Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, announced on Thursday that the firm is relocating its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Austin, Texas, where it has been building a new plant for just over a year.
Tesla’s electric vehicle factory in Fremont, California, will continue to operate, as said by Musk, who even plans to try to raise production there by 50%.
“Just to be clear, though, we will be continuing to expand our activities in California;” he said during the company’s annual shareholder meeting. “So this is not a matter of Tesla leaving California.”
Tesla’s headquarters will no longer be in the state where its automobiles are most popular; instead, it will be in a place where it is illegal to sell its cars directly to consumers.
Musk had previously threatened to move Tesla’s whole operations out of California in 2020, citing his strong opposition to the state’s use of shelter-in-place measures to keep people safe during the coronavirus pandemic’s early stages.
Tesla even sued the county that the company’s California factory is in as a form of protest.
Musk himself moved to Texas last year, as SpaceX dramatically increased its presence in the southern tip of the state.
The Tesla CEO said at one point that; he thought California had become too “complacent” with respect to its residents and businesses.
Tesla started building its next US Gigafactory outside Austin in 2020 and has made an incredible amount of progress in the intervening year. “We’re going to create an ecological paradise here.. on the Colorado River;” a reference to how the company plans to open up parts of the land it bought to the public.
Musk said Thursday that Tesla is also looking at doing more “major installations” of battery storage; like the one first reported by Bloomberg earlier this year.
Musk previously said that Tesla chose to build in Austin; over other locations because employees were more willing to move there.
“There’s a limit to how big you can scale it in the Bay Area,” Musk said Thursday; adding that “it’s tough for people to afford houses [in California].” Tesla’s Austin location is also right near the local airport, which Musk said is convenient.
Tesla will relocate to Texas at a time when many firms are feeling pressured to leave the state, following the passage of one of the country’s strictest anti-abortion laws.
During a CNBC interview after the bill was approved, Texas Governor Greg Abbott cited Musk and Tesla as an example to try to show that this was not a trend.
Abbott said in September that “Elon had to get out of California because, in part, of the social policies in California;” and that Musk “consistently tells me that he likes the social policies in the state of Texas.”
Musk responded to that clip in a tweet, saying he “believe[s] government should rarely impose its will upon the people; and, when doing so, should aspire to maximize their cumulative happiness.”
“That said, I would prefer to stay out of politics,” he added.
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