Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Thursday that the company is moving its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Austin, Texas, where it has been building a new factory for a little more than a year.
Musk said Tesla will continue to operate its electric vehicle factory in Fremont, CA, and that he even plans to try and increase production there by 50 percent. “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.”
The relocation implies that Tesla’s headquarters will no longer be in the state where its automobiles are most popular; instead, Tesla will be located in a state where it is not legally permitted to sell its vehicles directly to consumers. “THIS IS NOT A PROBLEM WITH TESLA LEAVING CALIFORNIA.”
Musk had earlier threatened to withdraw Tesla’s whole operation out of California in 2020, citing his strong opposition to the state’s use of shelter-in-place measures to keep people safe early in the coronavirus pandemic. As a kind of protest, Tesla sued the county in which the company’s California manufacturing is located.
Musk relocated to Texas last year as SpaceX expanded its presence in the state’s southernmost region. At one time, Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated that he believed California had grown too “complacent” with its inhabitants and businesses.
Tesla began construction on its next US Gigafactory outside Austin in 2020 and has made amazing progress in the year since. “We’re going to construct an ecological paradise here… on the Colorado River,” the firm says, referring to how it aims to give up parts of the land it purchased to the public. Musk stated on Thursday that Tesla is considering other “large deployments” of battery storage, similar to the one initially reported by Bloomberg earlier this year.
Musk previously stated that Tesla chose Austin over other locations because its staff was more willing to relocate 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 under pressure to leave the state, following the passage of one of the most stringent anti-abortion laws in the country. Following the passage of the law, Texas Governor Greg Abbott highlighted Musk and Tesla as examples to demonstrate that this was not a trend in a CNBC interview. In September, Abbott stated that Musk “had to go out of California due, in part, of the social policies in California,” and that Musk “consistently tells me that he prefers 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.