: ‘There’s limits on how big you can scale in the Bay Area;’ Musk moving Tesla HQ to Texas from California
Tesla Inc. is officially moving its headquarters to Austin, Texas, Chief Executive Elon Musk told investors on Thursday.
will continue to expand in California “significantly, but even more so here in Texas,” Musk said.
“It’s tough for people to afford houses (in the San Francisco Bay Area) and lots of people have to come from far away” to work at Tesla’s factory and offices, Musk said. “There’s limits on how big you can scale in the Bay Area.”
Musk spoke at Tesla’s annual meeting, which took place at the under-construction factory in Texas and was webcast. Musk said in December he had moved to Texas, splitting his time between that state and California.
At the time, Musk compared the western state to a team that is winning for an extended time and has become complacent, and said that Silicon Valley has had “too much influence in the world.”
Tesla’s headquarters is in Palo Alto, in the heart of Silicon Valley, and the company has benefitted from proximity to world-class universities, as well as to the venture-capital firms that fueled its growth.
Musk and San Francisco Bay Area health authorities were at a standoff in May 2020 when the Fremont, Calif., factory was shut down as part of shelter-in-place orders designed to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Musk reopened the plant in defiance of the local orders, igniting Twitter and legal spats that prompted even President Donald Trump to chime in.
When asked whether Tesla would soon build more factories, Musk said the company may start “investigating sites for future locations” soon and maybe make a decision in 2023.
Texas is one of several U.S. states where Tesla cannot directly sell its vehicles to people due to franchise laws. Its stores in such states are in essence showrooms, with customers buying vehicles online.
Musk started off the meeting, in which shareholders voted mostly as Tesla had recommended, saying that Tesla has had a “fantastic year,” but was not immune to ongoing chip and auto-parts shortages that have plagued the auto industry and more.
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Even so, Tesla is confident it can keep growing sales and production by more than 50% a year “for quite a while,” Musk said. “Basically if we can get the chips, we can do it,” he said.
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The company continues to focus on cutting costs, he said. Due to rising expenses amid the shortages, it had to increase vehicle prices, but it hopes to reduce prices soon to make them more affordable, Musk said.
“The sheer amount of money that we are spending flying parts around the world” in order to sidestep the shortages “is really not great,” he said.
It has been a “constant struggle” to get enough chips and other auto parts, Musk said. He reiterated his expectations that production of the Tesla Cybertruck, an all-electric pickup truck, will start next year and hit volume production by 2023.
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Tesla’s commercial truck, the Semi, and the redesigned Roadster, a luxury sports car, are expected in 2023, he said. Tesla and others are likely to be through the supply-chain shortages by 2023, Musk said.
One of the Tesla-supported proposals, about trimming directors’ terms, appeared to come up short of the majority needed to pass. Tesla was seeking to have directors serve staggered two-year terms.
Tesla shares at last check were down 0.3% in the after-hours session, after ending the regular trading day up 1.4%.
Tesla shares have gained 12% so far this year, compared with gains of around 17% for the S&P 500 index.