Optimism Grows for Possible Northern Nevada Gigafactory - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Optimism Grows for Possible Northern Nevada Gigafactory

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Negotiations continue between the State of Nevada and Tesla, but there is optimism among area leaders that the electric car company will choose Storey County as the site of their massive facility. A final decision is expected in the next few months. The Silver State is competing against California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico.

The future of electric cars could run through northern Nevada, after yesterday's announcement that Tesla is building a facility at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Park.

"There's a number of items to check off the list before it's a done deal but we're thrilled to be this far along in the process," Pat Whitten, Storey County Manager said.

The 10-million square-foot gigafactory would cost $5 billion and employ 6,500 people.  Sparks Mayor Geno Martini says that could have a huge impact on the Truckee Meadows.

"It's in Storey County but there's going to be a lot of people that live in Sparks," Martini said. "People will maybe move here from other areas that will buy houses in Sparks, shop in Sparks. So, I think it's huge for us."

Tesla is partnering with Panasonic to manufacture lithium-ion batteries at a site, yet to be determined.

"I've seen it referred to as the largest economic development prize in the continent, if not in the world, right now," Whitten said.

F & P Construction has already laid a 5 million square foot pad at Tesla's site in Storey County, with 280 workers moving 3 million yards in just three weeks. Construction is on hold as Tesla and the state continue to bargain.

"Big companies are something," Martini said. "They're going to push until they get the best deal that they can. I understand that. That's part of doing business but I think we can step up and give them just as good a deal as anybody."

"Having worked with the folks at Tesla for the past several months, I get the sense that this is a developing and emerging type of project," Whitten said. "So you want to be able to flex with them and not throw a lot of bureaucracy at them."

Whitten says Nevada is one of the most business-friendly states in the country and the location is ideal.  It has easy access to railroad and is just a few hours from Tesla's headquarters, in Palo Alto.

"We'll keep our fingers crossed that we are that lead site that they said that they were going to have all along," Whitten said. "We'll see if that holds up."

Lance Gilman is the developer of the industrial center and he says Nevada is a year ahead of the other states that are hoping to land the gigafactory.  He says the permits are in place and Tesla hasn't started building in any of the other states involved.

Written by Paul Nelson
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