Between the thousands of invitations and the cult dedicated to Elon Musk by his fans, the inauguration of the new Tesla factory in Austin this Thursday looks like a star concert, in the now established tradition of the whimsical billionaire who celebrates the growth outside standard of its company and its establishment in Texas, far from the Californian culture.
For several days, fans of the high-end electric vehicle brand have been tweeting at the boss asking for tickets to the event. It will accommodate up to 15,000 people, according to the Austin American-Statesman newspaper . ” I found the golden ticket!” “, tweeted Wednesday Luke Metzger, president of a Texas environmental NGO, in reference to “ Charlie and the chocolate factory ”. “ Thank you Elon Musk! he added, along with a screenshot of his invitation to the ‘Cyber Rodeo – Giga Texas’, to be held at ‘1 Tesla Road, Austin, Texas’.
Rumors about this inauguration are circulating widely, without the company, which is very secretive, communicating directly. “ Big party for the opening of Tesla’s new home, which spans 74 acres and is worth $1.1 billion. Free interactive tours. Free barbecue. Open bar. Two stages with bands and other entertainment. ‘ Speech at Sunset ,’” the WhenWhereWhatAustin Instagram account, which tracks events in the Texas capital, posted on Tuesday.
In operation since the end of 2021
“Giga Texas”, whose area is equivalent to a hundred football fields, has already been in operation since the end of 2021. It is Tesla’s fifth “mega-factory”, after those in Nevada, New York, Shanghai and Berlin – the automaker’s first European site, which opened to much fanfare in March. These factories produce cars, but also equipment and batteries on a very large scale.
According to Jessica Caldwell, of the specialized firm Edmunds, that of Austin will release the Model 3 and Y, ” and it is also there that the Cybertruck pick-up and the Semi truck will be manufactured “, the production of which must be launched in 2023. ” Tesla has a problem of the rich: demand exceeds supply to the point that Model Ys and some Model 3s are delivered 5 to 6 months late in some parts of the world “, underlines analyst Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities. ” The solution lies mainly in Austin and Berlin .”
The company wants to grow its deliveries by 50% on average per year, and should still ” comfortably ” exceed this goal in 2022, Elon Musk said during a conference call in January. The manufacturer has delivered more than a million vehicles over the last twelve months, despite current production constraints linked to the shortage of electronic chips. In the first quarter alone, Tesla delivered 67% more vehicles than for the same period in 2021, when Toyota and General Motors saw their sales fall by more than 20% in volume.
Thursday evening also marks the personal evolution of Elon Musk. The South African entrepreneur who became the world’s richest man started Tesla in 2003 in Silicon Valley, California, but he moved his headquarters to Texas at the end of 2021. This US state is known for its conservative policies – he made headlines recently for passing a particularly restrictive abortion law – and for its tax incentives: there are no corporate or income taxes.
According to the Austin American-Statesman , Tesla received tax exemptions valued at more than $60 million to build its mega-factory, which is expected to eventually employ 10,000 people. Texas is also synonymous with oil and big, polluting cars. “ I think Elon Musk is having a bit of an identity crisis. He forgot who his clients were ,” comments independent analyst Rob Enderle.
But the boss is in trouble with California on various subjects. In February, the state Democrat filed a lawsuit against the Fremont plant for racial discrimination. The site is also known for failed unionization attempts.
And in May 2020, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, when the authorities refused to immediately reopen this same factory because of health measures, Elon Musk challenged them to come and ” stop ” him. Hidalgo County, in southern Texas, jumped at the chance, offering to set up operations on its territory. But it was Travis County, a suburb of attractive – and Democratic – Austin, which won the favor of the very courted businessman.