In a surprise to no one, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is moving the EV company’s headquarters from Palo Alto, California to Austin, Texas, although he didn’t provide a timeframe for the move.
“I’m excited to announce that we’re moving our headquarters to Austin, Texas,” Musk told the company’s annual meeting, which was held at Giga Texas, while sporting a massive belt buckle reading “Don’t Mess With T” with the “T” being the Tesla logo.
Musk says a lack of space and the high cost of living for employees are the primary drivers for the move, but it doesn’t hurt that the company’s spending billions of dollars on a massive campus just outside Austin, Texas to build the Model Y and, eventually, the Cybertruck.
However, it’s not all bad news for California, he told shareholders last night.
“To be clear we will be continuing to expand our activities in California,” Musk said during the call. “Our intention is to increase output from Fremont and Giga Nevada by 50%. If you go to our Fremont factory it’s jammed.”
Signs all pointed southeast
Despite his commitment to grow the company’s Fremont, California plant in the future, the move isn’t necessarily a big shock to anyone paying attention.
The rumor mill started when during an earnings call Musk went off on California officials about the strict rules put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. During the call, he called them “fascist” and littered the rant with other less-than-kind profanity-laced expletives about the officials.
For anyone who thought it was just a temporary bit of frustration from an executive who can occasionally act like a spoiled child when he doesn’t get his way, Musk followed it up in May 2020 when angry with local government officials in California in May 2020, said he’d had enough and was going to relocate the company’s non-manufacturing operations to the Lone Star State.
“Frankly, this is the final straw,” he tweeted on Saturday. “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(t) on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.”
Blasting off in Starbase
In addition to the times he mentioned he wanted to move the company, he personally moved to Texas last year. He sold nearly all of his California properties and moved into a $50,000 prefabricated house on the grounds of SpaceX.
He also took over much of the town of Boca Chica, Texas for SpaceX and renamed it Starbase.
“My primary home is literally a ~$50k house in Boca Chica / Starbase that I rent from SpaceX,” he tweeted in June. “It’s kinda awesome though. Only house I own is the events house in the Bay Area. If I sold it, the house would see less use, unless bought by a big family, which might happen some day.”
The growth of SpaceX requires Musk, known for being very hands-on at all of his businesses, to focus heavily on the rocket company’s operations. By shifting EV company’s non-automotive ops to Texas would make it easier for him to spend at each location and get to either quickly if needed.