Following news that Tesla could be moving to Texas in or near the Austin area, the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation is hoping to sway the Silicon Valley-based electric vehicle company to plant its latest electric cybertruck factory closer to San Antonio.
“San Antonio’s expertise in the cybersecurity and automotive manufacturing sector strengthens Austin’s value proposition as a technology leader,” said Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, president and CEO of the local economic development agency. “We will continue pursuing Tesla as they consider all of their location options in the great State of Texas.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently tweeted he plans to move Tesla’s headquarters from California to Nevada or Texas, following California’s response to the coronavirus, which he criticized as overreaching.
Texas formerly lost out on Tesla’s $5 billion lithium-ion battery plant in 2014 to Reno, Nevada.
The Interstate 35 corridor would present a unique opportunity for Tesla to accelerate its administrative, tech, and manufacturing operations, Saucedo-Herrera said.
The possibility of Tesla planting roots in Texas is an exciting proposition for San Antonio’s technology sector, local tech industry leaders said.
David Heard, CEO of local technology workforce advocacy group Tech Bloc, said the move would be very beneficial for all of Central Texas, including San Antonio, should Tesla follow through.
“San Antonio can supply some of the Tesla workforce as well [even if it does choose Austin],” Heard said. “We have the Alamo Colleges District, which has lots of programs set up to train talent for manufacturing jobs.”
With local manufacturers already present in or near San Antonio such as Toyota, Boeing, and Caterpillar, a move near or between San Antonio and Austin would make sense, he said.
A move away from California’s Silicon Valley would not only be “a huge validation of Central Texas as a massive mega-hub for innovation and for software development,” but “would say a lot about Texas and our economy,” Heard said.
It would also accelerate the growth of the tech industry throughout the U.S. and world, Heard said. The coronavirus pandemic, he added, has likely hurried this transition as other tech companies (such as Twitter) switch to remote working, advance automation initiatives, and improve cybersecurity.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see the factory located somewhere that leverages both Austin and San Antonio,” Heard said. “It’s a win [for Texas] either way.”
If Tesla were to relocate it would likely attract more San Antonio residents to the tech industry, Heard said.
It would be a catalytic event for the region, said Dax Moreno, chief talent officer of Tech Bloc and head of the Tech Talent Central program. Moreno said Tesla’s arrival in Texas would likely draw other technologies companies to the state.
As Texas is a business-friendly state, Moreno said the move would be a good one for Tesla.
“When someone like Elon Musk, someone known throughout the world and who has shifted so many industries, chooses Texas it really signifies there is something special here,” Moreno said. “He could pick any new place to call home, so to choose here – that would say something amazing.”