Tesla to name possible sites for planned battery “gigafactory” in two US states

Article by Andrew Christian, on May 1, 2014

Tesla Motors Inc. will soon name locations in at least two states for its planned battery "gigafactory." The carmaker will also soon break ground at each site to make that one of them will be ready to supply lithium ion battery packs within three years. Tesla is aiming to hike global output of the Model S by 56 percent in 2014 and is planning to introduce a volume electric vehicle.

The carmaker announced in February that it was planning the largest battery plant in the world and was assessing sites in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said that lower-cost battery packs are vital in ensuring that Tesla's planned less costly model arrives to market on time.

He told Automotive News in an interview that their strategy entails having sites in at least two states, “just in case there's last-minute issues."

He remarked that they want to minimize the risk timing for the gigafactory to get up and running. Tesla plans to spend up to $5 billion in the gigafactory and intends to employ up to 6,500 workers at the site.

The gigafactory will produce batteries that are 30 percent less expensive than currently ones and will also supply packs to Musk's SolarCity Corp. In March, Tesla in March raised $2.3 billion from selling convertible notes for financing the battery plant.

Musk remarked that while breaking ground at different locations with an initial goal of using only one could be considered unusual, the carmaker may ultimately need more than one gigafactory in the US.

Tesla plans to sell its third-generation electric -- following the Model S sedan and Model X electric SUV due next year – at a price comparable to the BMW 3-Series Sedan, or around half the starting price of the Model S.

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