Tesla CEO Elon Musk is hosting a ‘cyber rodeo’ party to mark the opening of a factory in Austin

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

On Thursday night, Tesla CEO Elon Musk spoke at a grand opening event for the electric vehicle maker’s new $1.1 billion factory near Austin Airport in Texas.

At the event, he spoke about how huge the new factory is and teased products still in development, including the Cybertruck, and a robotaxi, which he promised would look quite futuristic.

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

“If you lay the building on its side, it’s taller than the Burj Khalifa,” Musk said, a nod to the world’s tallest skyscraper in Dubai. He joked that according to Tesla’s calculations, 194 hamsters would fit in the building.

Tesla is aiming to manufacture 500,000 units of the Model Y in a single year in Austin, the CEO announced Thursday night. The company also hopes to start production of its Cybertruck in Texas next year, Musk confirmed.

However, Tesla’s schedules shift frequently. Tesla and other automakers are grappling with chip shortages and rising commodity prices, exacerbated by Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

“In the last 12 months, we’ve delivered over a million cars worldwide,” Musk said. “There’s still a long way to go.”

According to research by AutoForecast Solutions, Tesla vehicles now account for more than 75% of all all-electric cars sold in the U.S., with all-electric vehicles accounting for about 4% of all domestic new vehicle sales.

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

“We’re aiming to go into broad beta for nearly all full self-driving customers in North America this year,” Musk said. The company doesn’t make autonomous cars, but instead sells a premium driver assistance package called Full Self-Driving. Owners who have the premium option can test new, unfinished features on public roads through Tesla’s FSD beta program. Currently, the program is limited to a select selection of Tesla customers and employees.

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

Tesla built its Austin vehicle assembly plant from the ground up in about two years. The first US auto plant in Fremont, California was jointly owned by GM and Toyota before Tesla used it to build its Model S sedan and Model X SUVs, its first mass-produced vehicles, and later its more affordable Model 3 and Model Y models rebuilt .

The Fremont factory is still operational today, but Tesla plans to ramp up production of its Model Y electric vehicles and batteries in Austin and produce its unusual trapezoidal pickup truck, the Cybertruck, in Texas for customers in North America.

Sam Fioriani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions, told CNBC the new facility is badly needed.

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

“They’ve built about a couple million vehicles so far, which means by this point they should have figured out what works and what doesn’t. They should be able to improve on the positives,” Fiorani said.

Musk said Thursday night that Texas-produced Model Y vehicles have what is called a “structural package,” meaning the cells in the cars’ high-voltage battery packs carry the vehicle’s load.

Prior to the Texas event, Tesla had held a grand opening and started commercial production at another new plant in Brandenburg, Germany.

The company’s Shanghai plant, which started vehicle production in late 2019, has been closed for days due to health restrictions in the region.

Earlier this week, Elon Musk sent Twitter’s share price soaring after financial documents were released and Twitter revealed that he had taken an activist stake of about 9% in the social media company and would take a seat on its board.

Musk has built Tesla’s brand on social media, particularly Twitter, and non-traditional marketing events like the “Cyber ​​Rodeo.” However, he did not discuss his plans for Twitter at the company’s party on Thursday.

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