Giga Factory Location

Giga Factory Location

OK, so who thinks they know where the Giga Factory is to be built? Is it New Mexico, Texas, California, Nevada, Wyoming or somewhere else? We have at most 7 days to get it figured out before he just tells us the answer!

I live in Texas and while I can see some real reasons it might be located here (tax benefits, transport costs, labor force, help with convincing our "lobbyist loving state congressional leaders" to open Texas up to selling Teslas) I'm really thinking we don't deserve it!

My vote is for Wyoming, what's your vote?

jbunn | February 21, 2014

Curious about how much space a "gigafactory" requires...

Early on, Tesla had considered building it's own factory in several locations, but abandoned that based on cost. Decided to purchase the NUMMI plant for pennies on the dollar. And they like to keep things in house. And I think one statement was the plant would be powered by sun and wind.

So the northern tier is out. Probably not Detroit even though it has space and labor. Solyndra? Walking distance, but too small? Custom built on land near the factory? Or will it be overseas to suit it's partners?

hillcountryfun | February 21, 2014


Excellent point about solar and wind powered, while not as strong as the Southern states Wyoming's not to bad:

City Sunny Partly Sunny Total Days with Sun

Casper 107 111 218
Cheyenne 106 127 233
Lander 114 122 236
Sheridan 95 113 208

Also, you're right, they were planning to build the vehicle factory in NM (I think it was) so that might play into this decision as well.

I don't think it will be overseas because I think they will want easy, cheap and reliable transport between the battery and vehicle factories.

NomoDinos | February 21, 2014

I'm also going with either Texas for the same reasons as you, Hillcountryfun. Tons of sun, minimal regulation, low low taxes, and a trump card to get approval for Texas sales.

Otherwise, I think China might be a good play for the ultra-low overhead, currying favor with the government (for possible inclusion on tax-incentives), and having it closer to where most of the sales may go.

Ultimately though, I don't care where it is, as long as it is! | February 21, 2014

The Solyndra property was sold/leased to Seagate a while back, and currently occupies that space.

Like any space, I expect they will want room to grow over time, which may be a significant consideration. The Fremont factory is a logical choice, but I think they see all the space needed in the next 5 years for car production - so not likely.

My guess is a nearby state such as Utah or Nevada. The do have to move these heavy packs to the factory, so it doesn't make sense to put them too far away. If they need a shipping port for raw materials, then California, Washington or Oregon may make the most sense.

Then some state may come in with such a good set of tax breaks, it might completely shift the equation.

NomoDinos | February 21, 2014

Hillcountry - I heard they are toying with the idea of building a factory in China as well, but that would be years away.

jbunn | February 21, 2014

Given that, I'm thinking southwest quadrant of the US. Anybody have any lithium futures?

NomoDinos | February 21, 2014

Excuse me while I go purchase some lithium mines...

hillcountryfun | February 21, 2014

I missed a key point in the Q4 report, I was reading this post:

And it says the pack production will also move to the giga factory. That's interesting and surprising, I wonder if that could play a role in the decision for the location. I really thought the factory would only produce cells but apparently it will do more.

sosmerc | February 21, 2014

I would like to see it be built in an area that would enable solar/wind to be optimized for power to run the factory.
Second consideration would be to put it in a state that is the least friendly to Tesla so that maybe when its done they will "see the light"? (like maybe Texas :)

Bighorn | February 21, 2014

I'm partial to your WY guess, but living here I'm not putting it in very high contention. It's true that we get a fair amount of sun, but we're near the 45th parallel, so I think solar is a bit hobbled by that fact. Several of those locations are very windy and wind farms are coming online rapidly. Wyoming also has the largest lithium reserve in the world, or so it's thought based on a recent discovery in looking for places to sequester carbon. Where Wyoming loses points is the remoteness, the winter rigor as well as insufficient work force. Tax wise it would probably be favorable for a business. It would be tough to attract new-comers as the affordable places are desolate and the desirable one are costly.

I'd be more inclined to a state with a more temperate climate with good taxation policy and a convenient transportation hub. Without researching those details, I'd pick Nevada. Perhaps an empty factory exists after their real estate downturn?

doctor_goof | February 21, 2014

I would assume that the best option for production would be to buy infrastructure which Is already being used for battery production, where the facility and part of the tooling could be bought at a very inexpensive price. For that purpose, I think they might try to buy a factory that is grossly underutilized. Examples might be the a123/wangxi plant in michigan, the SAFT factory in Gainesville Florida, or some capacity from Johnson controls in Wisconsin.

Such a purchase would save 100s of millions of dollars. | February 21, 2014

I am think some western state like NV, UT or WY.


petochok | February 21, 2014

Moving the pack assembly out of NUMMI will free up more vehicle production capacity. Something tells me they are thinking ahead, way ahead to the days when the plant will be operating at full capacity.

AmpedRealtor | February 21, 2014


Bighorn | February 21, 2014

Like Texas, hasn't AZ been pretty Tesla-unfriendly? That's the only reason I didn't seriously consider it.

MassX1317 | February 21, 2014

I think they should go with two or more facilities.

East coast supplies eastern half of US and Europe. I would go with Wilmington, Deleware.

West coast supplies western half of US and Asia. I think they stay in their current factory and build the giga factory in Nevada.

AmpedRealtor | February 21, 2014

@ Bighorn,

I was thinking more from the standpoint of sunshine. I don't think Arizona is particularly Tesla unfriendly. Like many other states Arizona has laws in place to protect the dealers, effectively preventing Tesla from selling direct. However, there are a number of EV friendly policies here in Arizona:
EV owners enjoy big savings on 5 year registration and license tax, especially for a car of this price (~$160 for 5 years EV vs. ~$1,800 1 year non-EV)Cars with EV plates are entitled to HOV lane access and parking in carpool spaces.ICEing law preventing a non-EV from occupying an EV designated parking or charging space, with a minimum $350 fine.$75 residential EVSE tax credit.Special (low) plug-in electric vehicle charging rate from APS Electric.Arizona Office of Tourism promotes EV travel and Tesla charging.Low property taxes and pro-business politiciansStatewide average of 300 days of sunshine per year!

If generating renewable energy for this factory is going to be a priority, Yuma Arizona's 313 days of sunshine each year would provide an excellent source of power. The politics are decidedly conservative, sometimes bordering on the hilarious and ludicrous, but the cost of living is very low.

NKYTA | February 21, 2014

Let's hope Elon can get some concessions from Gov Brown so we can keep it close to Fremont. We get plenty of sunshine in the East Bay...

EmperorTytus | February 21, 2014

Put it in Reno, NV. Then build a fully functional proof-of-concept hyperloop from Reno to Fremont replete with solar roofing along the stretch of hyperloop to provide free, continuous transport of batteries to Fremont plant, Apple (for helping fund the gigafactory), and Solar City. This would be fantastic on so many levels.

TimC | February 21, 2014

Reno is a good spot. I was thinking further east in Utah - good workforce, lots of sunshine, and relative proximity to Fremont.

Webcrawler | February 21, 2014

Batteries are heavy. Shipping long distances will be expensive. I bet on it being close to California...

I say Arizona...

AlMc | February 21, 2014

Mass X: +1 Delaware: Newark: book it

NoMoDinos: Bought shares in Western Lithium (US) and SQM (Chilean)
lithium mining companies yesterday.

Western Lithium is a start up that will not inspire 'green' investors as on top of Lithium mining they are mining materials to make 'fracking' more efficient.

SQM: Actually pays a dividend but has political risks. Sitting on one of the largest lithium veins in the world. Main source of income is potash. IMO, that will change.

Sudre_ | February 21, 2014

Batteries will ship just fine on trains. The fully assembled pack is probably cheaper to ship across the US by train than shipping millions of cells across the ocean.

I hope Tesla is very clear about why they avoid states that strive to prevent them from selling cars. I think AZ already had the laws so they aren't 'against Tesla'. Texas is a perfect example to completely ignore. Elon already went to that state and said in short, 'I will bring jobs to your state if you scratch my back.' Texas told him to get screwed. I would bet Texas is OUT of the picture.

Another thing to consider is the current state of the Supercharger network. Elon will want to drive to the new Factory location for meetings in his Tesla. This strange winding path might have a secondary consideration when it was built. Look for good factory locations along the Supercharger route. Arizona is getting a lot of Superchargers.

Sudre_ | February 21, 2014

Here is a totally off the wall crazy thought that isn't for real but...

What if every pack the was made was plugged into a train car. The train cars were plugged into each other and then into the train engine (diesel train engines are actually electric motor driven. The diesel engines run an electric generator)

Basically the packs would deliver themselves. If you move 1000 pack 1000 miles then it's only 1 mile of usage per pack.

Ohmman | February 21, 2014

Nevada. I put pretend Internet money on it.

SarahsDad | February 21, 2014

I know this is an outside shot but how about North Carolina?

FMC Lithium is an international Lithium mining and manufacturing company based in Charlotte NC. According to this article, NC accounts for 75% of the nation's lithium production.

Apple recently built a $1B server farm with the nation's largest solar array about 30 miles outside Charlotte.
Might help if there really is a Tesla/Apple connection.

Google also has a $1B data center about 60 miles away. Google chose NC because of the "right combination of energy infrastructure, developable land, and available workforce".

negarholger | February 21, 2014

I wouldn't rule Texas out - Elon may have a longer term view then reacting to the lastest little thing... rockets, trucks and batteries. US sells same amount of trucks as cars. Texas is also interesting from the storage part of the business as it has a lot of wind generation. Political influence is bought or earned.

hillcountryfun | February 21, 2014

EmperorTytus: I love it! Very cool!

Sudre: Agree with the trains for shipment, sweet idea for having the packs charge the engines battery pack!

Kleist: One other thing about Texas is we like to think we're the "energy" state...agree, I wouldn't count out Texas.

Mikial | February 21, 2014

I would put my money on Reno.

TeslaLABlue | February 21, 2014

100% it will be build on the 35 acres of land they bought next to the Tesla Factory in July 2013.

Yes some said its for a test track... But there is plenty of room.

NomoDinos | February 21, 2014

admjr - nice, good forward thinking! I think Western is more my risk tolerance.

Baribrotzer | February 22, 2014

I would guess California.

Short supply lines, although that's not necessarily a clincher: freight trains and cargo ships are both pretty efficient at moving heavy objects for long distances.

It's a coastal state, so seaports for shipping to Panasonic's other customers are in easy reach.

No trouble finding a skilled, educated workforce.

Mr. M already has a good relationship with the local politicians and government. That might count more than you'd think - Gov. Jerry Brown will take his calls and leads a party with a near-unbeatable legislative majority. Compared to that, the immediate bottom-line payroll and tax savings of a Southern right-to-work state might count less than you'd think.

JPPTM | February 22, 2014

FWIW, for you Li investors planning for a 'quick kill', be aware that Elon was quoted at last year's Teslive as saying that the Li was 'the salt in the salad'. You don't need a whole lot of Li to make Li batteries.

nickjhowe | February 22, 2014

Texas | February 22, 2014

How about in outer-space? Mine minerals from the moon and send up anything else using SpaceX. Fully automated space factory would build, assemble and drop packs down from orbit right to the factory! I'm sure there might be a few issues to work out, but time to think big!

(Yes, I realize this is completely impractical on so many levels).

djm12 | February 22, 2014

They'll put it wherever the largest tax break can be found. I'm betting that Elon favors solar over other renewables and that this would favor sunny states. Arizona is known for handouts. I'm thinking in the Scottsdale/Chandler area.

Captain_Zap | February 22, 2014

Don't forget that there is a railroad that goes through the Tesla plant. Link that RR to some raw materials and I think you are on to something.

Wyoming's Rock Springs uplift is supposed to be the mother lode of lithium deposits and it a straight shot via the Union Pacific Railway. It is on I-80 which gets you clear to San Francisco. The city was a coal town for the Railroads. They are passing initiatives there for siting wind power right now.

Lithium has been associated with dry lakes and geothermal too. I'd guess anywhere on the Union Pacific RR line between Reno and the Rock Springs area in Wyoming.

jbunn | February 22, 2014

If you go to Bing maps, and search for "Tesla factory, Fremont California", then switch to the aerial or Birdseye views, you can see the railroad tracks that have sidings into the factory.

The satellite images are not that recent. You can still see the NUMMI sign where the Tesla sign appears today. Looks it was taken just as Toyota pulled out.

If you look on the Google map, you can see Tesla after production started. The map location for the service center is incorrect, but if you know where it's at, you can see a number of Tesla S and a couple roadsters parked in the service lot.

Satellite imagery is way cool.

Captain_Zap | February 22, 2014

If you switch to the aerial/bird's eye view on Bing it is much more recent.

Rheumboy | February 22, 2014

I vote Latvia.

jbunn | February 22, 2014

Yeah, I'm looking at the birds eye view on Bing, and it says NUMMI...

Bubba2000 | February 22, 2014

The battery gigafactory will be an automated operation with technical and research folks... the kind that are available in Northern CA. Very complex. I think it would be best to have the factory close the Tesla factory. Close enough for Elon and his team to coordinate operations. Short supply lines to the Tesla factory. Tesla has the political support in CA to get the permits, etc.

Besides CA, I would say Oregon, Washing State make sense too due to proximity and cheap electrical energy, mostly from hydro. No need to invest in solar energy.

Texas is unpredictable for doing business. Very political and they do make they own laws and rules. Very pro-oil. I believe that Tesla ultimately will prevail and disrupt the ICE auto business. Makes no sense to locate the key enabling component in Texas. NC is too far. | February 22, 2014

Maybe it will be at the current location. One of the quirky things I have noticed is that the new building they are building on the Tesla site is not accented with the Tesla Red like they did with the factory, but rather with a medium blue color that looks a lot like the Panasonic Blue - but maybe I am just seeing things.


Docrob | February 23, 2014

90% of the floor space in the Nummi factory is vacant or being used for storage and there is ample empty land to further expand in addition to the newly acquired land, building a greenfield site and having to pay to transport finished packs to Fremont when there is scads of room and technical expertise at the current site just seems loony. I would be completely shocked if the Giga factory wasn't built on new or unused factory space at Fremont.

howardb33 | February 23, 2014


Jolinar | February 23, 2014

I don't know much about the US politics, but I'd bet on Texas or California. In Texas they could negotiate $1B+ investment to factory and workforce there and get the right to sell cars there. In California they could get some nice tax breaks for it. Both has a lot of sun right?

drp | February 23, 2014

California or Nevada is my bet.

MarlonBrown | February 23, 2014

Is there any active railway between Reno and Fremont? If so Reno can be it given the solar requirements and proximity to Cali.

Captain_Zap | February 23, 2014


Yes, it is a major line. You can see it on Union Pacific railway maps.

My thought about putting the Gigafactory in Fremont is the problem with high cost of living for factory employees results in higher prices for Tesla. There are many areas near the railroad that would do backflips to get more jobs that have livable wages. I would think that shipping via rail would pay off handsomely. The town that is on the UP Railway line near the Lithium find is rather depressed.

Bighorn | February 23, 2014

Are you referring to Rock Springs? It may be depressing, but hardly depressed.

Though no one else in the state would agree with the writer of that article.