On Thursday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told investors that the US’s largest electric carmaker has moved its headquarters from California to Texas. In 2020, Musk personally relocated to Texas, which is home to SpaceX facilities and a new Tesla factory outside Austin. Now the Texas state capital will be the new official home of Tesla, too.
In 2020, Musk was at loggerheads with the California government in response to public health measures enacted to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 700,000 Americans. Musk was dismissive about the threat of COVID-19, predicting that infections would fizzle out by April 2020, and he was infuriated at having to temporarily close Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California—an act he described as “frankly… the final straw.”
Tesla filed and then dropped a lawsuit against Alameda County and then declared that the company would leave the state. Within days, Musk revealed that he had picked Texas for the site of Tesla’s next American factory. This week’s announcement finalizes that decision.
However, Tesla is not abandoning California entirely. The factory in Fremont is staying put, and Musk told investors that the plan is to increase output there by 50 percent, noting that “if you go to our Fremont factory, it’s jammed” but that “it’s tough for people to afford houses” in the region.
Despite Tesla’s move, the automaker is still prohibited by Texas law from selling its cars in the state, something that won’t change until 2023 at the earliest due to the part-time nature of the Texas Legislature. But Texans who suffered through freezing temperatures and the collapse of the state’s power grid in February might be in luck; Musk told investors that the company is talking to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) about a potential energy project, presumably using Tesla’s energy storage products.