Tesla Officially Moving to Texas, Elon Musk Confirms Austin HQ

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk has officially announced that his company would be moving house this week. Currently nestled upon the bosom of Silicon Valley in Palo Alto, CA, the automaker has expressed its intent to establish a new base of operations in Austin, TX. While this situation has been a long time coming, it’s not quite the prompt walkout that everyone was predicting 17 months ago.

At the start of the pandemic, Musk found himself at odds with local officials pushing strict COVID lockdowns. The CEO had wanted to keep the all-important Fremont facility up and running at the start of 2020, suggesting workers could simply choose to stay home without there being any negative repercussions (or pay). Told again to shut down, Tesla sued Alameda County on the grounds that its orders were unconstitutional and violated a return-to-work mandate recently issued by Governor Gavin Newson. Before long, Elon Musk was openly confessing he was fed up with the state of California and would be relocating the business. 

“The unelected [and] ignorant ‘Interim Health Officer’ of Alameda [County] is acting contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms [and] just plain common sense,” Musk tweeted in May of 2020. “Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately.”

While the CEO found new allies in the state, ire from some Californian officials grew to a point where it became routine to see them cursing him out online. But the fracas also encouraged the State of Texas to start talking business. Musk had previously hinted that he was interested in building a facility there and Lone Star State began offering bigger tax breaks and less regulation than what would be allowed in California.

One year later, the courtship appeared to have paid off. News broke that Tesla was quietly launching projects in Texas via its Gambit Energy Storage subsidiary and everyone started to wonder how long before the brand abandoned its coastal home.

But it’s not going to be Texas Or Bust. Despite Elon Musk’s prolonged spell of crapping on the state that has been Tesla’s home since its founding in 2003, he noted that the company will continue operations there. Freemont Assembly (which currently manufactures the Model S, Model 3, Model X, and Model Y) will remain active, with the CEO stating that Tesla hopes to expand its production capacity by 50 percent. The same was said of its Nevada Gigafactory.

Truth be told, the taxation and regulatory situation probably plays a much larger role than anyone wants to admit. Elon may not like Californian politics, but the automaker has a vested interest in the Golden State and sells the brunt of its product there. There’s little reason to burn a bridge when you’ll be the one that has to pay for it.

“We will continue to expand our activities in California,” he told investors on Thursday, “This is not a matter of Tesla leaving California.”

There’s no reason to doubt him on the claim. In addition to repeated expansions of the Fremont plant, Tesla recently broke ground on a new facility based in Lathrop, CA. The site will be responsible for constructing the company’s new Megapacks, which it believes will catapult it into the burgeoning energy storage business. But Tesla’s new headquarters will be in Austin and likely to keep future investments allocated somewhere between America’s coastlines.

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