Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) appeared together on Wednesday as the electric automaker unveiled a new hub for its technology employees in Silicon Valley.
Tesla will transform the former headquarters of personal computing company HP into its global headquarters for engineering operations. The billionaire entrepreneur and prominent Democratic politician hosted a press conference at the building on Wednesday.
“The future happens in California first. We’re changing the world through our historic investments, our conveyor belt for talent, and partnerships with companies like Tesla,” Newsom said in a statement. “The state continues to be the world’s innovation hub, charging the electric vehicle revolution, and dominating the industry in every category, all while keeping the same goal in mind: ensuring a cleaner, greener, and healthier place to live for future generations.”
Musk, who was cordial with Newsom throughout the Wednesday press event, previously moved Tesla’s primary headquarters to the state of Texas after antagonism from officials in California. The company’s primary headquarters will remain in Austin.
The world’s second-richest man said he grew increasingly frustrated as government lockdowns prevented the reopening of his companies during the spring of 2020, calling the phenomenon “the final straw.” Even as some Democratic lawmakers balk amid his recent acquisition of Twitter and his plan to revise the platform’s content moderation policies, the appearance with Newsom could signal a détente in relations with the American Left.
“This was HP’s original headquarters, and so I think it’s a poetic transition from the founders of Silicon Valley to Tesla and we’re very excited to make this our global engineering headquarters,” Musk said in an interview with CNBC. “And we’re a California-Texas company.”
Musk has also considered transforming Twitter, currently based in San Francisco, into a dual-headquartered company with primary offices in both California and Texas, a move which would represent the social media platform’s intention to ensure free expression for both sides of the political aisle. SpaceX, the reusable rocket company led by Musk, has major launch facilities in Texas, while brain machine startup Neuralink and tunnel construction venture The Boring Company have operations in Austin.
Musk added that he is not “anti-California” but noted that there are significant drawbacks to conducting business in the Golden State. “I think California should be cautious about taxes and over-regulations going too far,” he told CNBC. “Objectively, Tesla has done nothing but increase its footprint in California. Both in terms of manufacturing and engineering and personnel. Every year we’ve grown our headcount in California without exception.”
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The new office in Silicon Valley, one of the world’s richest talent pools for technology professionals, will facilitate the onboarding of engineers with knowledge of artificial intelligence. Companies such as Microsoft and Google recently unveiled sophisticated mass-market chatbots incorporated into their respective search engines, heightening demand in the technology sector for employees with knowledge of the systems. ChatGPT, which was created by a startup funded by Microsoft, surpassed 100 million active users within two months of becoming publicly available, according to a UBS investor note seen by Business Insider.
Tesla, which reported the highest quarterly revenues seen in company history last year despite controversy over the Twitter acquisition, continues to expand its physical footprint throughout the United States: the firm unveiled intentions to construct two new factories in Nevada that will increase manufacturing capacity for battery cells.