TECH – When Elon Musk inaugurates a new Tesla factory, he does not skimp on the means. Invitations by the thousands, a nightclub setting and a boss adored by his fans: the event which took place Thursday in Austin had the appearance of a star concert, in the now established tradition of the whimsical billionaire, who celebrates the growth outside standard of its company and its establishment in Texas, far from the Californian culture.
Cowboy hat and dark glasses, Elon Musk arrived on stage in a convertible in front of a forest of smartphones, to the sound of a piece of rap, to the cheers of the crowd, as can be seen in the video at the top of the article. The live webcast even showed the face of a young woman wiping away a tear of emotion.
The event was planned to accommodate up to 15,000 people, by invitation only, with, on the program, entertainment, barbecue, open bar, tattoos, music groups, fireworks…
An extraordinary factory
Called “Giga Texas”, the plant covers an area equivalent to a hundred football fields. Operational since the end of 2021, it is Tesla’s fifth “mega-factory”, after those in Nevada, New York, Shanghai and Berlin.
The building is “longer than the Burj Khalifa”, assured Elon Musk, in reference to the tallest skyscraper in the world, located in Dubai and nearly 830 meters high. “It is the most sophisticated automobile factory ever seen on earth,” he added. “Materials come in on one side, cars come out on the other”.
He reviewed the premium electric vehicle brand’s future products, such as the Cybertruck pickup, which is due to start production in 2023, or the humanoid robot Optimus, which “will do what humans don’t want to do.” . “We’ll make sure it doesn’t behave like Terminator,” he joked, referring to a sci-fi movie with a killer robot. The entrepreneur has also again promised a completely autonomous “robot-taxi”.
Texas, a strategic choice
Texas is known for its conservative policies – it made headlines recently for passing a particularly restrictive abortion law – and for its tax incentives: there are no corporate taxes, no income. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Tesla benefited from tax exemptions valued at more than 60 million dollars to build its mega-factory, supposed to eventually employ 10,000 people.
In addition, the South African entrepreneur, who has become the richest man in the world, is experiencing difficulties with California and Silicon Valley, where he founded Tesla in 2003. In February, the Democratic State initiated legal proceedings against the Fremont plant for racial discrimination. The site is also known for failed unionization attempts.
And in May 2020, at the start of the pandemic, when the authorities refused to immediately reopen this same factory because of health measures, Elon Musk challenged them to come and “stop” him.
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