Tesla Opens Gigafactory Austin

Tesla opened Gigafactory Austin with a big party that Elon Musk named the “Cyber Rodeo.” The event had 15,000 attendees, live music, and food, and of course a dramatic show by Elon Musk.

Although invitations and tickets were issued, Musk said they wouldn’t keep close track at the door. It could have been possible for someone to crash the party.

During the event, Musk announced that Tesla planned to start manufacturing the Cybertruck in 2023. “I can’t wait to see this baby in production,” he said.

Musk also hinted that he hasn’t given up on the Roadster or his concept of Robotaxis. He said a Robotaxi would look “quite futuristic” but didn’t elaborate with any details.

Gigafactory Austin will also produce Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, along with the highly anticipated Tesla Semi. Corporations like Walmart Canada have already placed large pre-orders for the Semi as part of their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.

Tesla plans to hire 5,000 people at Gigafactory Austin to start with. It previously planned to hire as many as 10,000 people once its full manufacturing capacity is in place. Open positions can be found on Tesla’s careers page.

Tesla also has a Gigafactory in Fremont, California, a battery factory near Reno, Nevada, and a solar panel manufacturing facility near Buffalo, New York. It recently moved its company headquarters from California to Texas amid Elon Musk’s dispute with California over the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, Tesla doesn’t seem to have completely given up on California and broke ground on a battery manufacturing facility near its Fremont factory last year – after the state government declared Tesla an essential business that can continue operations. It also has plans to develop a virtual power plant through which owners can contribute power from their Powerwall batteries to the power grid in California. It already reported success with a similar virtual power plant in Australia along with proposing an expansion of sustainable energy capacity to the Australian government.

Even without Musk’s sparring with Californian government officials, Tesla has needed to increase its manufacturing capacity amid setting a string of company quarterly records for deliveries. Previous temporary attempts to increase manufacturing capacity includes putting up a tent at its Fremont factory to meet manufacturing goals for the Model 3 in 2018. Tesla famously came close to bankruptcy due to a two-year stretch from mid-2017 to mid-2019 during which it faced challenges with manufacturing the Model 3.

However, Musk has developed a reputation for bringing a company back from the brink of bankruptcy. Tesla delivered 310,048 vehicles worldwide in Q1 2022 and projects that it could produce as many as 1.5 million vehicles by the end of 2022.

Tesla also recently opened Gigafactory Berlin despite frustrations with regulatory red tape and legal wrangling with environmentalists that delayed its opening by several months. Gigafactory Berlin will likely reduce Tesla’s dependence on Gigafactory Shanghai for production of electric vehicles for the European market. The company recently had to suspend operations at Gigafactory Shanghai due to the local government’s response to an upswing in COVID-19 cases.