Electric car maker Tesla is moving its corporate headquarters out of California, CEO Elon Musk said on Thursday.
“We are moving our headquarters to Austin, Texas,” Musk said to cheers and loud applause during the electric carmaker’s annual shareholders meeting at its new auto factory under construction outside Austin.
Musk immediately assured that Tesla was not leaving its car factory in California or Fremont. “We will continue to expand our activities in California,” Musk said.
Musk said Tesla plans to “expand in Fremont” and increase production there by 50%.
“If you go into our Fremont factory, it’s jammed,” said Musk, wearing a black T-shirt and black scarf and tied white chairs on a raised black stage above rows of people. are standing on. “It’s like, ‘Whoa.’ When we first went there it was like we were like a kid in their parents’ place. Now we’re like Spam in a can. How do we put more stuff in there?”
Musk and his company fought hard with Alameda County over coronavirus-related restrictions, which shut down Fremont production for nearly two months. Tesla reopened the factory in violation of health orders – and the reopening saw hundreds of infections among its employees. The company also sued the county in May 2020 but dropped the lawsuit less than two weeks later.
While discussing plans to boost Fremont production and move the headquarters to Texas, Musk balked at the high-profile Bay Area crisis.
“It is difficult for people to buy a house,” he said. “And a lot of people have to come from far away. We’re taking that as far as possible, but there’s a limit to how big you can scale in the Bay Area.”
Musk said Tesla “plans to continue expanding in California, but even more here in Texas.”
The new Austin-area plant is five minutes from an airport and 15 minutes from downtown, next to the Colorado River, Musk said, promising an “ecological paradise.”
Ironically, the move would put the company’s headquarters inside a state that doesn’t allow it to sell its cars directly to consumers, as Tesla usually does. Business Insider reports that the company must ship its cars outside of Texas to sell to Texas buyers due to state law that prohibits direct sales to consumers.