June 11, 2014
Report: Tesla Gigafactory decision down to San Antonio and Reno
Tesla CEO Elon Musk's economically-charged decision on where the company will locate its $5 billion Gigafactory battery plant may not come until the end of the year, but an expert has told USA Today the battle has come down to a David and Goliath story.
Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Nevada have been reported as the frontrunners for the factory, but USA Today said the real battle is likely down to big San Antonio vs. little Reno.
"A case can be made for both Arizona and New Mexico ... and you have to give them credit," John Boyd, a principal of Princeton, N.J.-based site selection firm The Boyd Company, told USA Today. "But the two leading contenders are Reno and San Antonio."
Tesla has said it will break ground in two or three of the states while it works on making a decision, but that could just be Tesla wanting to save time once a decision is made.
"I think it's just a matter of Tesla saving time on the development process once it picks a site," Dennis Donovan, a principal with another New Jersey-based site selection firm, Wadley Donovan Gutshaw Consulting, told USA Today. "(The concurrent development) is actually not that bad for those communities even if the company goes somewhere else because the site infrastructure will be valuable for other prospective tenants."
According to USA Today, San Antonio and Reno have advantages over other locations.
First, both are in right-to-work states, which New Mexico is not. Also Arizona has a corporate income tax, which wouldn't be an obstacle in Texas and Nevada.
Also, Texas and Nevada have large talent pools at the ready, as well as infrastructure with access to alternative energy sources such as solar and wind.
Lance Murray edits and writes for the DBJ's website and can be reached at 214-706-7106