After Tesla CEO Elon Musk made an empty threat stating he would move the company out of California due to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he is now suggesting, in the long term, it is still a possibility.
Musk squabbled with local authorities in California this past May in an attempt to reopen its Fremont factory after the nationwide shutdown caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Musk threatened to “immediately” move Tesla’s headquarters out of California saying “Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately.”
Soon after the automaker was cleared to reopen its factory putting the disagreement at bay for the time being. Now, just 3 months later, in an interview on the Automotive News podcast, Musk brought up the possibility of moving the company’s headquarters saying “There’s no question that our headquarters will remain in California for the short term. Long term, we’ll have to wait and see.”
The CEO’s comments follow the company’s deal with Austin to develop its next factory in Texas. According to Musk, Gigafactory Texas will not only be a vehicle factory but an “ecological paradise.” Regarding the choice of Texas, Musk said “When talking to key members of the team that would need to move to Austin from California in order to get the factory going, Austin was their top pick. I guess a lot of people from California, if you ask them what’s the one place you would move outside of California, it’s Austin… I went to our team and said, ‘Where do you want to spend time? And where would you potentially move?’ And they were like, ‘Well, Austin is just the No. 1 choice.”