The desert Southwest is the ideal place to build lithium-ion batteries like those Tesla Motors Inc. uses in its cars because of its dry weather, according to experts in the technology.
Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla is searching for a site in five states including Arizona for a massive battery factory on 500 to 1,000 acres of land that would employ 6,500 people. The company expects to select a primary site and break ground next month.
Besides the proximity to its Fremont, Calif. car factory, the region is a good match for battery production. One of the biggest concerns with making the expensive battery packs that keep Tesla’s cars moving more than 200 miles per charge is keeping humidity out of the factory, said Dan Buttry, chairman of the Arizona State University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.