Tesla CEO Elon Musk threatened Saturday to pull the company’s factory and headquarters out of California in an escalating disagreement with local officials who have stopped the company from reopening its electric vehicle factory.
On Twitter, Musk threatened to sue over Alameda County Health Department coronavirus restrictions that have kept Tesla from restarting production of its factory in Fremont near San Francisco.
“Frankly, this is the final straw,” he tweeted. “Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately.”
Some Houston-area officials are jumping at the opportunity to woo Tesla away from California. Both Fort Bend County Judge KP George and Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña reached out to Musk, assuring him he’d be welcome in their respective jurisdictions
“We’d welcome you and Tesla’s operations in @HoustonTX,” Peña wrote in a tweet to Musk.
George took a more formal approach, sending Musk a letter urging the Tesla CEO to consider Fort Bend County as a prospect for the company’s new home or future endeavors.
“While your location is California is no longer deemed suitable for your company, we in Fort Bend County are more than open to welcome thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investments,” George wrote.
Despite the threat to leave California, it would be costly and difficult for Musk to quickly shift production from Fremont to another building in Texas or Nevada. The Fremont facility currently is Tesla’s only U.S. vehicle assembly plant, and the company would lose critical production if it shut the plant down to move equipment.
But Musk plans another U.S. factory to increase output, possibly in Texas, and could move production once that plant is up and running.