It’s no secret that Tesla CEO Elon Musk is over California.
Last summer, Musk chose Austin, Texas, as the spot for the $1 billion factory that would build the Cybertruck, the carmaker’s long-awaited electric pickup truck. And in December, he confirmed rumors that he was picking up and moving from Los Angeles to the Lone Star State.
During an interview on “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast that dropped Thursday, Musk said he thought Austin had huge potential beyond just hosting him and his new factory.
“It’s going to be the biggest boomtown that America has seen in 50 years, at least – megaboom,” Musk said.
The CEO said Tesla chose Austin as the spot for the carmaker’s next US plant because “Austin is a bit like mini California.” According to Musk, he asked Tesla’s team in California what its top choice would be for a new factory – where it would like to spend time – and the “No. 1 choice was Austin.”
Musk announced his move to Texas after public spats in 2020 with California’s public-health officials over COVID-19 restrictions that temporarily shuttered Tesla’s Fremont, California, plant.
“Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately,” he tweeted in May during a disagreement with local officials. During a call with investors in April, Musk went on a tirade criticizing California’s shelter-in-place measures as “fascist” and saying that officials were “forcibly imprisoning” people in their homes.
Looser government regulations in Texas – along with no state income tax – appear to be an incentive for Musk’s move. But the billionaire said the wave of West Coasters moving to Austin should take care not to change the city too much.
“I think we do need to make sure that … people who move here from California don’t inadvertently recreate the issues that caused them to move in the first place,” Musk said during Thursday’s interview.
An increasing number of business leaders and companies have moved out of traditional hubs like Silicon Valley to Texas, as the pandemic has forced many people to work remotely.
Late last year, the software giant Oracle said it would move its headquarters from California to Austin. The Information reported Dropbox CEO Drew Houston was moving to the city as well, and Palantir cofounder Joe Lonsdale said he would move his venture capital firm, 8VC, there too.