Tesla will build its next US factory in Austin, Texas, CEO Elon Musk announced today, wrapping up a months-long search for a location to build the upcoming Cybertruck. Construction work is “already underway,” Musk said. “It started this weekend.”
Tesla was recently granted tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks from both the county in Texas where the factory will be built and from a local school district. The company was also considering Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Musk said Tesla would “strongly consider” it for future projects.
The new factory in Texas will be open to the public, Musk said. “It’s going to basically be an ecological paradise.” In addition to the Cybertruck, Tesla will also build Model Ys and Model 3s destined for the East Coast, as well as the Tesla Semi, Musk said.
The site where Tesla is building the factory consists of about 2,100 acres of land east of the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, with about two miles of exposure to Texas’ Colorado river. It’s largely unused at the moment, though a sand and gravel mining company operates in the center of the development. In a June meeting with county officials, Tesla’s senior global director of public policy said this of the site:
The potential is just great for recreation, for beauty, and the vision of being able to potentially transform an old mining site into a sustainable factory with recreational opportunities — that’s just a vision that sits perfectly with our mission.
Tesla plans to hire up to 5,000 workers at an average salary of $47,147, with entry-level positions starting at $35,000. It will invest at least $1 billion in the factory.
“Tesla is one of the most exciting and innovative companies in the world, and we are proud to welcome its team to the State of Texas,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. “Texas has the best workforce in the nation and we’ve built an economic environment that allows companies like Tesla to innovate and succeed. Tesla’s Gigafactory Texas will keep the Texas economy the strongest in the nation and will create thousands of jobs for hard-working Texans. I look forward to the tremendous benefits that Tesla’s investment will bring to Central Texas and to the entire state.”
It’s currently unclear what, if any, promises Tesla received from the state of Texas for choosing to build in the Austin area.
Kevin Stitt, the governor of Oklahoma, said in a statement that he will be “actively recruiting Tesla’s supplier base to Oklahoma,” and that just being a finalist has raised the state’s profile.
“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,” Stitt said. “I wish Elon Musk and Tesla all the best. In fact, I wish them so much success they are forced to expand again, because I know just the place.”
Reached for comment Wednesday afternoon, Hector Nieto, the public information officer for Travis County, Texas, said that county officials had not been notified of any decision. “It’s like being invited to the prom with our dress and corsage on, but we’re still waiting for them to show up.”