LOS ANGELES – U.S. electric automaker Tesla Motors (IW 500/384) is set to build a new multibillion-dollar "Gigafactory" in Nevada, Sen. Harry Reid announced Thursday.
The plant, plans for which were announced in July with Japanese electronics giant Panasonic (IW 1000/41), will produce lithium-ion batteries for Tesla's cars. The location of the plant had not been previously confirmed.
"Later this afternoon [Tesla boss] Elon Musk and [Nevada] Governor Brian Sandoval will officially announce Nevada is the home to Tesla's new Gigafactory," Reid said during an address Thursday at a National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas. "Most importantly for Nevada, this factory will create thousands and thousands of good-paying jobs and be good for our economic development."
Tesla was due to hold a press conference in Reno, Nevada, on Thursday to unveil the plans.
The company said in July that it had opened a site in Nevada that could host the Gigafactory, but other locations were still being evaluated.
Tesla will run operations while its Japanese partner will make battery cells destined for the plant and invest in equipment and machinery, according to a joint statement released at that time.
Japanese media previously reported that Panasonic would invest as much as 30 billion yen ($290 million) in the plant.
While Tesla produces relatively few vehicles, it has become a star in the sector due to keen demand and a reputation for high quality. A surge in its share price over the past year has pushed its value over $27 billion.
Tesla's Model S sells for around $75,000, but the company is working on a less expensive Model X that is expected to garner wider appeal.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014