New Tesla rumors spark speculation

Updated: 05/30/2014 10:27 PM | Created: 05/30/2014 8:52 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

New Mexicans want to know where Tesla is going to build its huge battery factor because 6500 jobs will be created. New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Nevada and California are all in the running.

Tesla enthusiasts are buzzing over claims that a rendering of the company’s proposed Gigafactory could reveal where it’s planning to put it.

A blogger for says the company’s mockup, released in March, bears a striking resemblance to an aerial photo of an airport in Nevada. But some who are watching the situation closely say conclusions drawn from the photo likely depend on perspective.

The article, “Gigafactory image based on Reno Airport,” has sparked the latest in a series of speculations over where the Gigafactory will end up.

“Everybody wants to know everything about Tesla and today a report came out that said the original rendering of the Gigafactory which is the big thing everyone wants to land in their city, that the original Gigafactory rendering looks like Reno, Nevada,” Albuquerque Business First reporter Dan Mayfield said.

But Mayfield, who’s covered Tesla since it started eyeing New Mexico, says when the image was first released, people also compared it to Mesa del Sol and Albuquerque’s west side.

“Our media partners at our sister paper in Phoenix said it looks just like a site they have in Mesa Arizona! And our sister paper in Austin said it looks just like a site in Austin that we've got,” Mayfield said.

But Mayfield said the revealing part of the photo is the wind power and solar panels visualized.

“The rendering itself shows not only the factory but wind power and solar panels that Elon Musk really needs and really wants to power the factory. That stuff is really important to him and Arizona and Texas have not had a great record with renewable power,” Mayfield said. “They've not been supporters of renewable power, specifically wind and solar. Nevada and New Mexico have been, and for me, the big takeaway is that if you want to build a factory with solar panels and with wind power New Mexico and Nevada are the two states that are most likely to be welcoming of that.”

Mayfield says with the company expected to break ground on the plant next month, the two final contenders could be released sometime in the next two weeks.

Tesla plans to break ground at two sites. They’re using one as a back-up just in case, since they need the factory to be finished by 2017 to meet the demand for mass-market cars. Tesla wants to sell a $30,000 “Model E” that some are already calling the “Camry Killer.”

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