Commentators from a wide variety of backgrounds are offering a wide variety of reasons why Tesla chose Nevada for its game-changing Gigafactory. The site is fairly close to Tesla’s Fremont, California assembly plant, and offers easy access to an Interstate highway and a major rail corridor.
Tim Crowley of the Nevada Mining Association thinks that proximity to Western Lithium’s mine north of Winnemucca was a big part of the decision. “They can either get [lithium] in Nevada or South America. We’re ecstatic they’re going to get it in Nevada. It showcases the essential need for minerals mined in the state.”
“I think the single most important factor is low-cost green power,” said John Boyd of site selection firm The Boyd Company. Reno offers Tesla choices among solar, wind and geothermal energy. A new graphic on Tesla’s site shows a building covered with solar panels, and a wind farm in nearby hills.
Ray Bacon, head of the Nevada Manufacturers Association, pointed out that the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center has a looping utility system. “Automated machinery can be down for hours with a utility failure. Looping the service stops that issue, and TRIC is one of the few place in the world to have taken that approach.”
Hand-wringers in California pointed to Nevada’s lower taxes and more business-friendly government. The Oakland Tribune called the deal “another example of California’s bad business climate.”
California State Senator Ted Gaines, who had been campaigning for Tesla to build the Gig in Roseville, said: “It’s a clear indictment of our business climate that Nevada is pulling this huge investment away from its natural home. I’m not sure there could be a stronger signal to legislators about how hard they have made it to operate here.”
“California is a tough place to do business and Nevada has tremendous advantages,” said Dave Archer, head of Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. He said the 10-million-square-foot factory would be likely to face lawsuits and injunctions that would stall progress in California. “California tends to be overly sensitive and overly reacting.”
Tesla’s ongoing war with the country’s auto dealers may be another factor. As part of the deal, the Nevada Legislature is expected to pass a new law giving EV manufacturers the explicit right to sell directly to consumers. Laws prohibiting direct sales have been a thorn in Tesla’s side in several states, particularly Texas, which also had hopes of the Gigafactory.