After filing Travis County site plans, Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks to new gigafactory’s place in the company

A photo of Elong Musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk gave an update on the company at the annual shareholders meeting Sept. 22. (Courtesy Tesla)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk gave an update on the company at the annual shareholders meeting Sept. 22. (Courtesy Tesla)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk spoke briefly on the development progress at the electric carmaker’s Travis County gigafactory at Tesla’s annual shareholders meeting Sept. 22. The upcoming gigafactory, referred to by Musk as “Giga Texas,” is developing quickly, Musk said at the meeting, several weeks after initial site plans were filed with Travis County.

Musk delivered his update on Tesla’s progress in the last fiscal year to a sea of his own company’s cars, occupied by shareholders, in Fremont, California, where Tesla is headquartered. A chorus of celebratory beeps were emitted in lieu of applause from the crowd when Musk mentioned Giga Texas.

Tesla is also currently constructing factories in Shanghai and Berlin. Building factories on numerous continents, Musk said, would boost the company financially, as would additional facilities in North America.

“For Giga Texas in Austin, even if we [manufactured] exactly the same cars as in California, it would still be advantageous to do it there because it’s roughly two-thirds of the way across the U.S., so in terms of delivering cars to the central U.S. and to the East Coast, it’s faster and costs less, and it fundamentally improves our economics,” Musk said.

Tesla has announced the southeastern Travis County factory will produce the new Cybertruck—for which Musk said Tesla has already received around 600,000 orders—and the Model Y car. Site plans filed with the county outline a 7.9 million-square-foot manufacturing facility. The current site plans account for development on 280 acres of the 2,100-acre property Tesla purchased at the intersection of SH 130 and Harold Green Road.

Significant site-clearing work has already taken place on the property, and Tesla representatives have said the facility could open as soon as the fourth quarter of 2021.

Musk did touch on one wrinkle presented by the factory’s location at the recent shareholders meeting: Tesla currently does not have the legal ability to sell cars in Texas due its direct-to-consumers sales model. Texas law bars auto manufactures from selling in the state through any method other than a franchised dealership. Tesla operates a number of showrooms in the state, but buyers have to complete transactions online.

“It is a bit weird not being able to actually conclude a transaction in Texas, but it's got to be like, you know, a click on a server based in California,” Musk said. “Hopefully that'll get cleared up in the future."
By Olivia Aldridge
Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Central Austin edition. A graduate of Presbyterian College in upstate South Carolina, Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio before joining Community Impact in Austin.


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