Tesla battery factory courted by Tucson, Ariz.

Tesla recently announced plans for a lithium battery "gigafactory" and is considering four southwestern US states for its location. The city of Tucson has made a formal proposal to become the site of the Tesla giga plant.  

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/File
People arrive to hear Tesla Motors Inc CEO Elon Musk (not seen) demonstrate Tesla's new battery swapping program in Hawthorne, Calif. last June. Tucson, Ariz. has become the first city to submit a formal proposal to become the home of the automaker's planned lithium battery gigafactory.

Tesla Motors recently announced plans for a battery "Gigafactory," which is to provide enough lithium-ion cells to allow it to build a projected 500,000 electric cars per year by 2020.

That would require far more cells in its preferred format than last year's entire global production, hence the need for a massive U.S. factory.

The question is: Where will it be located?

While Tesla named several four states--Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas--one of them is now actively and publicly petitioning the automaker.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that Tucson is going after Tesla. The city has made a formal proposal to become the site of the giga plant, which is expected to employ 6,500 people.

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild told theStar that a site near local highways and the Union Pacific Railroad mainline has already been chosen, and that the city has prepared tax incentives on top of what the Arizona state government would offer to entice Tesla.

Tesla previously said the giant factory will cover 500 to 1,000 acres and will include every stage of battery cell and pack production. The price tag for the entire project is estimated at around $6 billion.

Notably absent from the planning process is California, home to Tesla's headquarters in Palo Alto and the assembly plant in Fremont that builds the Model S electric luxury sedan.

However, Tesla has said the Golden State is not in the running for the Gigafactory.

That may be because--while Tesla may have started there--Silicon Valley isn't ideal for green carmakers.

Strict environmental regulations make manufacturing anything difficult in California, and could make the world's largest lithium-ion cell plant a non-starter in the state.

The new battery packs built in the gigafactory are expected to go into Tesla's next-generation sedan and other future models.

Known for now as the Model E, the sedan will be significantly less expensive than current Teslas, partially due to the 30 percent reduction in cell cost per kilowatt-hour afforded by the massive plant.

A recent Navigant Research blog post also considers the idea that--rather than ship completed battery packs to the current factory--Tesla will bring the factory to the packs.

Once a site is selected, Tesla hopes to begin construction by the end of this year, with production launch and ramp-up starting during 2017.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.