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Just where will Tesla build its battery factory? California is looking good

25 July 2014, 4:53 pm EDT By Robert Lawson Tech Times
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States including Washington and California are competing to be home for the electric car maker's $5 billion battery factory. Called a gigafactory, it will produce lithium ion batteries to run the electric cars.  ( Steven Blom | WikiMedia Commons )

Several states, including Washington and Caifornia, are being considered as the site for Tesla's battery factory and the location list also includes New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona.

The $5 billion gigafactory would produce lithium ion or Li-on batteries -- and an estimated 6,500 jobs. So, where might the factory actually be built?

Several states have been included in the list of possible gigafactory locations, as Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk calls them. Musk had previously said the company wasn't seriously considering California, but the state may be back in the running for the site, according to a report. Texas is another possible location.

Palo Alto, Calif., is the home base for Tesla, and the company is pushing to go mainstream and possibly offer a $35,000 model. A Tesla S currently sells for around $70,000.

The problem with California is that a large chunk of available land near San Fransisco is contaminated. The property was formerly the Concord Naval Weapons Station and once housed missles, torpedos and toxic materials. The cleanup is ongoing, but Tesla wants a factory opening soon that can produce enough batteries to power a half-million Tesla automobiles by 2020.

However, California just passed some very appealing tax credits. Tesla said it was pleased with the measures California has taken to speed up the process that might help the state win a bid for the production facility.

"California has re-entered the race and closed the gap with the other states," a Tesla spokesman said  July 24.

The spokesman, Simon Sproule, said the change in direction was a result of the state's initiative to get the approval process moved through as quickly as possible.

The company is relying on quick approval for its initiative to build its next car, the Tesla Model 3. That car would require that a facility be built quickly to produce enough affordable batteries to make the plan feasible. California also wants to push for a Lockheed Martin facility, which would also be eligible for the property tax credits, a reported $420 million worth.

Groups in the state of Washington also mobilized an aggressive effort in legislative campaigns to court Tesla for its battery factory, according to a recent report. The Washington Department of Commerce launched such a campaign. However, Washington won't likely be on the target list.

It is hard to say where Tesla will choose for its new gigafactory site, although it will likely be the state with the best option for quick and mass production of new batteries. Many Californians hope that it will be in the state where the electric car company is based.

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