Tesla Gigafactory isn't yet living up to Nevada's expectations

The mammoth battery plant in Reno, Nevada is getting built, but the jobs it promised in return for tax breaks are yet to materialize.

Tesla
Tesla Gigafactory

Once it's fully up and running, Tesla's Gigafactory should eliminate battery-supply concerns for the automaker's current and forthcoming electric vehicles.

Photo by Tesla

Tesla made a raft of promises when it accepted a hefty tax-incentive package to build its Gigafactory battery plant just outside Reno, Nevada. While the building itself is coming together ahead of schedule, one Reno newspaper discovered that other parts of the deal have yet to live up to the government's expectations.

The Reno Gazette-Journal crunched some numbers, and it discovered that several projections are missing the mark. The Gigafactory, built in partnership with Panasonic, was supposed to produce 700 permanent jobs by the end of 2015, for example. In reality, fewer than 100 have been hired. The company's payroll for the project was expected to be $40 million in that same time frame. Currently, that figure is sitting at $2.9 million.

The Gigafactory itself might not be complete, but approximately 20 percent of its 1-million-square-foot facility is already up and running. The newspaper notes that the company is already building Powerwall home-storage batteries, and production will only speed up as more square footage becomes usable.

Tesla won't get off scot-free if it isn't able to hold up its end of the bargain. If the company is unable to deliver on its promises, it will eventually be forced to pay back the taxes it skipped. Considering the full bill would be north of $1 billion, Tesla has a vested interest in not seeing that happen.

The factory itself is clearly not vaporware, but Tesla is having trouble at the moment proving that other parts of the project amount to little more than hot air.

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