RENO, NV - Tesla Motors has confirmed rumors that a construction project in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center east of Reno is a potential site for its battery gigafactory.
Tesla made the announcement in a press release Wednesday afternoon saying, "In June we broke ground just outside Reno, Nevada on a site that could potentially be the location for the gigafactory."
Speculation had been rampant that the site in the Eagle Valley portion of the industrial center just off I-80 and USA Parkway in the Truckee Canyon was being prepared for the gigafactory, but all involved in the project, including the heavy equipment operators were under the restriction of a non-disclosure agreement.
When asked why work had stopped and people had been laid off from the USA Parkway site, a representative for Tesla on a shareholder webcast said the pad was substantially completed and the company wants to work out the best deal with the state, but at this point, "the ball is in the court of the Governor's office and the Legislature." He did not elaborate, and Governor Sandoval responded with this statement: "I am pleased with today's announcement. Discussions with Tesla are ongoing."
The announcement stopped short of awarding the factory to Nevada.
"Consistent with our strategy to identify and break ground on multiple sites, we continue to evaluate other locations in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. The final site for the first gigafactory will be determined in the next few months."
The five states have been in a lobbying battle for the factory, a reported $5 billion dollar project which will employ 6.500.
Reno has been on the short list for months and, as near as anyone can tell, is the only site at which ground has been broken.
Work at "Project Tiger" began last month and continued 24/7 until last Thursday when it suddenly stopped.
Lance Gilman of the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center said the work stoppage happened at a "natural break" in the site work. Other sources said it coincided with a site inspection by corporate entities and a reported snag in negotiations between the state and Tesla.
The shutdown put 280 people out of work with little warning and no explanation. Some told us they had quit other jobs to sign on after being promised three to five years employment.
They were working 84 hour weeks under pressure to meet deadlines, but said the pay was very good.