Tesla Says Nevada Battery Plant On Track Despite Report of Delay

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Tesla Motor Inc (TSLA) said on Friday that construction of its giant $5 billion battery plant in Nevada remains on schedule despite a newspaper report saying the electric carmaker's project was delayed.

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The Reno Gazette-Journal earlier on Friday reported a project delay at the site, citing two union job postings.

"The project is progressing and the gigafactory is on schedule," Tesla spokeswoman Alexis Georgeson told Reuters. She added that Tesla is acting as project manager for the gigafactory and works with a number of companies and unions.

A national job board for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers updated its listing for "Project Tiger" - the initial code name for the factory - to indicate a change in demand for electricians, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.

"The Tiger project has been cut back by 80 percent at this time," the newspaper quoted the IBEW post as saying. "This is all subject to change."

A local branch of the union in Reno, Nevada, also posted a message about the plant on its job referral page, the paper said. "The major project in the area has been delayed at this time. Further updates will be posted as soon as we know more," the paper quoted a post by the IBEW Local 401 site as saying.

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Tesla told the Reno Gazette-Journal the project was on track and disputed reports of delays.

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said last month the company remains "on plan" to begin battery production in 2016 at the plant outside Reno.

A spokesman for the local IBEW union declined to comment to the Reno Gazette-Journal. An officer with the Building & Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada told the paper there had been a reduction in hours but declined further comment.

The paper said the common reason for the delay was a change in design plans for the plant. An unidentified source told the paper the situation is more of a short-term delay.

Barclays analyst Brian Johnson said in a research note on Monday, citing company regulatory filings, that most of Tesla's capital spending so far has been focused on the Model S sedan and the Model X SUV under development and little has been spent on the battery plant.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Paul Simao)