Tesla begins making battery cells at Nevada 'gigafactory'

TESLA GIGAFACTORY

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Tesla Motors says it has started producing lithium-ion battery cells at its $5 billion factory in Nevada.

The company says it began making high-performance cells in December and production started Wednesday for cells used in Powerwall energy storage products.

Tesla plans to start making batteries for its Model 3 sedans later this year.

The massive Gigafactory outside Sparks is coming online in phases, with a goal of full operation in 2018.

Officials say it could almost double the world's production of lithium-ion batteries, making them more affordable as the company looks beyond the luxury niche market.

The electric carmaker says it has more than 850 full-time employees, plus more than 1,700 construction workers.

Nevada has promised Tesla $1.3 billion in state tax incentives based on projections that it'll employ 6,500 people at full production.

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