Following his feud earlier this year with local authorities over pandemic-related shutdown orders and rumors last week that he intended to leave California, Musk confirmed to The Wall Street Journal, “For myself, yes I have moved to Texas.”
Musk prefaced his remarks by telling the publication that his signature companies Tesla and SpaceX both still have “massive operations” in California.
“It’s worth noting that Tesla is the last car company still manufacturing cars in California. SpaceX is the last aerospace company still doing significant manufacturing in California,” Musk said, adding, “My companies are the last two left … that’s a very important point to make.”
After Tesla’s Fremont plant was shuttered in March following a COVID-19 related shelter-in-place order, Musk sued Alameda County, seeking an injunction against the order and threatening to move his company’s headquarters out of state.
“Tesla is filing a lawsuit against Alameda County immediately,” Musk said on Twitter on May 9. “The unelected & ignorant ‘interim Health Officer’ of Alameda is acting contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms & just plain common sense!”
“Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependent on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA,” Musk wrote in a follow-up tweet.
The Tesla plant resumed operations on May 8 in violation of the shelter-in-place order, with Alameda County officials approving the company’s reopening plan shortly thereafter.
At the time, President Donald Trump expressed his support for Musk’s fight to resume operations at the plant in a tweet: “California should let Tesla & @elonmusk open the plant, NOW. It can be done Fast & Safely!”
Tesla later dropped the suit against Alameda County, according to documents filed in a California court on May 20 (pdf), a day after California Gov. Gavin Newsom told CNBC that the state was committed to the electric car maker’s success and that he was “not worried about Elon leaving any time soon.”
“I’ve had a lot of conversations with him, and we’re committed to the success and the innovation and the low-carbon, green growth economy that he’s been promoting for decades and the state of California is accelerating in,” Newsom said at the time.
Musk told The Wall Street Journal that relocating to Texas made sense, given the fact that Tesla’s new factory is being built there and that SpaceX’s Starship development is located in south Texas.
In July, Musk announced that Tesla would build its next U.S. factory near Austin, with an expected 5,000 hires and an investment of around $1 billion.
Musk also told The Wall Street Journal that he believes California has become complacent as a locus of innovative companies, saying, “California’s been winning for a long time and I think they’re taking it for granted, a little bit.”