Tesla is as much unwelcome as it is welcome. It’s an awkward juxtaposition. This is a state that gets a sizable chunk of its G.D.P. from oil and gas and here comes a virulent competitor to that industry. — Jim Krane, an energy expert at Rice University in Houston
Tesla is as much unwelcome as it is welcome. It’s an awkward juxtaposition. This is a state that gets a sizable chunk of its G.D.P. from oil and gas and here comes a virulent competitor to that industry. — Jim Krane, an energy expert at Rice University in Houston
Are Tesla and Texas a Perfect Match? It’s Questionable.
Tesla’s move from Silicon Valley to Texas makes sense in many ways: The company’s chief executive, Elon Musk, and the conservative lawmakers who run the state share a libertarian philosophy, favoring few regulations and low taxes. Texas also has room for a company with grand ambitions to grow.

“There’s a limit to how big you can scale in the Bay Area,” Mr. Musk said Thursday at Tesla’s annual meeting hosted at its new factory near the Texas capital. “Here in Austin, our factory’s like five minutes from the airport, 15 minutes from downtown.”

But Texas may not be the natural choice that Mr. Musk makes it out to be.

Tesla’s stated mission is to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” and its customers include many people who want sporty cars that don’t spew greenhouse gases from their tailpipes. Texas, however, is run by conservatives who are skeptical of or oppose efforts to address climate change. They are also fiercely protective of the state’s large oil and gas industry.

And, despite the state’s business-friendly reputation, Tesla can’t sell vehicles directly to customers there because of a law that protects car dealerships, which Tesla does not use.

Tesla’s move is not surprising: Mr. Musk threatened to leave California in May 2020 after local officials, citing the coronavirus, forced Tesla to shut down its car factory in the San Francisco Bay Area. But his decision to move to Texas highlights some gaping ideological contradictions. His company stands at the vanguard of the electric car and renewable energy movement, while Texas’ lawmakers, who have welcomed him enthusiastically, are among the biggest resisters to moving the economy away from oil and natural gas.

“It’s always a feather in Texas’ hat when it takes a business away from California, but Tesla is as much unwelcome as it is welcome,” said Jim Krane, an energy expert at Rice University in Houston. “It’s an awkward juxtaposition. This is a state that gets a sizable chunk of its G.D.P. from oil and gas and here comes a virulent competitor to that industry.”
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/08/business/tesla-texas-headquarters.html