Electric car maker Tesla Inc. has picked the Austin, Texas, area as the site for its largest auto assembly plant employing at least 5,000 workers.

The new factory will build Tesla’s upcoming  Cybertruck pickup and will be a second U.S.  manufacturing site for the Model Y small SUV,  largely for distribution to the East Coast.

Tesla will build on a 2,100-acre (85-hectacre)  site in Travis County near Austin and will get  more than $60 million in tax breaks from the  county and a local school district over the next  decade. Work on the plant, which will be over 4  million square feet, is already underway, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said.

He did not put a number on how many vehicles  the facility would produce. “Long term, a lot,”  Musk said.

The company has pledged to invest $1.1 billion  and said it will pay a minimum wage of $15  per hour to employees and provide health  insurance, paid leave and other benefits.

The area that’s home to the University of Texas  at Austin and tech companies such as Dell  Inc. was a candidate for the plant all along,  but Tulsa, Oklahoma, emerged in mid-May as  another possibility.

Tesla doesn’t have a lot of time to get the factory  running if it wants to meet target production  dates. The company says on its website that  the Cybertruck will be available starting late  next year. Tesla has often missed promised  production dates in the past.
Musk has reportedly been happy with Texas,  where his SpaceX rocket company has operations  in Brownsville and in McGregor north of Austin.

The new factory will be Tesla’s biggest so far,  although it may not employ as many workers as  the 10,000 at its factory in Fremont, California.  The electric car maker has said it wants the new  factory to be in the center of the country and  closer to eastern markets.
The Fremont factory currently is Tesla’s only U.S.  assembly plant. It has a second U.S. factory in  Reno, Nevada, where it builds batteries for its  vehicles and employs about 6,500 people. Tesla  also has a factory in Shanghai and another one  under construction in Germany.

Elon musk

Musk has been unhappy with California, where earlier this year he flouted local orders to stay

closed to help stem the spread of the novel  coronavirus. Musk has threatened to move the  company’s headquarters out of Palo Alto and  all future vehicles out of the plant in Fremont,  a reworked factory that once was run jointly by  Toyota and General Motors.

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has not  allowed cities and counties to impose local  orders that would close businesses as the virus  began surging to record levels this summer.  The state did not give Tesla any additional  financial incentives, Abbott spokesman John  Wittman said.
“Tesla is one of the most exciting and innovative  companies in the world, and we are proud to  welcome its team to the State of Texas,” Abbott  said in a statement.
Texas has no corporate or individual income  taxes. It also touts the region’s young workforce  as one of the most educated in the country.  Nearly 47% of adults have at least a bachelor’s  degree, pushing Austin into the top 10 among  large metro areas, the site says. But at present,  Tesla can’t legally sell its vehicles in Texas. A state  law requires cars to be sold through franchised  dealers, not company stores like Tesla operates.

Tulsa put up a good fight, but may have been  used to win better terms from Texas. Oklahoma  boasts about its low tax rates and cost of living,  particularly low utility costs. Musk even visited  the Tulsa site earlier this month.
Oklahoma hasn’t had an auto manufacturer  in the state since General Motors shuttered its  Oklahoma City facility in 2005, but Tulsa is home  to an American Airlines maintenance facility that  employs about 5,200 workers.

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