Rick Perry hasn’t yet convinced Elon Musk that Texas is good for Tesla

Everyone wants a piece of Tesla’s Gigafactory.
Everyone wants a piece of Tesla’s Gigafactory.
Image: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
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It looks like the site for Tesla’s much vaunted gigafactory is Nevada’s to lose.

In its quarterly letter to shareholders, Tesla confirmed it had broken ground on a site outside Reno which “could potentially be the location” for the $5-billion facility, where Tesla’s lithium-ion batteries and battery packs will be produced.

The gigafactory is crucial for Tesla’s next phase of growth, designed to help the company ramp up production to satisfy ravenous demand for its cars, especially its Model 3 vehicle, a cheaper model that could help the company go mainstream.The lithum-ion batteries and packs the site will produce may be also used for more than just cars, offering Tesla new revenue streams.

Tesla said it is still evaluating other locations in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas, in case the relevant incentives and processes in Nevada can’t be settled. That will encourage Texas governor Rick Perry, who has been lobbying particularly aggressively to get the factory built within his state’s borders. Perry’s most recent stunt was to cruise around Tesla’s home state of California in a Model S (pictured above).

On Tesla’s conference call, Musk said that as far as its plans in Nevada go, the “ball is in the court” of the state’s officials:

Yeah, we’ve essentially completed the creating of the pad, the construction pad, for the Gigafactory in Nevada. So in terms of creating a flat pad and getting the rocky foundation, that is substantially complete. There’s still a little bit of work ongoing. We’re going to be doing something similar in one or two other states, which is something I previously said we’d do, because I think it makes sense to have multiple things going in parallel. Before we actually go to the next stage of pouring a lot of concrete, though, we want to make sure we have things sorted out at the state level, that the incentives are there that make sense and are fair to the state and Tesla.

Losing out would mostly hurt Perry’s pride, as he isn’t standing for re-election in Texas this year. (He may have his eye on another presidential run, but there are bigger issues than the factory for that particular campaign.) It would also certainly annoy California, where Tesla is based.

It will be a huge coup if Nevada secures the project. “This would be the Triple Crown, the World Series, and the Super Bowl wrapped into one,” Dave Archer, president and CEO of Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, told the Reno-Gazette Journal.