AFP, published on Thursday 07 April 2022 at 07:33
Among the thousands of invitations and the cult his fans devote to Elon Musk, Thursday’s inauguration of the new Tesla plant in Austin looks like a star concert, in the now-established tradition of the erratic billionaire celebrating the extraordinary growth of his company and its Texas settlement, far from California culture.
For several days, fans of the high-end electric vehicle brand have been tweeting to the boss asking for tickets to the event.
According to the Austin American-Statesman newspaper, it will accommodate up to 15,000 people.
“I found the golden ticket!” Luke Metzger, president of an environmental NGO in Texas, tweeted on Wednesday, referring to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
“Thanks Elon Musk!” he added, along with a screenshot of his invite to the “Cyber Rodeo – Giga Texas,” which will be held at “1 Tesla Road, Austin, Texas.”
Rumors of this inauguration are circulating without the company, which is very secretive, communicating directly.
“Big celebration for the opening of Tesla’s new home, which spans 74 acres and is worth $1.1 billion. Free interactive tours. Free barbecue. Open bar. Two stages with live music and entertainment. other entertainment. + Speech at sunset +” , indicated Tuesday the WhenWhereWhatAustin Instagram account, which lists events in the Texas capital.
– “Problem of the Rich” –
“Giga Texas”, the area of which is equal to a hundred football fields, has been in use since the end of 2021.
This is Tesla’s fifth “megafactory”, after those in Nevada, New York, Shanghai and Berlin – the carmaker’s first European branch, which opened to much fanfare in March.
These factories produce cars on a very large scale, as well as equipment and batteries.
According to Jessica Caldwell, of the specialty company Edmunds, Austin’s will release the Model 3 and Y, “and it’s also there that the Cybertruck pickup and the Semi-truck will be manufactured,” with production scheduled to begin in 2023.
“Tesla has a big problem: Demand is outpacing supply to the point that Model Ys and some Model 3s are being delivered 5-6 months late in some parts of the world,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives. “The solution lies mainly in Austin and Berlin.”
The company aims to grow its shipments by an average of 50% per year and should still “comfortably exceed” this target by 2022, Elon Musk said in a January conference call.
The manufacturer has delivered more than a million vehicles in the past 12 months, despite current production restrictions related to the shortage of electronic chips.
In the first quarter alone, Tesla delivered 67% more vehicles than the same period in 2021, when Toyota and General Motors saw their sales fall by more than 20% in volume.
– “Identity Crisis” –
Thursday night also marks the personal evolution of Elon Musk. The South African entrepreneur who became the richest man in the world, Tesla started in 2003 in Silicon Valley, California, but moved its headquarters to Texas in late 2021.
This US state is known for its conservative policies — it recently made headlines for passing a particularly restrictive abortion law — and for its tax incentives: there are no taxes on business or income.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, Tesla took advantage of tax exemptions worth more than $60 million to build its megafactory, which would eventually employ 10,000 people.
Texas is also synonymous with oil and big, polluting cars. “I think Elon Musk is having a bit of an identity crisis. He forgot who his customers were,” said independent analyst Rob Enderle.
But the boss has issues with California on several issues.
In February, the state Democrat filed a lawsuit against the Fremont factory for racial discrimination. The site is also known for failed unionization efforts.
And in May 2020, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, when authorities refused to immediately reopen the same factory due to health measures, Elon Musk challenged them to come and “stop.”
Hidalgo County, in southern Texas, seized the opportunity and offered to set up operations on its territory. But it was Travis County, a suburb of attractive — and democratic — Austin that won the favor of the very gracious businessman.