Tesla Motors, the electric carmaker, is planning to build its
giant battery factory in Nevada after a five-state competition, according to a source who asked not to be identified because the announcement has not been made.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has called a news conference for 7 p.m. ET Thursday in Carson City where the deal is expected to be announced.
Tesla had no official comment Wednesday on the pending announcement. Spokesman Simon Sproule said, "We continue to work with the state of Nevada."
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said previously that the winning state would be expected to provide a tax incentives worth about $400 million, a level that would require legislative action in Nevada. Sandoval has "conferred with legislative leaders" to call a special session early next week to consider a package for Tesla, reported the Reno Gazette-Journal, citing a source close to legislative leaders. The special session will likely last one or two days.
The so-called "Gigafactory" will make advanced batteries expected to power Tesla's next generation of electric cars, as well as have capacity to supply batteries for other carmakers and other battery users, such as utilities.Tesla and partner Panasonic have said they plan to spend $4 billion to $5 billion on the project and employ up to 6,500 at full production.
The plant has been one of the nation's most highly sought projects among state economic development officials.
Tesla recently confirmed that it has been excavating at an industrial park near Reno, but stopped short of saying that it had made it the final choice for plant.
In choosing Nevada, Tesla has picked a location just a few hundred miles from its main assembly plant in Fremont, Calif., and its nearby corporate headquarters in Palo Alto.
The announcement comes after a weekend in which California's legislature adjourned without acting on a bill that could have delivered economic incentives to try to lure Tesla into building the battery plant in the Golden State.
The other states named as contenders for the project were Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.
California state Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, who led the legislative charge to lure Tesla, said on Tuesday that the company was clearly trying to play the five states off each other to get the best deal. He questioned whether Tesla ever intended to strike a deal with California.
"They were sending a variety of different messages," he said. "Depending on what day you listened to what Tesla was saying, they were saying they'd like to get a deal done as soon as possible, or in six months, or by year's end."
Texas and its Gov. Rick Perry made a particularly strong effort to lure Tesla — and the company has indicated it may build a second battery factory.
Musk has said that the plant will enable the company to dramatically lower the cost of automotive-grade lithium-ion batteries, the biggest single cost fact in making an electric car.
Tesla has indicated it was on a tight schedule to get the plant up and running in time for start of production of its third model, the Model III, which is to be a lower-price vehicle aimed at mass-market buyers.
At present, Tesla's only product is the Model S luxury sedan with starting prices from about $75,000 to about $95,000 before government incentives. It's about to start production of an electric crossover, the Model X, but it too will be a high-end luxury vehicle.
Contributing: Sammy Roth of the The Desert Sun (Calif.) and Anjeanette Damon of the Reno Gazette-Journal