Tesla CEO Elon Musk hosts ‘Cyber ​​Rodeo’ party for Austin plant opening

Elon Musk speaks at “Cyber ​​Rodeo,” a grand opening event for Tesla’s new plant in Austin, Texas.

On Thursday evening, Tesla CEO Elon Musk spoke at the grand opening of a new $1.1 billion electric car manufacturing plant near Austin Airport in Texas.

At the event, he talked about how big the new factory was, and teased some products still in development, including the Cybertruck, and a robotaxi that he promised would look completely futuristic.

“It wasn’t easy building this huge building and getting all this equipment here,” Musk said, donning a big black cowboy hat and thanking Tesla’s neighbors in Travis County, as well as the Tesla employees who helped build the plant.

“If you put the building on its side, it’s taller than the Burj Khalifa,” Musk said, referring to the world’s tallest skyscraper in Dubai. And he joked that, according to Tesla’s calculations, 194 billion hamsters could be accommodated in the building.

Tesla’s CEO revealed Thursday night that Tesla aims to manufacture 500,000 units of the Model Y in one year in Austin. Musk confirmed that the company also hopes to start production of the Cybertruck in Texas next year.

However, Tesla’s schedules often change. Tesla and other automakers are struggling, with chip shortages and soaring raw material prices exacerbated by Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

“Twelve months later, we have delivered over a million vehicles worldwide,” Musk said. “There is still a long way to go.”

Tesla vehicles make up more than 75% of all electric vehicles sold in the United States today, according to research by AutoForecast Solutions, with fully electric vehicles making up about 4% of all new car sales domestically.

Musk also announced plans to expand his pilot driver assistance program to a broader user base.

“We aim to move to a broad beta for nearly all fully autonomous driving customers in North America this year,” Musk said. The company doesn’t make self-driving cars, but it does sell an excellent driver assistance package it calls fully autonomous driving. Owners with the premium option can test new, unfinished features on public roads through Tesla’s FSD Beta program. The program is currently limited to a select group of Tesla customers and employees.

Tesla celebrated its new car and battery plant in Austin, Texas with a “Cyber ​​Rodeo” event on April 7, 2022.

Tesla built its Austin car assembly plant in about two years from the ground up. The first US auto plant in Fremont, California, was jointly owned by General Motors and Toyota before Tesla adapted it to build Model S sedans and Model X SUVs, its first mass-produced vehicles, and later the more expensive Model 3 and Model Y. .

The Fremont plant is still operational today, but Tesla aims to ramp up production of Model Y electric cars and batteries in Austin, and produce an unusual trapezoidal pickup truck, the Cybertruck, in Texas for North American customers.

Sam Fioriani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions, told CNBC that the new plant is in great demand.

With new products on the way, they need more factory space.” He believes that Tesla’s Austin plant, since it is newly designed to manufacture only Tesla products, should help the company improve the quality of their cars, and reduce manufacturing costs.

“They’ve built about two million cars so far, which means they should have known what works and what doesn’t at this point. They should be able to leverage the positives,” Fiorani said.

Musk said Thursday night that Model Y cars produced in Texas feature what’s known as a “structural package,” meaning that the cells in high-voltage car battery packs carry the vehicle’s payload.

Prior to the Texas event, Tesla hosted a grand opening and began some commercial production at another new plant in Brandenburg, Germany.

The company’s factory in Shanghai, which began producing cars in late 2019, has been closed for consecutive days due to health restrictions imposed in the region.

Earlier this week, Elon Musk sent Twitter’s stock price higher after financial filings and Twitter revealed that it had acquired approximately 9% of the activist stake in the social media company and would take a seat on the board of directors there.

Musk has built the Tesla brand on social media, especially Twitter, and funky marketing events like the “Cyber ​​Rodeo.” However, he did not discuss his Twitter plans at the company’s event on Thursday.