Tesla may consider land in south Dallas for its giant battery factory

Posted Friday, Jul. 11, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Tesla Motors may be considering a 700-acre site in southern Dallas County as a location for a $5 billion battery factory.

However, the site is one of dozens that have been submitted to Tesla for review, and the electric-car maker is still months away from any decision.

“We are looking at a bunch of different locations and have not confirmed anything,” said Tesla spokeswoman Alexis Georgeson.

The site off Interstate 45 in southern Dallas County emerged this week as one of the locations.

The Dallas Business Journal says it is part of 4,000 acres on either side of Interstate 45 owned by Prime Rail Interests of Colleyville.

Until now, San Antonio was considered the front-running area in Texas, one of at least four states vying for the factory, which would employ up to 6,500 people.

Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico have also been identified as finalists for the plant. Some industry observers believe Nevada may be the favorite.

The automaker’s home state of California also has expressed interest in bidding for the factory.

Though attractive as a right-to-work state, Texas continues to irritate Tesla with its refusal to allow the company to sell vehicles here directly without dealerships. Direct car sales are allowed in California.

The proposed factory would supply lithium-ion batteries for Tesla’s electric vehicles.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said he wants to cut the base $70,000 price of a Model S sedan by at least 30 percent partly by increasing the supply of lithium-ion batteries. Batteries are one of the most expensive components of electric cars.

Musk has said no decision will be made on a site for the 10 million-square-foot factory until the end of the year.

In addition, Tesla may break ground on two or three potential sites before a final decision is made “just to keep the process moving,” Georgeson noted.

Tesla is planning at least two more models of electric vehicles, including a more affordable, midsize sedan.

The company wants to increase its annual sales from about 22,400 vehicles in 2013 to 500,000 in the next few years, and an adequate battery supply is critical to that ambitious goal.

Electric-powered vehicles are a tiny niche in the auto industry today, accounting for less than 1 percent of sales.

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