As if there were any doubt about Tesla’s plans to establish a major presence in Texas, a flood of recent news items makes it clear that the new Gigafactory, rapidly going up at a site near Austin, is just the centerpiece of a veritable colony of high-tech ventures.
Giga Texas (the company seems to have reconsidered the name “Terafactory”—too bad), which will be the production site of Cybertruck, Model Y, and possibly other vehicles and battery cells, is coming together at a truly Tesla-like pace. Construction started in July 2020, and the first phase is scheduled to be completed in May 2021. Electrek reported that Tesla started moving machinery into the factory, including what appeared to be a large number of robots, in February. Production could begin in a matter of weeks.
Tesla-stalkers have been doing regular drone flyovers of the construction site, and one of these, from Jeff Roberts, gives us a detailed 20-minute look at what’s going on. Hundreds of workers are bustling about, some erecting walls, some pouring foundations, and some grading land for future expansions.
A new feature at Giga Texas will be the 8,000-ton Giga Press, a massive machine that will make the new underbody castings that will simplify the chassis assemblies of future vehicles. The foundations for three Giga Presses are already in place, and at least two of the colossal contraptions are believed to have been delivered to the site.
The company has been hiring new employees in the area for some time. Elon Musk recently announced that Tesla will hire twice as many employees as the company promised local governments. “Over 10,000 people are needed for Giga Texas just through 2022! - 5 mins from airport -15 mins from downtown - Right on Colorado river,” Musk tweeted.
Tesla’s employment site currently lists over 280 open positions in the region, and college degrees are not required. The company is working with local high schools, colleges and trade schools.
Elon Musk says he recently became a Texan himself (though he hasn’t revealed the location of his new pad—I know I haven’t gotten an invite), and a couple of other Tesla execs have also relocated. Suppliers are moving in as well. Pegatron, a Taiwanese electronics manufacturing company that makes the central control screen in the Tesla Model 3 (as well as displays for Apple and electronic components for many other brands), recently selected a site in El Paso, Texas, to build a plant that will provide components for Tesla.
Other companies in the Tesla universe are also expanding their footprints in the Lone Star State. SpaceX has a launch facility in Boca Chica, and Musk has been talking about establishing a community he calls Starbase. “Please consider moving to Starbase or greater Brownsville/South Padre area in Texas & encourage friends to do so! SpaceX’s hiring needs for engineers, technicians, builders & essential support personnel of all kinds are growing rapidly,” Musk tweeted recently.
SpaceX also appears to be considering an expansion to Austin. The Boring Company, Neuralink, and the Musk Foundation all have presences in Austin.
Texas, of course, has always been the home of larger-than-life, flamboyant figures, and Elon Musk fits right into that tradition. He recently roared up to the Giga Texas site at the wheel of a Cybertruck, where he took a tour of the massive complex and spoke to a crowd of construction workers. Tesla-watchers noted that the Cybertruck Musk drove appears to be the same prototype that was unveiled in 2019.
When will some of these workers get the chance to buy their own Cybertrucks? Musk offered a conservative forecast, saying that limited production of Model Y would start at Giga Texas sometime in 2021, and mass production would begin next year. The smart money is predicting that Cybertruck will hit the streets early in 2022.
Lede Image Source: Cybertruck Owner's Club