Yesterday, we brought you news that groundworks at a top-secret site allegedly being developed as Tesla’s first Gigafactory battery processing facility was under way in Reno, NV. After hiring what appears to be large numbers of workers to carry out ground work at the Taho-Reno Industrial Centre, work on the site has reportedly been running seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day.
What’s more, said Reno local Bob Tregilus, there was little doubt among people working there that the new project was part of a ‘big battery factory project’ and that the end client was none other than Tesla Motors (TSLA).
But overnight we’ve received reports from multiple sources in Reno claiming that the site has been either temporarily or indefinitely closed, and the workers laid off.
One woman, who commented to our original story and posted a similar message on her personal Facebook page, says Tesla is the client behind the site.
“My husband, nephew and a couple friends were all working on that project 12hour days 7 days a week for the last month on it,” she told us in an email earlier today. “All the people I know who were working on the project were let go today. I truly wish it wasn’t true, we need those jobs.”
Sources in Reno tell us that it was known that the site was operating behind schedule, alleging that the contractor missed all of the “major milestones” set in place by the unconfirmed client. While this alone does not confirm the validity of the story, the unconfirmed reports of a mass worker layoff does seem plausible if the contractor lost their contract due to being behind schedule.
“There will be some busy work while all the contractors wrap up their books and move equipment, but my hubby says there are now signs on the gate that say “Closed Indefinitely,” our source said. “It was common knowledge among the workers that Tesla was behind the project in some shape or form.”
On hearing the developing news, our correspondent Bob Tregilus went back out to the supposed Gigafactory site at 1am local time to see if he could substantiate the story further. Unlike his last night-time visit where the site was fully illuminated and work was continuing through the night, this time he found a dark, quiet site. In fact, he tells us, the only light he saw was from the lone security guard who turned on his vehicle’s lights as Tregilus approached. Due to the low light levels, Tregilus was unable to confirm the presence of any “closed” signs on the gate.
At this point — especially being early morning local time — we’ve been unable to substantiate this story any further and so must reiterate that it is for now just a rumor. However, we’re working hard clarify the story and of course, we’ve reached out to the relevant bodies for comment.
We’ll be discussing the story further on Today’s Transport Evolved News Panel Show, so be sure to tune in live at 5pm BST for the latest developments in this intriguing story.