Tesla is going to Texas.
The electric car company will move its headquarters out of Palo Alto, California to the Lone Star State, company CEO Elon Musk announced Thursday.
“I’m excited to announce we’re moving our headquarters to Austin, Texas,” Musk said during a shareholders meeting, eliciting applause.
“Just to be clear though, we will be continuing to expand our activities in California,” Musk added. “So this is not a matter of, sort of, Tesla leaving California.”
The company is still looking to increase output at its Fremont, California plant and a Nevada plant by 50 percent, the quirky billionaire said. But expansion opportunities are limited in the Golden State and the cost of living is an obstacle, he said.
“It’s tough for people to afford houses and a lot of people have to come in from far away,” Musk said. “We’re taking it as far as possible but there’s a limit to how big you can scale it in the Bay Area.”
The Austin factory will be five minutes from the airport and 15 minutes from the city’s downtown, he said.
Musk, also the leader of SpaceX, recently moved from California to Texas himself. His announcement of the HQ move comes a year after he first threatened to move Tesla to Texas or Nevada amid a fight with state health officials over COVID-19 restrictions.
The company was told it couldn’t reopen its factory last year when the coronavirus shutdown measures were still in effect.
“Frankly this is the final straw,” Musk said on Twitter at the time. “Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependent on how Tesla is treated in the future.”
He then defied lockdown orders and ordered restarting production in California until officials agreed to reopen the company’s facilities with safety measures in place.