Tesla’s second US vehicle plant to be ‘ecological paradise’


Tesla, the electric vehicle and solar energy business, has decided on a fourth manufacturing site in the US.

The site in Austin, Texas, will be used to build the Tesla Cybertruck, the Semi, Model Y and Model 3.

Construction work is “already underway,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said. “It started this weekend.”

Tesla, the most valuable vehicle-maker in the world with a market capitalisation of nearly US$300 billion, has been granted around US$60 million in tax breaks from both the county in Texas where the factory will be built and from a local school district, The Verge reported. The company was also considering Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Elon Musk said Tesla would “strongly consider” it for future projects.

“The location is five minutes from (Austin-Bergstrom International Airport) and 15 minutes from downtown Austin,” Musk said, speaking on a conference call with Wall Street analysts following the company’s second-quarter earnings release.

“We are going to make it a factory that is going to be stunning,” he said. “It is right on the Colorado River. So we are actually going to have a boardwalk where there will be a hike and biking trail. It is basically going to be an ecological paradise — birds in the trees, butterflies, fish in the stream. And it will be open to the public as well, so not closed and only open to Tesla.”

It will be the company’s fourth factory in the US, following the vehicle factory in California, battery factory in Nevada, and solar factory in New York. Tesla also has a new vehicle factory outside Shanghai, China, and is building another factory outside Berlin, Germany.

The site where Tesla is building the factory consists of about 2,100 acres of land east of the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, with about two miles (3.2 km) of exposure to Texas’ Colorado river. It’s largely unused at the moment, though a sand and gravel mining company operates in the centre of the development.

Tesla said it plans to hire up to 5,000 workers at an average salary of US$47,147, with entry-level positions starting at US$35,000. It will invest at least US$1 billion and is planning to make a factory of between 4 and 5 million square feet.

“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,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement. “Texas has the best workforce in the nation and we’ve built an economic environment that allows companies like Tesla to innovate and succeed. Tesla’s Gigafactory Texas will keep the Texas economy the strongest in the nation and will create thousands of jobs for hard-working Texans. I look forward to the tremendous benefits that Tesla’s investment will bring to Central Texas and to the entire state.”

Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin, said in a statement that the factory will be “an important economic boost in East Austin, especially as we fight the economic effects of the virus”.

Kevin Stitt, the governor of Oklahoma, said in a statement that he will be “actively recruiting Tesla’s supplier base to Oklahoma,” and that just being a finalist has raised the state’s profile.

“Over the past few months, Tulsans and Oklahomans as a whole showed the nation and the world that our state is worthy of being one of two finalists for an innovative, cutting-edge company like Tesla,” Stitt said. “I wish Elon Musk and Tesla all the best. In fact, I wish them so much success they are forced to expand again, because I know just the place.”

Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin, said in a statement that the factory will be “an important economic boost in East Austin, especially as we fight the economic effects of the virus”.

“Tesla moving to Austin is exciting. It gives us three things we need in east Austin. It gives us thousands of good wage jobs that don’t need a 4-year degree. Its factory will be better for people and the planet,” Adler said.

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