Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk has the Twitterverse talking again, this time on whether Texas would be a good location for another electric car factory.
The Californian company has shocked investors and analysts alike in recent weeks as the value of its stock has shot through the roof, making the car company now the second most valuable on the planet.
The visionary entrepreneur’s electric car company recently opened its third “Gigafactory” in Shanghai, China, and Tesla reported in its January quarterly update that it now has the capacity to make 400,000 units a year.
With a fourth Gigafactory also in the pipeline at a location in Brandenburg, Berlin, a retooling to produce its highly anticipated Model Y electric crossover will bring capacity to 500,000.
Is a fifth Gigafactory, and third for the US, now also on the cards for Tesla?
Musk posted on social media channel Twitter on Wednesday (Australian time) the simple question, “Giga Texas”.
With two hours left on the poll at the time of writing, the response from almost 300,000 people has been an overwhelming 80% “Hell yeah”.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 5, 2020
The Tweet follows the somewhat rambling tribute to Musk paid by US president Donald Trump in an interview with CNBC on January 22, when he said, “He’s going to be building a very good plant in the United States. He has to, because we help him, he has to help us.”
Tesla will, however, need somewhere to make its polarising Cybertruck, production of which is slated to begin in late 2021, and which will require completely different tooling to produce its cold-rolled steel exoskeleton.
Texas, with its wide-open spaces and preference for full-size pickups (utes), could prove an ideal location for building the Cybertruck – and at least one tweep has pointed out it could be a “power move” to win over lovers of pickups trucks.
Thats a great idea. I think you might be right, it would be a power move to win over americans
— Patrick Hoarty 🧢 (@Avatar_Patrick) February 5, 2020
The tweet has also brought forth a number of calls for a Gigafactory to be built in Australia, with reminders of Musk’s comment during the opening of Tesla’s first Gigafactory in Nevada in 2016 that, “It’s going to make sense to have at least one Gigafactory on every continent.”.
Some called for Giga Brisbane, where there was once a Holden factory on Acacia Ridge, and another for Giga Adelaide where rich auto manufacturing experience remains despite a shutdown of a local car making industry in 2016-2017.
Others still have called for Giga Perth or at least in Western Australia, where vast lithium resources might enable efficient cell production.
That bodes well for Australia, although what kind of timeline might be expected is anyone’s guess.
In the meantime, bring on Giga Texas.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.