Born and based in California, Tesla did not name the state in February as a contender for its “gigafactory,” but California politicians are scrambling to make it happen, and Tesla is thinking about it.
Speculators wondered whether California was really fully ruled out, but Tesla has said better places to put its 10-million-square foot battery plant with up to 6,500 employees would be Arizona, or Nevada, or New Mexico, or Texas.
As Toyota plans to up and leave the state reputed to make doing business harder than most, and relocate to Plano Texas, Tesla has confirmed various proposals are making California look more possible.
Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown approved tax credit legislation for Lockheed Martin worded in such a way as to also let local governments offer tax breaks specifically to battery manufactuers – opening a door therefore for Tesla.
And in another initiative State Senators Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, and Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento proposed placeholder language in a bill refernccing economic development for a battery factory.
California’s economic development department is collaborating with the legislators to develop requirments to be met so the bill will pass in August.
“I will do everything in my power to have California land this factory,” Sen. Gaines said to the Wall Street Journal. “It’s very important for California and sends a message across the country that we are open for business.”
Other states on Tesla’s stated most-highly favored list have also worked to make themselves look fully favorable, and Tesla has said it would break ground on two locations before settling on one.
The decision may be announced by Tesla by the end of the year, and presently Nevada is believed by some to be first in the running, and is at least reported not to be ruled out.
Nevada’s tax laws are more favorable, Reno is still proximal to Tesla’s Fremont plant, and even cited are lithium deposits in state – and in Arizona too – which could be used for battery production.
Tesla needs the massive production capacity to shift economies of scale. Unlike Nissan which opened a factory last year in Tennessee with 20-times the capacity from what’s being utilized, Tesla wants to put the factory to work ASAP.
Reports of it potentially sub-letting production space to other manufacturers, and perhaps other ways to crete synergy are undoubtedly also being looked at.