Tesla announces $3.6 billion investment to manufacture electric semi-trucks in Sparks

By Gabby Birenbaum

The Nevada Independent

Tesla intends to invest $3.6 billion in Sparks battery and electric truck manufacturing to expand the company’s footprint and the clean energy industry in Nevada, the White House said Tuesday.

The Sparks facility will ramp up production of the Tesla Semi, an all-electric Class 8 semi-truck. When CEO Elon Musk announced his third-quarter results in October, he set himself the goal of producing 50,000 semi-finished products annually by 2024.

Gov. Joe Lombardo (R-NV) and White House infrastructure chief Mitch Landrieu hailed the announcement as a testament to the strengths of their respective administrations. Landrieu called Tesla’s investment part of a “manufacturing boom in President Biden’s first two years” that will bring more than 3,000 jobs to the Reno-Sparks area.

“This announcement is the latest of more than $300 billion in private sector investment in clean energy and semiconductor manufacturing announced since the president took office,” Landrieu said in a statement. “It will create more than 3,000 high-paying jobs in Nevada and help America lead in clean energy manufacturing, strengthen our energy security and ultimately lower costs for families.”

The Tesla investment would be the second in the region. In 2014, then Governor. Brian Sandoval brought the electric vehicle giant to northern Nevada through tax incentives worth an estimated $1.25 billion over 20 years. The result – Storey County’s Tesla Gigafactory – is one of only five such Tesla facilities in the world.

According to a 2022 report by the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), the Gigafactory has employed more than 18,000 Nevadans in construction jobs and battery production.

Tesla has not applied for any tax incentives for its new project, according to GOED. Nevada law automatically provides tax credits and rebates for qualifying projects in which the capital investment exceeds $3.5 billion over 10 years, as long as 50 percent of the employees are Nevada residents and the company meets certain wage and health insurance requirements .

The size of the new investment seems reasonable.

Lombardo touted the Tesla announcement – which he described as a new facility – in his state-of-the-state speech on Monday as evidence of his administration’s pro-business stance.

“Whether it’s closing the lithium cycle, unlocking innovation and investment in logistics, entertainment, science and technology, or embracing entrepreneurship, the message is that Nevada is ready to partner,” Lombardo said.

Lombardo promised to attend the announcement as well. His office has not yet confirmed whether he actually attended or stated what tax breaks the company will receive.

Landrieu, meanwhile, viewed Tesla’s investment as a win for the Biden administration’s clean energy efforts, particularly in funding electrification and manufacturing of vehicles through the bipartisan Infrastructure Act. The legislation earmarks $2.8 billion for processing and manufacturing battery materials — nearly $120 million has already been given to Nevada companies — and $7.5 billion for building a network of electric vehicle charging stations .

Tesla CEO Elon Musk appeared in Nevada in December to unveil the all-electric tractor-trailer his company will build to ship to customer PepsiCo and to announce Tesla’s deployment of the vehicles between Nevada and its Fremont, California facility.

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