Yesterday Bloomberg reported Tesla Motors will break ground for at least two sites it’s now considering, and is “getting close“ to announcing these sites.
“What we’re going to do is move forward with more than one state, at least two, all the way to breaking ground, just in case there’s last-minute issues,” said CEO Elon Musk in an interview Monday. “The No. 1 thing is we want to minimize the risk timing for the gigafactory to get up and running.”
The goal is to have Tesla’s BMW 3-Series competitor internally called “Gen 3″ in production in around three years.
As reported in February, states named as contenders were Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Texas.
The estimated $5 billion plant would enable “mass market” production capacity and drive down the price of li-ion batteries. As many as 6,500 employees could eventually be involved in a gigaplant.
Why wasn’t California one of the contenders?
Musk said it was because of the amount of time needed to gain environmental and regulatory approval.
“California has a lot of regulatory agencies, and although this will be a very green factory, we can’t have a situation where an enormous amount of data has to be processed by a regulatory agency to find no significant impact and then give us approval to proceed,” he said.
On Monday Musk said also design and prep work to assemble Gen 3 has to be done in parallel with the gigafactory.
“There are a lot of moving parts, a crazy amount of moving parts,” Musk said. “If there’s a laggard there, we’ll have this massive facility and a ton of people trained and no ability to recoup revenue. It will be quite a bad situation.”