AUSTIN, TX —Tesla Inc. has picked the Austin, Texas, area as the site for its largest auto assembly plant employing at least 5,000 workers.
The new factory will build Tesla’s upcoming Cybertruck pickup and will be a second U.S. manufacturing site for the Model Y small SUV, largely for distribution to the East Coast.
Tesla will build on a 2,100-acre site in Travis County near Austin and will get more than $60 million in tax breaks from the county and a local school district over the next decade. Work on the plant, which will be over 4 million square feet, is already underway, says Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
The company has pledged to invest $1.1 billion and said it will pay a minimum wage of $15 per hour to employees and provide health insurance, paid leave and other benefits.
Tesla doesn’t have a lot of time to get the factory running if it wants to meet target production dates. The company says on its website that the Cybertruck will be available starting late next year. Tesla has often missed promised production dates in the past.
Musk has reportedly been happy with Texas, where his SpaceX rocket company has operations in Brownsville and in McGregor north of Austin.
The new factory will be Tesla’s biggest so far, although it may not employ as many workers as the 10,000 at its factory in Fremont, California. The electric car maker has said it wants the new factory to be in the center of the country and closer to eastern markets.
The Fremont factory currently is Tesla’s only U.S. assembly plant. It has a second U.S. factory in Reno, Nevada, where it builds batteries for its vehicles and employs about 6,500 people. Tesla also has a factory in Shanghai and another one under construction in Germany.
Musk has been unhappy with California, where earlier this year he flouted local orders to stay closed to help stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. Musk has threatened to move the company’s headquarters out of Palo Alto and all future vehicles out of the plant in Fremont, a reworked factory that once was run jointly by Toyota and General Motors.
“Tesla is one of the most exciting and innovative companies in the world, and we are proud to welcome its team to the State of Texas,” says Governor Greg Abbott.