Tesla Motor’s Elon Musk told a crowd in front of the Capitol Thursday the company is moving to Nevada because “you’ve created a state where you can move quickly; it’s a real get things done state.”
Even though the incentives to bring the carmaker’s battery manufacturing factory to the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center east of Reno will give the company incentives totaling up to $1.3 billion over 20 years, Musk said Nevada’s wasn’t the biggest incentive package offered by the other states in the running.
He said the state’s business climate, land and other prices combined with the location — much closer to the car manufacturing plant in Fremont, Calif., — will make it possible for Tesla to mass produce an electric car more affordably than in other places.
“Without that, we can’t do the mass market car which has been our goal all along,” said Musk, CEO of the publicly-traded company.
Tesla’s current vehicle ranges in price up to $100,000. The company is trying to build a new electric vehicle in the $35,000 range.
The gigafactory would allow Tesla to lower the cost of batteries by producing them on a massive scale. It’s approximately 10 million square feet, equivalent to about 174 football fields, and would be running by 2017. That is when Tesla hopes to introduce its Model 3.
Musk also said Tesla will make every effort to make the plant look good and to have geothermal, wind and solar power provide the energy it needs to operate.
Gov. Brian Sandoval told the crowd the battery factory will bring 6,500 jobs paying an average of more than $25 an hour and it will have an economic impact over the next 20 years of more than $100 billion in western Nevada.
He said the state is giving tax incentives to bring Tesla here but analysts say the plant will result in more than $80 of economic impact for every dollar the state is investing through those tax breaks.
He said with the estimated 16,000 other jobs indirectly created by Tesla, that means 22,500 new jobs created in the region.
Sandoval said that means a full 20 percent boost to the region’s Gross Domestic Product and a 3 percent boost to the statewide domestic product.
State Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, said winning the competition for Tesla is good news for the state and especially western Nevada.
Sen Greg Brower, R-Reno, said it also would convince numerous other companies to look at Nevada as a potential home.
“The potential jobs impact is tremendous,” he said.
Assemblyman Pete Livermore, R-Carson City, said the potential 20 percent increase in the area’s economy is “a huge amount for Northern Nevada.” He said he’s excited to see the whole package when the Legislature meets in special session next week.
Assemblyman Randy Kirner, R-Reno, said he was excited to discuss the plan as well.
But all lawmakers contacted made it clear they haven’t seen the details of the tax abatements and other pieces of the puzzle, yet.
“I’ve got to read all the details,” said Assemblyman Andrew Martin, D-Las Vegas. “I‘m an accountant so I’ll bring my pencil.”
Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, gave the plan her initial support saying it’s a significant opportunity.
“I look forward to receiving the necessary information so the Legislature can meet and take necessary action to support this major industry coming to Nevada,” she said.
Musk told the crowd work on the factory site has already begun.
which is why one of his executives was not at the press conference.
Tesla Motors stock closed up 1.72 percent Thursday to $286.04 a share.