Tesla Motors and the state of Nevada have jointly announced that the company has selected Nevada for the site of its new "Gigafactory," a manufacturing plant that will supposedly supply the electric vehicle automaker with enough batteries to build 500,000 cars annually by 2020. Speculation has been rampant for months about where the site of the new plant would be, ever since Tesla began courting several Southwestern states for tax and construction incentives in exchange for locating the plant in their state.
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The plant itself will be a joint venture between Tesla and the company's battery supplier Panasonic, which has agreed to produce cylindrical lithium-ion battery cells there, providing machinery and manufacturing equipment while Tesla provides the land, facility and building management. Half of the plant will be used by Panasonic to manufacture lithium-ion cells, the other half of the facility will be used by Tesla's various suppliers to create battery packs and ancillary support systems for the packs.
Tesla maintains that the plant will eventually produce enough battery packs to support the Model S, Model X SUV (concept shown above) and the recently announced smaller Model 3 sedan, Tesla's less expensive, more accessible EV luxury car. The 500,000 claim is a bit staggering as no luxury brand sells nearly that many cars in the U.S., and Tesla has only just begun exploring sales in China. The company claims that the plant will eventually employ 6,600 people, and Nevada is expecting the plant to generate more than $100 billion in economic impact for the state over the next 20 years.