- Tesla will build its newest factory in Austin, Texas, the company said Wednesday.
- Austin, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and other cities had fiercely competed in recent months to win the $1 billion investment.
- Eventually the plant will make Tesla’s Cybertruck and hire up to 5,000 workers, the company said.
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It’s official — Tesla’s fourth car factory, its second in the US, will be in Austin, Texas.
CEO Elon Musk made the announcement on Tesla’s second-quarter earnings call Wednesday after a fierce bidding process that also involved Tulsa, Oklahoma, and other cities. In the end, however, Travis County and a local school district’s deal for more than $65 million in tax rebates over 10 years won over the electric-car maker.
“It’s going to be right near Austin,” Musk said, “five minutes from Austin International Airport and about 15 minutes from downtown Austin.”
What is currently a concrete plant on a rural swath of land in the city’s southeast quadrant airport will soon be home to a 5 million-square-foot plant for Tesla’s Cybertruck, Semi truck, and Model 3 and Y. The company said it hoped to hire up to 5,000 workers at a starting wage of $15 an hour for many of the low-skill manufacturing roles.
The land is an “ecological paradise” along the Colorado River, Musk said, and will remain open to the public for recreation opportunities.
But the decision wasn’t without controversy, as with most tasks undertaken by Tesla and Musk. At a series of public meetings, citizens turned out in force to remind county commissioners of past legal issues the company’s had in regard to labor relations, worker safety, unions, and environmental impact.
In Austin, Tesla will join a large and entrenched cohort of high-tech companies that began to flock to the area in the 1970s led by Dell, IBM, and 3M. As companies continued to pour in over recent decades, the city has experienced skyrocketing population growth. A business-friendly climate with no state income tax for residents and a wealth of educated workers have made it a fitting home for hundreds of companies, both tech imports and home-grown enterprises alike.
Tesla’s market valuation continues to skyrocket as the company slowly ramps up annual production. While it’s easily the most valuable automaker, it produces just a fraction of the vehicles sold by Detroit’s old guard, including Ford and General Motors. That could soon change if current rates hold and Austin joins the likes of Berlin, Shanghai, and Fremont, California.
Oklahoma officials, while disappointed to not win the factory, said they were looking forward to supporting Tesla suppliers given the state’s close relationship with Texas.
“Over the past few months, Tulsans and Oklahomans as a whole showed the nation and the world that our state is worthy of being one of two finalists for an innovative, cutting-edge company like Tesla,” Gov. Kevin Stitt said in a statement. “The comprehensive effort made by the State of Oklahoma, the City of Tulsa and the Tulsa Regional Chamber proves Oklahoma remains open for business and an ideal destination for the automotive industry despite today’s announcement.”
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