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It’s Official: Tesla Chose Texas for a New Factory

Back in May, Tesla’s plant in California was in the middle of a shutdown due to regional restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our team covered how that shutdown frustrated Elon Musk, Tesla’s head. He even went so far as to vent his frustrations about being in the state on Twitter. So, other states immediately started courting Tesla to provide an alternative to California. Now, it is official. The automaker will be creating a factory in Texas.

A white 2020 Model 3 is seen during the Vienna Car Show press preview at Messe Wien, as part of Vienna Holiday Fair
VIENNA, AUSTRIA – JANUARY 15: a 2020 Model 3 is on display | Photo by Manfred Schmid/Getty Images

Tesla is committed

This week, Tesla committed to building a $1.1 billion factory for the production of the Cybertruck, Semi truck, Model 3, and Model Y. According to a Reuters report, the plant will be built on a 2,000-acre location along the Colorado River. It will be situated roughly thirteen miles from Austin’s downtown area and employ at least 5,000 people. The announcement was made by Musk during the second-quarter earnings call for Tesla. 

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Oklahoma came in a close second

Texas won out over Oklahoma, who had also been courting Mr. Musk and Tesla. As recently as the beginning of July, Mr. Musk met with Governor, Kevin Stitt, to discuss how to bring the automaker to their state. As good as the presentation may have been, apparently, Texas had a greater appeal. However, Musk said that when it comes time to build another factory, Tulsa, Oklahoma, will again be looked at. 

“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,” – Greg Abbott, Texas Governor.

The Tesla Cybertruck

The Cybertruck was revealed in November of 2019 to much fanfare. Production is anticipated as starting in 2021 for the vehicle. It is an electric pickup truck that has a polarizing design. It has armored glass and a shape that is an amalgamation of the end-of-the-world, Mad Max, and futurism. Tesla has taken deposits on over 500,000 pickup orders, which is expected to get 250+ miles in range and start at $39,900 for the single motor version. 

Tesla Cybertruck
Tesla Cybertruck Concept intended for production in 2021 | Tesla

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The Tesla Semi

The Tesla Semi is an electric tractor-trailer. It was unveiled in 2017 and is expected to begin production at some time in 2021. The truck at that time had an expected range of 500 miles at max weight. But, battery technology has come a long way since then. So, that range may grow as production nears. The base price is anticipated at $150,000.

This is a rendering of a silver Tesla Semi electric tractor-trailer on a road along a mountain pass.
A silver Semi electric tractor-trailer on a road along a mountain pass | Tesla

The other models in the Tesla lineup that are expected to be made at the Texas facility are already production vehicles. So, expect there to be a brief overlap of production at the new site and the old Fremont, California site as the transition occurs. No indication has been given on the closure date of the California plant. 

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A short timeframe

In the meantime, now that the announcement has been made, a lot of permit applications and construction has to be done in Texas. The 2021 calendar year begins in less than six months. Although no specific timetable has been disclosed, it would be reasonable to assume that Tesla would want the factory completed and the production lines operational this time next year, if not sooner.