Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Tesla gigafactory job creation slower than first projected


February 8, 2016
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Feb. 8, 2016 – Electric carmaker Tesla says its northern Nevada battery plant is creating jobs more slowly than first projected, although state officials say it is still making satisfactory progress.

A progress report issued this month by the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development said there were 272 people working at the Tesla and Panasonic factories at the end of the year. That’s lower than the 700 jobs initially projected for the end of 2015, according to a September 2014 report available to state lawmakers when they were deciding whether to approve a $1.3 billion tax incentive package for Tesla.

Economic development officials said the gigafactory has started shipping out battery packs and powerwalls, a product that stores power from solar panels so homeowners can use solar energy at night or when the sun isn’t shining.

“Tesla is making satisfactory progress toward meeting the investment requirements necessary to continue the support of the project,” economic development officials wrote, referring to state tax credits and other incentives offered when projects meet investment and job creation thresholds.

The Tesla package that lawmakers approved in 2014 laid the groundwork for another incentive package cleared in 2015 for electric carmaker Faraday Future. State officials said the $335 million Faraday package, which includes infrastructure investments in North Las Vegas and tax incentives, is structured more conservatively than the Tesla deal to reflect that the company hasn’t yet brought a car to market and is more of an unknown quantity.

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— With files from Michelle Rindels, The Associated Press