This is a big deal, and not because it was the "biggest party on Earth."
Everything's bigger in Texas, even Elon Musk. To celebrate Tesla's newest Gigafactory opening in Austin, the company held a "Cyber Rodeo" at the site, with 15,000 guests, product demos, and all the weird cowboy-Musk vibes anyone could handle. The mile-long facility also became Tesla's new global headquarters following a move from southern California.
Several attendees live-streamed the event on social media. Guests got a self-guided tour of the facility and were treated to live music, games, and various food and beverage options. There was even a mechanical bull and a tattoo parlor for people who wanted to get into the Tesla-Texas mood. Later in the evening, Musk took the stage to talk about the plant, which he claimed to be the "largest factory building in the world by volume."
Musk noted the reasoning behind moving the company's headquarters to Austin, stating that Tesla needs "a place where we can be really big, and there's no place like Texas." The 15,000 attendees also got quick updates on the company's product release plans, including a new robotaxi. Those hoping for details on the long-awaited Cybertruck may have gone home disappointed because Musk only really talked about the truck's door handles, showed an electric rear window, and promised a 2023 delivery date before moving on.
Thursday's event happened as Tesla faces real challenges in meeting the demand for its vehicles. A combination of supply chain disruptions and extreme customer interest has caused wait times on new Tesla orders to extend to five months or more. The situation's unlikely to change, at least for the foreseeable future, as the automaker plans new, more affordable variants of the Model Y and will eventually have to build the Cybertruck and Semi. Customers' excitement for the abstractly designed pickup has led to an estimated one million-plus reservations, so the company's 2023 is already stacked.
Tesla spent $1.1 billion building the facility near Austin, its sixth Gigafactory worldwide. The plant will start with Model Y production, but plans include the Cybertruck, Semi, Roadster, and even battery cells down the road. Musk believes the factory will help Tesla grow on a "truly massive scale," which aligns with his earlier statements on the company's goal to expand to an extreme size. So far, it appears the company's headed in that direction, as its manufacturing capacity will grow from around one million cars in 2021 to twice that in 2023. Legacy automakers beware, Elon is breathing down your neck.