Gov. Abbott: Tesla is ‘genuinely interested in Texas’

By Dom DiFurio The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has spoken with Elon Musk and said the Tesla founder is “genuinely interested in Texas” as a destination to move the company’s operations, Abbott told News Channel 6 Tuesday.

Abbott joined the news channel virtually from Austin to discuss Texas’ overall response to the coronavirus pandemic.

When asked for his take on Musk’s proposal to potentially move Tesla’s factory and headquarters from California to Texas or Nevada, Abbott said he has already spoken to the Tesla CEO about the prospect.

“He’s genuinely interested in Texas and genuinely frustrated with California, but we just need to wait and see how things play out,” said Abbott. “But just know that in our typical Texas fashion, we are engaged in outreach to anybody who’s thinking about relocating to Texas. Texas would be a perfect location for Tesla to come to.”

Musk has been publicly frustrated about Alameda County Health Department’s move to stop his factory from restarting production in Fremont. Tesla filed a lawsuit in federal court several days ago arguing that the factory was allowed to restart during California’s stay-at-home order because the facility is considered “critical infrastructure.”

The Tesla CEO restarted production at his Fremont facility Monday in defiance of government restrictions and challenged the county to arrest him.

Abbott shared Musk’s tweets with his threat to move the company over the weekend implying the statement had caught his attention. Texas has a history of offering attractive incentives to businesses shopping for new states to headquarter their companies. Abbott is often involved in scouting for opportunities to bring those companies to the state under the condition they create jobs for Texans.

The Tesla plant in Fremont is currently the company’s only facility producing its electric vehicles. Its inability to open has placed a strain on the company’s revenue at a time when other major car manufacturers are beginning to restart vehicle production nationwide.

Musk, however, already has several established business operations in the state of Texas including SpaceX’s major testing site in Brownsville where it’s testing the rockets it hopes will one day transport humans to Mars. Prior to the pandemic, Musk had also floated the idea of building a new battery factory in Texas.

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