Tesla has narrowed down the home city for its next factory to either Tulsa or Austin, according to the Associated Press. A report from Electrek today indicates that sources within Tesla have actually decided on Austin and Tulsa is no longer in the mix. In either case, the new facility will be similar in size and scope to the company’s Nevada Gigafactory, and will be used to increase production of the popular Model Y, as well as the upcoming Cybertruck.
According to Electrek’s sources, Tesla boss Elon Musk has stated he would like to see an extremely aggressive timeline for the factory, breaking ground as soon as possible, with Model Y units rolling off the assembly line by the end of 2020.
This would mean a significantly more aggressive building schedule than even Tesla’s recent Shanghai Giga 3 facility, which received approval from regional government in July of 2018 and Model 3 units began rolling out the door in October of last year. The Shanghai facility is still under construction while cars roll out, and a similar plan would be employed for the new alleged Texas location. The plan could also include a simple final assembly facility to be up and running bolting together pieces built in the company’s current Fremont, Calif. facility, at least initially.
The report indicates that a team of engineers from Nevada Giga have been dispatched to Austin to begin drawing up plans for the new Terafactory location. I don’t know if Musk took this advice from a Twitter poll in February into account when making the decision, but perhaps it was a factor.
Back in March Musk confirmed that the company had received almost a quarter million reservations for the ridiculously shaped and too-big-for-a-normal-garage Cybertruck, while some third party estimates put the figure closer to half a million. In any case, that’s a lot of bullet-proof stainless steel that is going to have to be bent up in Texas (or Oklahoma).
After the former NUMMI Fremont facility, Giga Nevada outside of Reno, Giga 3 in Shanghai, Giga New York where the company builds its solar roof, and the currently under construction Giga 4 in Berlin, this new Terafactory would be the company’s sixth major international facility. It is worth noting that Tesla’s Nevada Giga is still not 100% finished, despite having started the project in 2014.
Musk has recently tweeted his frustration at California as part of his coronavirus misinformation campaign, stating that he is considering moving the company’s headquarters outside of its home state. While it’s not likely that this major multi-million dollar deal is linked to his outburst last week, a new factory in Texas would certainly allow the company to make a move like that a reality.