Construction of Tesla’s $5 billion lithium-ion plant near Reno, NV, is ahead of schedule and will open within a year, the state’s economic development director said.
The electric car maker has hired more than 740 construction workers since last fall to work on the gigafactory, which will produce batteries for use in the 200-mile Tesla Model 3 electric car. The facility also will house the manufacturing of battery packs for Tesla’s Powerwall, the energy-storage system for use by homes, businesses and electric utilities that homebuilders are watching carefully as its potential as an upsell in new homes becomes clearer.
Meanwhile, demand for those battery packs has exceeded the company’s projections, Tesla CEO Elon Musk reported during the company’s quarterly conference call with investors.
Although Tesla so far has just 12 full-time employees in Nevada, the local economic impact of what will be the world’s largest lithium-ion battery plant is already becoming evident.
Tesla has said the factory eventually will employ 9,000 people, and Bloomberg last week reported that some of them have started relocating to Reno and buying homes there. The median home price in May jumped 19% from a year earlier. Commercial and rental real estate prices also have surged.
Bloomberg estimated that over 20 years, the factory will spur $97 billion in economic activity.