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Tesla eyes Nevada for new plant

DETROIT – Electric car maker Tesla Motors says it is preparing a site near Reno, Nevada, as a possible location for its new battery factory, but is still evaluating other locations.

In a statement, Tesla said it broke ground on the Nevada site in June, and added that it will decide on the final location for the $5 billion factory in the next few months.

California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas are also in the running for the factory. Competition is intense for the plant, which Tesla says could employ 6,500 people by 2020.

Tesla wants the factory to supply batteries for its Model 3 electric car, which is set to go on sale in 2017.

Thursday, Tesla and Panasonic Corp. announced that they will collaborate on the battery factory.

Southwest endingdeal with SeaWorld

Southwest Airlines and SeaWorld Entertainment are ending their 25-year-old marketing partnership, officials with both companies said, as the airline has been urged by animal rights activists to terminate the relationship.

The partnership won't be renewed at the end of the year when the current contract expires.

As part of the partnership, three Southwest airplanes had various SeaWorld animals painted on their bodies. Those planes will be painted over to Southwest's traditional look. Sea­World also had Southwest signs in its parks, and Southwest offered vacation packages to SeaWorld, as it does to other tourist destinations. The vacation packages will continue.

SeaWorld officials said Thursday the decision was mutual.

Lexus to sponsor Colorado bike race

Lexus has signed a two-year contract to sponsor the USA Pro Cycling Challenge as part of a move by the luxury automaker to get more involved with the sport on a global basis.

Lexus will become the official vehicle of the Colorado stage race, which begins Aug. 18 in Aspen. It also will provide a three-year lease of one of its hybrids to the winner and become the presenting partner for the jersey awarded to the race's top sprinter.

Lexus also announced Thursday that it will provide 125 cars for the race-day caravans.

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