing at the Peppermill.
Tesla plans on having the gigafactory completed by 2017.

Amanda Ketchledge reports on behalf of the Nevada Media Alliance and can be reached at nevadamediaalliance@gmail.com.