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Tesla Gigafactory Going To Nevada, Apparently (First One, Anyhow)

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Slide showing Tesla Motors gigafactory statistics, from Feb 2014 presentation

Slide showing Tesla Motors gigafactory statistics, from Feb 2014 presentation

Enlarge Photo

A press conference to be held this afternoon may answer one of the major questions for the future of electric-car maker Tesla Motors: Where will it locate its gigafactory?

The answer appears to be Nevada.

The office of state governor Brian Sandoval said he would make a "major economic development announcement" in Carson City this afternoon, according to an Associated Press report.

Project Tiger site at USA Parkway Business Park, Reno--for Tesla gigafactory? [photo: Bob Tregilus]

Project Tiger site at USA Parkway Business Park, Reno--for Tesla gigafactory? [photo: Bob Tregilus]

Enlarge Photo

The story broke yesterday afternoon in the San Jose Mercury News, which quoted Tesla spokeswoman Liz Jarvis-Shean confirming that Tesla "looks forward to joining the governor and legislative leaders" at today's event.

DON'T MISS: Tesla Battery Gigafactory: Speed, Incentives, Power-Line Proximity Crucial

Site preparation work was completed some weeks ago at a location in the Reno-Tahoe Industrial Center, and speculation at the time pointed to that site as the most likely candidate for the huge plant.

Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas were all known to be competing for the $5 billion factory, for which Tesla demands $500 million of incentives from the chosen state.

Slide showing candidate states for Tesla Motors gigafactory, from Feb 2014 presentation

Slide showing candidate states for Tesla Motors gigafactory, from Feb 2014 presentation

Enlarge Photo

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that the company planned to prepare more than one site, to ensure that its so-called gigafactory would stay on schedule to start production of lithium-ion cells and battery packs in late 2017.

Those plans will continue, according an unnamed source quoted in the AP story, in case Nevada is unable to deliver the required incentives.

ALSO SEE: Tesla's Next Electric Car Line: Roundup Of What We Know Now

The batteries produced at the gigafactory will permit Tesla to launch its planned Model 3 electric car, which is expected to be smaller than today's Model S luxury sedan, offer a rated range of 200 miles, and start at a price of $35,000.

The factory is expected to host up to 6,500 jobs, and include production of many different battery components.

Project Tiger site at USA Parkway Business Park, Reno--for Tesla gigafactory? [photo: Bob Tregilus]

Project Tiger site at USA Parkway Business Park, Reno--for Tesla gigafactory? [photo: Bob Tregilus]

Enlarge Photo

Those include processing of precursor raw materials like lithium to cell fabrication machinery operated by Tesla's battery partner Panasonic, which will foot part of the cost.

The plant will also assemble fully-completed battery packs for the Model 3 cars, which will likely be manufactured in Tesla's plant in Fremont, California.

This story will be updated as more details become available.

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