Giga Texas has now officially opened for business, and company CEO Elon Musk calls it a new phase for Tesla’s future.
Tesla’s factory openings are massive events, but Giga Texas takes the cake. The company invited 15,000 people to come party and eat food. During the event, named Cyber Rodeo, evidently inspired by the upcoming Cybertruck that would be made there, Musk couldn’t hide his excitement. Wearing a black cowboy hat and sunshades, he said to the crowd, “We are really entering a new phase of Tesla’s future. I can’t wait to see this baby in production, it’s going to be epic.”
Apart from the Cybertruck, which took center stage, a new Roadster prototype was on display. Musk also talked about a robotaxis, although he didn’t give many details apart from saying it would look futuristic. Coming from the same company that designed the Cybertruck, that is not unbelievable. However, Musk floated the idea of a Tesla car without a steering wheel and pedals last year. He was likely referring to the same car.
With Giga Texas opened, Texas now operates four plants in the US. The company began production in Freemont, California, before setting up a battery factory in Sparks, Nevada. Tesla also has a solar product factory in Buffalo, New York. Outside of the US, Tesla owns a factory in Shanghai, China, and another one in Berlin, Germany.
Tesla purchased the Austin, Texas site for $5 million and spent $1.1 billion building the factory. It took less than two years from the day Musk announced the selected site. The company invited states to compete for hosting the plant, and Austin and Tulsa emerged as the top candidates. Austin offered heavy incentives and tax breaks to convince Tesla. The local school district offered a $50 million tax break, in addition to Travis County’s $14.7 million.
With a new plant, Tesla can increase its annual production, which a lack of manufacturing space had held back. The company had to erect a temporary facility made from a large tent at Fremont to meet the demand for the newly released Model 3. This year’s goal is to produce 1.5 million cars, after coming close to 1 million units last year. This is in line with Musk’s target of a 50 percent increase in production volume year on year.
Tesla’s highly-anticipated Cybertruck pickup truck will be produced at the new site starting next year, after multiple delays. The plan was to start delivery in 2021, but that never happened. Meanwhile, the truck itself has had numerous modifications since its unveiling, including an awkwardly sized windshield wiper, side mirrors that Musk indicated Tesla is compelled to add, and invisible door handles.
However, Tesla will also produce the Model Y and Model 3 for the East Coast market at Giga Texas. The company will also make another delayed vehicle, the Tesla Semi truck at Austin. Production of the Model Y already started last year in the unfinished plant.
Giga Texas will employ about 5,000 workers with entry-level positions attracting a $35,000 salary. The Fremont facility has approximately 10,000 employees on its payroll.
Giga Texas is opening when Tesla is facing downtime in Shanghai as the city tries to contain rising Covid-19 cases with a strict lockdown.
Tesla set a record for car deliveries last quarter, with 310,048 transferred to reservation holders. The company is set to break that record now that two additional plants are in operation.