Image by Tesla via Youtube

Last week, Tesla held its so-called “Cyber Rodeo” in Texas to celebrate the opening of its new Austin-based Gigafactory. Over 15,000 people were invited to the grand opening, which featured live music, a lot of food, and an overall celebration for Tesla, including its CEO, Elon Musk, who was donning aviator sunglasses and a cowboy hat.

Tesla said the new facility will be the first to manufacture the Cybertruck. When asked about the vehicle, Musk said, “I can’t wait to see this baby in production, it’s going to be epic.” Deliveries of the trucks were supposed to start in 2021, but Musk announced in January that production of the vehicle won’t start until 2023.

Tesla said it has already started building Model Y vehicles at the facility and will reportedly be making Model 3 vehicles there. The automaker is also planning on manufacturing Roadster models starting next year, and Musk also hinted at a “quite futuristic” robotaxi but did not provide any information about it.

In 2020, Tesla said it was considering various locations for its new Gigafactory, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, was reportedly Austin’s main competitor. Despite the automaker ultimately choosing Austin, it did open a service center in Tulsa.

The 2,100-acre property the Austin facility sits on likely cost Tesla around $5 million, and the plant itself likely cost over a billion dollars. When speaking about the new location, Musk stated, “We need a place where we can be really big, and there’s no place like Texas. We are going to move to a truly massive scale.”

Tesla previously moved its headquarters from Palo Alto, California to Austin late last year, possibly due to several reasons such as Musk’s battles with California regulators and high living costs in California. Tesla also desperately needs more space for production, which was quite evident when it set up a large tent in the parking lot at its Fremont, California facility to try to meet its production goals in early 2021. The added space will alleviate these space constraints.

While Tesla produced under a million vehicles in 2021, it has said it projects that 2022 production will total 1.5 million.

The Austin Gigafactory covers 126 acres on a 2,200-acre parcel of land. It’s expected to employ around 5,000 people and the average salary for employees will be slightly over $47,000. If these measures are met, the company will get millions of dollars in tax breaks from the State of Texas, including tax breaks from Travis County and the school district there. Of course, not everyone is happy about the new facility, as Tesla still faces scrutiny for various reasons, including complaints about the environmental damage done by the company and its workplace conditions and alleged discrimination of workers.

The new Austin plant is not Musk’s first landmark in Texas, as his aerospace firm SpaceX also has a location in Brownsville. Tesla also has facilities in California, Nevada, New York, Texas, China, and Germany.

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