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PALO ALTO (CBS/AP) — Electric car maker Tesla Motors says it is preparing a site near Reno, Nevada, as a possible location for its new battery factory, but is still evaluating other locations.
In a statement, Tesla says it broke ground on the Nevada site in June, and adds that it will decide on the final location for the $5 billion factory in the next few months.
California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas are also in the running for the factory. Competition is intense for the plant, which Tesla says could employ 6,500 people by 2020.
Palo Alto-based Tesla wants the factory to supply batteries for its Model 3 electric car, which is set to go on sale in 2017.
Earlier Thursday, Tesla and Panasonic Corp. announced that they will collaborate on the estimated $5 billion battery factory.
Under the agreement, Tesla will prepare, provide and manage the land and buildings, while Osaka-based Panasonic will manufacture and supply the lithium-ion battery cells and invest in equipment.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the factory will help Tesla reduce its battery costs by 30 percent. Tesla needs cheaper batteries in order to produce its mass-market Model 3, an electric car it’s developing that would cost around $30,000. Tesla hopes to have the Model 3 on the road by 2017. The company’s only current vehicle, the Model S sedan, starts at $70,000.
It remains powerful in Japan and some overseas markets in consumer products such as refrigerators, washing machines and batteries for gadgets.