When Tesla Motors negotiated with the state of Nevada to build its battery factory in the desert east of Reno, the state government agreed to give the automaker up to $1.3 billion in tax incentives over 20 years to build the $5 billion project.
But the deal came with several requirements the company needs to meet to get access to the tax breaks. Most of which have to do with employment – Tesla is expected to create up to 6,500 jobs through the Gigafactory once it operates at full capacity in 2020 – but a lesser known requirement was for Tesla to invest in educational research in the state and this week the company fulfilled the commitment by signing an agreement to invest $1 million in battery research with the University of Nevada in Las Vegas (UNLV) over the next 5 years. Local newspapers reported on the signing ceremony taking place Wednesday afternoon with Tesla and UNLV representatives as well as Governor Sandoval.
Sandoval commented on the deal:
“It brings it all together. It brings North and South together. It brings cutting-edge technology together with cutting-edge research at this university.”
The Governor said Tesla not only delivered on its promises but exceeded them.
Tom Piechota, UNLV’s interim vice president for research and economic development, said that most of the research under the agreement will be proprietary to Tesla and the university and the deal also includes helping the company study “manufacturing, water treatment, recycling and the behavior of certain metal materials”.
The research is geared toward Tesla’s development and manufacturing of batteries at the Gigafactory, which should start production in the spring of 2016 and could reduce the cost of batteries for electric vehicles by as much as 50%.