Tesla, based in Austin, will establish an engineering headquarters in California, less than a year after announcing plans to relocate its headquarters to central Texas.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk and California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the new engineering and artificial intelligence headquarters at an event Wednesday at the new office space. The five-minute event was livestreamed on Twitter, and the announcement was later confirmed by Newsom’s office.
Tesla also livestreamed Musk’s remarks as he took the stage at a celebration for the new engineering headquarters.
“It’ll be epic,” Musk predicted. “This is where we’re going to build the future.”
What is the reason for Tesla’s relocation to California?
Although the company’s main headquarters will remain in Austin, Musk told CNBC that the new California facility is “effectively a Tesla headquarters.” “and told the publication that Tesla will be a “sort of dual-headquartered company,” according to a CNBC report.
In a tweet on Thursday, the company also clarified that its headquarters will remain in Austin, and that the new engineering headquarters will be the primary operations for Tesla engineering.
The company is moving into Palo Alto space formerly occupied by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which relocated its headquarters to Houston in 2020. HPE is one of Silicon Valley’s oldest companies, dating back to 1938, as Musk mentioned in his remarks.
“We’re thrilled to announce that Tesla’s global engineering headquarters will be right here, in the former Hewlett Packard headquarters,” Musk said. “This is a beautiful transition from the company that founded Silicon Valley (HPE) to Tesla. And we’re very excited to make California our global engineering headquarters.”
Musk stated that Tesla is “looking forward to an exciting partnership with California” and that the world needs to transition to sustainable energy as soon as possible.
At the announcement, Newsom called the engineering headquarters “another proof point of the renewable energy vibrancy that is California” and said he “couldn’t be more proud of California’s commitment to support Tesla over the course of the last few decades.”
Newsom stated that Tesla was born in California, and that the state is always cutting-edge and stands out from the rest of the world in engineering, artificial intelligence, and pushing boundaries. He attributed a large part of that success to Musk.
“I’m here because we don’t take it for granted,” said Newsom. “We also value the investment you’re making here today.”
What do we know about Tesla’s new engineering and artificial intelligence headquarters?
The announcement of the engineering headquarters is consistent with Musk’s previous statements that Tesla would continue to expand in California. When the Austin headquarters was first announced, Musk stated that there was a limit to how large the company could scale in the San Francisco Bay Area, citing higher housing costs and long commutes for employees.
The company continued to operate and maintain regional offices as well as a factory in Fremont, California, just outside of San Francisco. Tesla stated in a blog post in January 2023 that it had grown to 47,000 employees in California.
The engineering headquarters announcement, like Tesla’s headquarters move to Austin in late 2021, came with few details about what it could mean for the electric car maker’s operations. It does, however, indicate a possible improvement in relations between Musk and California officials, which have been strained in recent years as Musk has increasingly criticised the state and publicly pushed back against California lawmakers. In the beginning, he threatened to relocate the company’s headquarters to Texas or Nevada in 2020.
Musk provided few details about what the company will focus on in Palo Alto on Wednesday. During his eight-minute evening remarks, he stated that the company would be building Optimus, the company’s humanoid robot, at the new location, as well as “really developing a better future for humanity in Palo Alto.”
At the party Wednesday evening, the CEO also discussed Tesla’s upcoming 20th anniversary and its continued growth in California.
“It’s amazing to think about what’s happened in two decades… “Now we have millions of cars on the road, and we have several models,” Musk said, referring to Tesla’s predecessor vehicles.
He went on to say that since Tesla’s inception, the car industry has progressed from “no one producing EVs” or believing in electric vehicles to now accepting electric vehicles as the future.
Musk also emphasised the company’s achievements in California, including its 48,000 California employees, status as the state’s largest manufacturing player, number of locations, and Fremont factory as the largest automotive plant in North America.
“Although we are obviously expanding in many parts of the world, we have always expanded in California,” Musk said. “We’ve increased our headcount in California significantly every year, and we expect that to continue in the future.”
Musk also mentioned that the party featured several models of the long-awaited Cybertruck, which is expected to be manufactured in Austin and will begin shipping later this year.
How does this compare to Tesla’s announcement of an Austin headquarters?
When Tesla officially announced a move to Austin in 2021, it was one of the most significant economic development announcements in Austin’s history. However, the initial announcement was made with little fanfare or warning, and the billionaire mentioned the move almost casually while speaking with shareholders.
At the time, no information was provided about where the headquarters would be located, how many employees would be employed, or which departments would be included. Many local and state officials were also taken aback by the move.
A company filing in December 2021 indicated that Tesla’s headquarters would be located at the same address as its massive Austin-area manufacturing facility in southeastern Travis County. It is still unclear whether the company, which continues to add millions of square feet to its Central Texas facilities, is constructing a separate headquarters building, how many employees were moving to Central Texas, or how many jobs were created as a result of the move.