Tesla plans to build the Cybertruck in ‘central USA’ — possibly Texas?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced[1] today that Tesla has started scouting locations for Cybertruck production and plans to build the truck in “central USA.” Previously, Musk suggested that Tesla was looking into Texas for a factory[2].  At the time he did not specify that it would be for Cybertruck production, but these two ideas would line up.

This is the first clear indication we’ve had of where the Cybertruck will be built. Previously it was an open question whether Tesla would try to build the car in their Fremont factory, which has been their main location for final assembly since the company began volume production. Musk called the planned factory the “Cybertruck Gigafactory,” keeping in line with Tesla’s recent pattern of calling pretty much everything a “gigafactory.”

Musk also recently announced that Tesla will be referring to its factories as “Giga (area)[3],” rather than the previous “gigafactory 1, 2, 3” nomenclature. This means once a location is picked, the Cybertruck Gigafactory will likely be named after the state it’s in. This would be Tesla’s fifth “gigafactory,” in addition to Fremont, which Tesla does not call a gigafactory.  The others are Giga Nevada, New York, Shanghai, and Berlin.

If Tesla chooses Texas, as Musk has polled his followers about before[4], then it would be referred to as Giga Texas. Musk has pushed for recruitment of chip designers in Austin[5] before, but Texas currently bans Tesla from selling cars in the state. This would make for a weird situation if they could build cars there but not sell them.

Musk’s new announcement — that they’re scouting locations in “central USA,” rather than just Texas — could mean they’ve expanded their search to other states. Or it could be a signal to the Texas legislature that perhaps they should be less hostile[6] toward an American company that wants to make a premier product in their state. Musk’s other company, SpaceX, has a facility in South Texas.

We don’t know how many Cybertrucks Tesla plans to build per year, but if reservation numbers are any indication, they’ve perhaps notched up their internal target a bit since the reveal. The company sold a quarter of a million reservations in less than a week[7], and crowdsourced estimates now suggest that number is closer to half a million[8]. Even better for Tesla, it’s been popular in new markets[9] and gaining lots of mindshare[10].

Building the truck in the American heartland should help to attract more buyers from middle America, where Tesla has so far had less market penetration than on the coast. Due to the Cybertruck’s relatively simple design[11], it should be easy to build[12]. So Tesla scouting a factory specifically for the Cybertruck could be an indication that they are planning much more volume than they had before.

Regardless, Tesla will have to rush things to get up and running. The first Cybertrucks are supposed to come out late next year[13]. Given that Tesla is currently building a factory in Germany with the a similar timeline (but Germany is further along), it’s going to take a lot of work to get there quickly enough.

Well, it’s a good way to spend £2 billion[14], at least.

Musk also stated that Tesla is looking into “Model Y production for East Coast too.”[15]  It’s unclear if they’re scouting another factory location specifically for Model Y production on the East Coast, or if they’ll be building East Coast Model Ys in the central USA “Cybertruck Gigafactory.”  We’ve asked for clarification and will let you know if we get it.

Update: Musk confirmed that the new central US factory is going to have Model Y production for the East Coast:

Former

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 11, 2020[16]

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References

  1. ^ announced (twitter.com)
  2. ^ suggested that Tesla was looking into Texas for a factory (electrek.co)
  3. ^ Giga (area) (twitter.com)
  4. ^ polled his followers about before (electrek.co)
  5. ^ recruitment of chip designers in Austin (electrek.co)
  6. ^ be less hostile (electrek.co)
  7. ^ a quarter of a million reservations in less than a week (electrek.co)
  8. ^ closer to half a million (electrek.co)
  9. ^ popular in new markets (electrek.co)
  10. ^ gaining lots of mindshare (electrek.co)
  11. ^ relatively simple design (electrek.co)
  12. ^ easy to build (electrek.co)
  13. ^ supposed to come out late next year (electrek.co)
  14. ^ a good way to spend £2 billion (electrek.co)
  15. ^ also stated that Tesla is looking into “Model Y production for East Coast too.” (twitter.com)
  16. ^ March 11, 2020 (twitter.com)
  17. ^ More. (electrek.co)
  18. ^ Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos (www.youtube.com)
  19. ^ podcast (www.electrek.co)

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