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Technology & Entrepreneurship

Tesla says it's moving its headquarters to Austin

 A Tesla showroom at the Domain. Company CEO Elon Musk announced Thursday that Tesla is moving its headquarters to Austin from Freemont, California.
A Tesla showroom at the Domain. Company CEO Elon Musk announced Thursday that Tesla is moving its headquarters to Austin from Freemont, California.

The electric carmaker Tesla is moving its headquarters to Austin, CEO Elon Musk announced Thursday at a factory under construction in Southeastern Travis County.

"Our factory is like five minutes from the airport, 15 minutes from downtown, and we're going to create an ecological paradise here because we're out on the Colorado River," Musk said at an annual shareholder event. "It's going to be great."

The company displayed a Texas-themed logo immediately after Musk's announcement with a lone star emblazoned on a belt-buckle-shaped oval and the words, "Don't Mess With" under the company's T symbol.

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Austin Mayor Steve Adler welcomed the move, saying Tesla "fits right in."

"It's a tech company that creates the clean manufacturing, middle-skill jobs Austin needs," he said in a statement.

Musk threatened last year to move the company out of Fremont, Calif., in part because of Alameda County's COVID restrictions. Despite the earlier threat to move all manufacturing to Texas or Nevada, Musk said Thursday that's not the company's intention.

"This is not a matter of Tesla leaving California," he said. "Our intention is actually to increase output from Fremont and from [Tesla's Nevada factory] by 50%."

It's unclear what the Tesla move will mean for a region that has seen an influx of new residents during the pandemic, helping to drive up housing prices and rents. Musk indicated housing prices in California have limited the company's ability to grow.

"It's tough for people to afford houses and a lot of people have to come in from far away," he said. "There's a limit to how big you can scale in the Bay Area."

Musk also disclosed that he was in Austin during the February winter storm.

"I was actually ... in a house with no electric, no power, no heating, no internet, couldn't actually even get to a food store," he said. "That went on for several days."

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