Tesla is making California home to its global tech headquarters.
CEO Elon Musk and California Governor Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that Tesla’s new technical headquarters will be in the former Hewlett-Packard office.
The sudden resurgence of Tesla’s relationship with California may come as a surprise after the EV maker established and moved its headquarters from Fremont, California to Austin, Texas in 2021 following disputes with the state over COVID-19 restrictions. Musk has also repeatedly criticized California for being over-regulated and burdened with high taxes.
However, Tesla has kept operations of its first factory in Fremont, where many engineers still live.
Tesla tweeted that it’s taking on new tech positions in California, which would be a big part of why Newsom is backing the EV maker’s investment in the state. Sources told CNBC that the emphasis will be on engineers skilled in research development and artificial intelligence.
“California prides itself on being at the forefront of discovery and new ideas and innovation,” said Newsom, noting the state’s longstanding relationship with Tesla. Newsom said he was excited to be working with Tesla to both transform the auto industry and strengthen California’s manufacturing dominance.
Musk said the Fremont plant is expected to produce more than 600,000 vehicles this year.
Tesla also said Wednesday it will concentrate battery cell production in the United States to take advantage of federal incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act.
Although Tesla is California’s most popular automaker, the company has a difficult relationship with the state. Tesla is under investigation by the federal agency for equal employment and is still in the middle of a lawsuit from the state civil rights department regarding complaints from workers that the Fremont plant is rife with racial prejudice and harassment. The CA Department of Motor Vehicles has also accused Tesla of falsely promoting its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) advanced driver assistance systems.
Tesla is expected to elaborate further on the details of the announcement during a Wednesday scheduled live stream event.