Our "Global Innovator of the Year" Announces Nevada Gigafactory

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Why Are These Men Smiling? From Left: Brian Sandoval, Governor of Nevada, Steve Hill, Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and Elon Musk CEO of Tesla Motors. Photo: Getty Images.

Nevada hit the clean-energy economy jackpot yesterday when Tesla Motors revealed that it will build its gigafactory—one of the most anticipated assembly plants of all time—near Reno.

The plant represents an estimated USD$100 billion in economic impact for the state, plus 6,500 jobs. Nevada beat out rivals California, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico—which were also vying for the contract—with a USD$1.25 billion 20-year tax incentive package.

Industry watchers expect the gigafactory will bring battery storage costs down to $100/kWh—a greater than 30 percent cost reduction—that will in turn make electric vehicles more competitive with internal-combustion cars. It will supply enough batteries for a half-million vehicles each year.

The cheap battery power and massive capacity increase will help drive sales of the company’s planned $35,000 Tesla Model 3, with a 200 mile battery range, expected in three or four years.

In the weeks ahead, we’ll be releasing Tracking the Energy Revolution – Global, a new graphical report that paints a vivid picture of how the world is steadily reducing its dependence on the fossil fuels that cause climate disruption, and instead embracing clean and renewable energy sources and other solutions.

In the report, we name Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk our Global Innovator of the Year. Here’s what we say:

He’s a blend of Steve Jobs design perfectionism and Henry Ford business savvy, with a dash of Gene Roddenberry prescience. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, who is also the chair of SolarCity—the largest firm in the business of bolting panels on U.S. homes and businesses—is perhaps the most influential and disruptive business figure on the global clean energy scene. His company’s all-electric Model S sedan earned the highest score Consumer Reports ever awarded, a five-star crash-test rating, and a Car of the Year trophy from Motor Trend. And like a 21st century Henry Ford, he’s embracing vertical supply-chain integration, building a colossal Gigafactory that will supply his assembly plants with lithium-ion batteries. Meanwhile, under his direction, SolarCity will build the largest solar panel assembly plant in the United States. Oh, did we mention he builds rockets, too?

Keep an eye out for Tracking the Energy Revolution – Global. And congratulations, Nevada!


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