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PHOTO CAPTION: Steel framework goes up for Tesla gigafactory in Storey County, Nevada

Tesla Gigafactory Price Tag So Far: $53.1 Million

Reno Gazette-Journal adds up the numbers for all the building permits on file at Storey County Planning and Building Department, as well as contractor estimates.

Published: 18-Feb-2015

$53.1 million and counting. That's the total of all the building permits on file in Storey County, Nevada, as well as contractor estimates, for the construction of Tesla and Panasonic's 'gigafactory,' billed as the largest battery plant of its kind in the world when completed in 2017.

As the above photo, taken from a video shot in early January 2015 by Jason Hidalgo illustrates, fairly rapid progress is being made in assembling the steel framework for the plant. Not visible in the photo is the mandatory runoff catchment basin to the right, projected to cost around $1 million.

The Reno Gazette-Journal, which gathered the numbers from building permits for the project, some 15 of which have been filed since May 2014, estimates that contractors, which Tesla is overseeing itself, have had to shift some 5.3 million cubic yards of soil to create the platform for the factory, the construction of the basin, creation of roads and development of the construction trailer 'city' for workers. Creation of the plant pad alone is estimated at $16 million. When the plant is finished, its total cost has been estimated in the neighborhood of $5 billion.

In addition to turning out next generation lithium-ion cells for Tesla electric vehicles, including the forthcoming Model X and future Model 3, the company also announced that it is developing a residential-scale battery storage bank to store electric energy from rooftop solar panels.

Tesla chairman Elon Musk readily admits the project is a huge gamble, adding however...

"(The gigafactory) is a huge bet but I don't know of any other way to do it," Musk said. "The amount of batteries we need is so huge that somebody's got to build this thing and if we don't contribute a bunch of money to building it, I just don't see any other company doing that."

As for the Storey County, as of January, it has collected nearly a quarter of million dollars in permit fees off the project.

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