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Home » Tesla is Now Officially Austin’s Largest Private Employer, Giga Texas Employing Over 22,777

Tesla is Now Officially Austin’s Largest Private Employer, Giga Texas Employing Over 22,777

Giga Texas

In just a few short years, Elon Musk has turned a sleepy piece of Texas wasteland into an economic juggernaut – and he’s showing no signs of slowing down. Tesla’s $4.3 billion manufacturing gigafactory has officially made it Austin’s largest private employer, cementing Musk’s outsize influence on the booming regional economy.

It’s honestly hard to fathom the rapid progression at Tesla’s Giga Texas site in southeast Travis County. In 2020, it was an abandoned mining pit filled with “sludge, swamps, and 30-foot deep pits” according to Rohan Patel, a senior Tesla executive. Fast forward just a couple years and that same 11-million square foot patch has been utterly transformed.

Musk’s dizzying $11.1 billion annual economic impact across the region – employing over 22,777 locals – started from such humble, toxic beginnings. But the eccentric billionaire “had a vision” for the location’s proximity to Austin’s urban core, airport, highways, and educational hubs.

Rohan Patel, Tesla’s senior global director of public policy and business development, Giga Austin’s staggering scale and commitment to sustainability:

“Giga Texas is one of the largest manufacturing facilities in the world at nearly 11-million square feet and counting,” he notes. The factory pumps out Model Y and Cybertruck, while also producing cutting-edge 4680 battery cells and cathode materials.

But Tesla didn’t just plop down a hulking factory and call it a day. Tesla embarked on major eco-restoration efforts, cleaning up 63 acres along the Colorado River, planting 800 trees, improving habitats, and clearing invasive species.

Musk and co. are also walking the talk on renewable energy at the sprawling facility – installing a 125 megawatt battery storage system plus a solar roof generating 900 megawatt-hours last year, with 15 megawatts of additional solar capacity still to come.

Tesla Constructing 30MW Solar Roof at Giga Texas

Giga Texas’ Ripple Effects Across Austin

The human and economic impacts are head-spinning. Tesla has awarded scholarships to local engineering students, launched training programs across Austin-area school districts, and forged recruiting partnerships with the University of Texas and others – bringing in over 600 interns in 2023 alone.

It’s donated funds for infrastructure upgrades like wastewater system improvements that benefit surrounding communities. Tesla has even massively outpaced its community investment commitments – reportedly delivering 25 times the financial obligations.

Is this just the opening salvo in Musk’s wider campaign to fully enmesh his companies within Austin’s fabric?

The company says over 350 chargers are already in place at Giga Texas to encourage EV adoption, “and many more are planned.” Supercharger networks are a pivotal first step for Musk’s side hustles like The Boring Company to gain traction with future infrastructure projects.

For now, city leaders seem enthralled by the Musk hype. The mayor and economic development officials have cheered Tesla as an unqualified win for the local economy and job creation.

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