Tesla Motors announced today that four states are vying to be the site of its new lithium-ion battery factory. If media coverage prior to the official company reveal is any indication, New Mexico will trump Texas, Arizona and Nevada.
A search of Critical Mention yields strong clues about the location for the massive manufacturing plant, which Tesla CEO Elon Musk has dubbed the “giga factory.”
TV stations in Albuquerque have mentioned New Mexico as the location of the factory 39 times in the past two weeks. No other local TV market has even a fraction of this coverage volume associated with Tesla’s planned factory.
KASA has referenced the giga factory three times; KOAT, 10 times; and KRQE, 26 times. The Albuquerque Journal appears to have started the frenzy on Feb. 15.
To date, the growth of Tesla was dependent on the availability of lithium ion, which itself is fairly limited throughout the world. Analysts predict that the cost saving measures and joint production ventures with an established manufacturer such as Panasonic will materially move the automotive and, perhaps, energy markets.
This is an especially important moment for Tesla, which this week saw its Model S ranked the best overall car by Consumer Reports. For a company that sold fewer than 23,000 cars last year, demand is expected to skyrocket and the new battery plant is needed before production can scale.
The first mention of the giga factory was in a November statement to Tesla shareholders in which Musk said it would be “something comparable to all lithium ion production in the world, in one factory.” The location was not disclosed.
The buzz continues to build, and media analysis points to New Mexico as the victor.