AUSTIN (KXAN) — It was nearly two years ago that Travis County put forward an incentive deal in an attempt to draw Tesla to Central Texas.
Spoiler alert: It worked. Here’s a look at what’s happened since, on the eve of the facilities off Farm to Market Road 973 opening to the public.
Travis County commissioners approve tax incentive deal
After a July 2020 meeting that lasted hours, Travis County commissioners voted to approve its tax incentive agreement with Tesla.
The week before, Del Valle Independent School District voted on a deal that capped Tesla’s taxable property value at $80 million for 10 years.
Tulsa, Oklahoma, was also on the short list for the next Tesla location at this point. Gov. Kevin Stitt posted photos of Musk visiting on Twitter.
“Oklahoma is the right place for Tesla and I thank all of the Oklahomans who have shown their overwhelming support. Keep it up! #Tulsa4Tesla” the tweet said.
In July 2020, Tesla selected Austin to house its second auto assembly plant in the United States.
“We’re going to be building our next Gigafactory in Texas. Right near Austin. We’re going to make it a factory that’s going to be stunning,” Musk announced.
That decision was met with overwhelmingly positive response from local leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Mayor Steve Adler.
“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.
Tesla breaks ground
Shortly after the announcement that Austin had beat out Tulsa to house the new plant, Tesla broke ground on the project and construction began.
‘California has been winning too long’
In late 2020, Musk announced he was moving from California to Texas. It would be a precursor of what was to come for Tesla.
“California has been winning for a long time, and I think they’re taking it for granted,” he said, according to the Verge. “California has been winning for too long.”
Musk was critical of pandemic closures in California. He had also hinted that he would move Tesla’s headquarters.
Hundreds of Austin jobs posted
As Tesla continued to pursue its expansion into Austin, it also started posting large numbers of jobs. It posted several hundred in October 2021.
“I don’t think this is the major wave anybody expected. I really think we’re going to see that growth happen more around January or February,” Ed Latson, executive director of the Austin Regional Manufacturers Association (ARMA), said at the time.
‘I’m excited to announce, we are moving our headquarters to Austin’
It was during a meeting with stockholders in October 2021 that Musk announced he was moving the Tesla headquarters from Palo Alto, California, to our city.
“The Lone Star State is the land of opportunity and innovation,” Abbott tweeted. “Welcome.”
Tesla followed other large California companies like Oracle who had made the move. Oracle announced in December 2020 it was moving its corporate headquarters from California to Austin. Samsung was also weighing the city of Taylor as a potential location for its new $17 billion semiconductor plant at the time. Taylor ended up winning that bid.
The paperwork is in
At the start of the year, Tesla gathered the paperwork necessary to open its Austin-area factory.
Analysts are predicting big things from electric vehicle maker Tesla this year, especially tied to the launch of its new factories in Austin and Berlin.
According to Austin Business Journal, analyst Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities Inc. said those factories will be key to the company potentially doubling is production capacity in 2022 to about 2 million vehicles. For reference, Tesla put out more than 936,000 vehicles in 2021 — up 87% from 2020.
Production starts on Model Ys
Tesla confirmed in an earnings call that it began building Model Ys at the factory in late 2021. After the Austin-made Model Y gets its final certification, the company said it plans to start deliveries to customers.
According to that same update on its quarter four earnings, Musk announced the Cybertruck is in the development phase and is planned to be made in Travis County along with the Model Y.
CEO Elon Musk the same week wrote on Twitter: “Been driving latest Cybertruck prototype around Giga Texas. It’s awesome!”
Getting into Giga
CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter in December 2021, “Tesla will hold a Giga Texas grand opening party with factory tours for the community in early 2022.”
Travis County commissioners approved a conditional permit for Tesla’s Giga Texas event in late March. That meant the massive party was a go.
We’re sorry to announce, Thursday’s massive celebratory party for the upcoming gigafactory is invite only.
Here’s what we know about the Tesla grand opening.