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What’s a Gigafactory? It’s where Tesla’s Model 3 will be built … in Reno, Nevada

Tesla has announced the front-running production site for its upcoming Model 3’s battery packs: the Biggest Little City in the World.

The location of the $5-billion Gigafactory, as Tesla has dubbed it, was teased in its second quarter shareholder letter this week. Tesla reportedly broke ground in Reno a month ago, but CEO Elon Musk hasn’t made a final decision yet.

“Consistent with our strategy to identify and break ground on multiple sites, we continue to evaluate other locations in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas,” he wrote. “The final site for the first Gigafactory will be determined in the next few months, once we have full visibility and agreement on the relevant incentives and processes for enabling the Gigafactory to be fully operational to meet the timing for Model 3.”

Elon Musk

The Model 3 is not-so-subtly aimed at BMW’s 3 series, and will reportedly have a range of around 200 miles. It is expected to go on sale by 2017 for a base price of approximately $35,000, making it Tesla’s cheapest model by far.

The lithium-ion battery cells are basically getting their own specialized factory, a choice which Musk defends in the name of efficiency and setback confinement.

With a separate plant, “Any potentially duplicative investments are minor, compared to the revenue that could be lost,” he explained.

‘Giga’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘giant,’ which makes sense when you read the planned specs of the Gigafactory: 10 million square feet, 6,500 employees, and countless robots. As it did with the Model S, tech mogul Panasonic will again play a major role in Tesla’s battery production process.

The Gigafactory will surely be a hotbed for ground-breaking car tech and striking production lines, so, if nothing else, it’s one reason to visit Reno.

Famous for its Casinos, Reno has long been known as Vegas for seniors. It is the home of the National Automobile Museum though, which houses a gold DeLorean as an exhibit.

OK, looks like there are two reasons.

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