An old mining site east of the Austin Airport just got a major upgrade. 2,100 acres running two miles along the Colorado River is now chosen land for Tesla’s second U.S. assembly plant, one that CEO Elon Musk promises will be an “ecological paradise,” complete with hiking and biking trails open to the public. There, they will make the new Cybertruck, Semi, and Model 3 and Model Y vehicles bound for the east coast market. As bulletproof as the Cybertruck’s stainless steel, Tesla has defied the odds of an economic recession, pandemic slowdown, and the expectations of Wall Street, crossing the finish line in the second quarter of 2020 with a $104 million profit. Bolstered by the sale of regulatory tax credits, Tesla is officially on a winning streak, reporting their fourth-consecutive profitable quarter, a milestone for the Silicon Valley automaker. And now, they’re going big, Texas big.
Setting up shop in America’s largest market for pickups, Tesla’s launch of the Cybertruck in the Lone Star state is both symbolic and strategic. The only pickups built in Texas are the Toyota Tacoma and Tundra. The Cybertruck will be made of the same stainless steel as the Starship rocket Musk will one day take to Mars from SpaceX in Boca Chica, 370 miles south of Austin. While Mars may seem far away, Tesla’s shares are skyrocketing, up more than 5% in after-hours trading. Earlier this month, their market cap surpassed Toyota’s for the first time, making Tesla the world’s most valuable automaker.
Tesla is bringing that value straight to the people of Texas, planning to hire up to 5,000 workers at an average salary of $47,147 to run what will become a 4 to 5 billion square foot factory with at least a billion dollar initial investment. Governor Greg Abbott said: “Tesla’s Gigafactory Texas will keep the Texas economy the strongest in the nation and will create thousands of jobs for hard-working Texans.” Between Toyota in San Antonio and the new Austin plant, auto suppliers and auxiliary businesses are likely to grow right along with Tesla.
Texas was the winner among a long list of contenders, which at one point included “nearly every state East of the Rocky Mountains,” says Tesla’s senior global director of public policy, Rohan Patel. It came down to Texas and Oklahoma, who both made flashy moves to attract the investment. Oklahoma’s governor, Kevin 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.”