Elon Musk moves to Texas, slams ‘complacent’ California

Source: By David Ferris, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Inc., said yesterday that he has moved to Texas, in part to oversee his bustling operations there and partly because he is disaffected with California.

Musk, 49, disclosed the move yesterday in a video interview with Matt Murray, the editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal.

California holds the headquarters for his two biggest companies: Tesla, the leading maker of electric vehicles, and SpaceX, which is moving aggressively into space travel with reusable rockets. But Musk said it is becoming a hard place to innovate, noting that his enterprises are now the sole automaker and aerospace manufacturer in the state, as others have moved elsewhere.

“My companies are the last two left,” he said.

He compared California to a sports team that is sitting on a winning streak. “They do tend to get a little complacent, a little entitled,” he said, “and then they don’t win the championship anymore.”

In Austin, Texas, Tesla is racing to build an enormous factory that will make the company’s first pickup, dubbed the Cybertruck. It may also make the company’s first proprietary battery. For SpaceX, Musk is overseeing the development of the Starship, a colossal rocket meant for interplanetary travel, at a Texas site in Boca Chica, on the coast near Brownsville.

Musk picks up stakes relatively unencumbered by real estate, as he declared earlier this year that he was selling all his homes in California. In Texas, he will also be less encumbered by taxes, since the state has no personal income tax.

California authorities incurred the ire of Musk during the COVID-19 lockdowns in April. As county health authorities prevented the automaker from operating its home factory in Fremont, Calif., he called them “fascist” (Energywire, April 30).