Elon Musk has announced that Tesla will move its headquarters from California to Texas, following through on a threat he had hinted at for several months.
This will be the third California based automaker to shift HQ east after Nissan moved to Tennessee some years ago and Toyota, more recently, to Texas.
The company has been building a new plant in Austin and the CEO confirmed the move in a shareholder meeting, the Guardian reported. He gave no timeline, however, and said the EV maker would keep expanding its manufacturing capacity in California, where it occupies the old (GM/Toyota joint venture) NUMMI plant in Fremont, near San Francisco.
Musk reportedly noted the cost of housing in the Bay Area – also home to Google and Apple – had made it tough for many people to become homeowners which translated into long commutes. Last year, tech company Oracle decided to move its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Austin, saying the move would give its employees more flexibility about where and how they work.
“We’re taking it as far as possible, but there’s a limit how big you can scale it in the Bay Area,” he said, according to the Guardian. “Just to be clear, though, we will be continuing to expand our activities in California. This is not a matter of leaving California.”
Musk stressed he plans to expand the factory where Model S and Model X cars are built, in hopes of increasing its output by 50%.
The announcement drew cheers and applause from a small audience at Tesla’s manufacturing plant in Austin, where Musk delivered his remarks, which were webcast live.
The Guardian said Musk touted the company’s record vehicle deliveries this year, while noting that global supply chain disruptions that have led to a shortage of computer chips remain a challenge.
“It looks like we have a good chance of maintaining that into the future,” he said. “Basically, if we get the chips, we can do it.”
Production of Tesla’s angular Cybertruck pickup isn’t likely to begin before the end of 2022, Musk said, estimating that the company would reach “volume” production on the vehicle in 2023.
The Guardian noted Musk had publicly clashed with California officials several times throughout the pandemic over local restrictions that halted production at the Fremont factory. Musk said earlier in the year that he was spending less time in California and had already relocated to Texas himself.