Tesla, the electric vehicle and solar panel manufacturer, has announced plans to invest $3.6 billion in expanding its manufacturing capabilities in Nevada. The company intends to produce high volumes of semi-trucks and make enough cell batteries for 2 million light-duty vehicles annually in the state.
The project will expand an existing operation at the Truckee Reno Industrial Center, around 20 miles east of Reno-Sparks along the Interstate 80. This move brings the company closer to its goal of ramping up Tesla Semi production to make 50,000 trucks in North America by 2024.
The announcement of the expansion was made on Tuesday by Nevada Governor, Joe Lombardo, after he met with Tesla CEO, Elon Musk. In a tweet, Lombardo said, "This is an incredible investment in our state."
The White House also issued a statement, hailing the expansion as proof of a continued "manufacturing boom" since President Joe Biden took office two years ago.
Also read | Pakistan rupee reaches all-time low after devaluation
This news comes after Tesla reported record net income for the fourth quarter of 2020. The company earned $3.69 billion from October through December, an adjusted $1.19 per share.
This beat estimates of $1.13 that had been reduced by analysts, according to FactSet. Tesla's profit was 59% more than the same period a year ago. However, revenue for the quarter was $24.32 billion, which fell short of the $24.67 billion analysts expected.
Despite this, Musk stated that demand for Tesla products is strong and sales are constrained by production. He also confirmed that the company plans to produce high volumes of semi-trucks in Nevada and make enough cell batteries for 2 million light-duty vehicles annually.
This is a significant step in Tesla's plans to ramp up production of the Tesla Semi, a heavy-duty electric truck with a range of 500 miles per charge when pulling an 82,000-pound load.
Tesla first unveiled the Tesla Semi in November 2017 and announced plans to begin production in 2019. However, during the company's third-quarter earnings conference call in October 2020, Musk stated that the company's "Full Self-Driving" system was not quite ready to be driverless. Nevertheless, Tesla delivered its first electric semis to a PepsiCo facility in Nevada in December 2020.
The expansion in Nevada is not only significant for Tesla, but also for the state and the country as a whole. The company has already invested $6.2 billion in Nevada since 2014 and built the 5.4-million-square-foot "Gigafactory". The expansion will create 3,000 new jobs in the state, promoting clean energy and strengthening U.S. security.