More than a year after his outburst on Twitter about moving major operations out of Fremont, California, Tesla's CEO Musk has finally confirmed the move. However, his stance also softened with time. He announced that the Fremont factory will not only be retained but its production capacity will be enhanced by up to 50 percent, at the annual shareholder's meeting.
Last year, as the U.S. grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic and companies in California were ordered to keep operations shut, Musk took to Twitter to call the health officer of Alameda county, "ignorant" and said that he was acting against "Constitutional freedoms," before announcing that the company would move to Texas immediately.
Frankly, this is the final straw. 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 dependen on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2020
The lawsuit was dropped the same month after the company received permission to resume operations, but Musk was still going ahead with the move.
Speaking at the annual shareholder's meeting held at Giga Factory in Texas, Musk pointed out cheaper housing for its employees and lower taxes in Texas. BBC reported that tech companies Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, and carmaker Toyota are others who have moved to Texas from California. The western state has stronger labor laws along with less stringent regulation, and cheaper labor in Texas is also likely to have influenced this decision.
Austin's NPR station, KUT 90.5 reported that the company displayed a Texas-style logo immediately after the announcement, with words "Don't Mess With" under the company's T-shaped logo. While this does look like last year's incident has not been forgotten by the company and its CEO, Musk clarified the situation as: "It is not a matter of Tesla leaving California." He added that the company was looking forward to increasing its output from the Fremont factory by another 50 percent.
Musk's other company, SpaceX currently has its headquarters in Hawthorne, California, along with a production facility and test site that is called Starbase on the southeastern tip of the state. Over the past year, Musk has downsized tremendously and moved into a 400 square feet (37.16 square meters) apartment near Starbase, according to Forbes.
KUT also reported Musk was in Austin in February of 2021 when the state faced a blackout. "I was actually ... in a house with no electric, no power, no heating, no internet, couldn't actually even get to a food store," Musk said. It is hardly a surprise that he wants to supply power to the state in the near future.