On Wednesday, Tesla broke ground on its newest factory, the new Megapack battery Megafactory facility, in the San Joaquin County city of Lathrop.
The Megapack, a large utility-scale battery system that is critical for storing energy from intermittent green energy sources such as wind and solar power, has been in much demand in California and other Western states in recent years. Tesla CEO Elon Musk noted in June that the Megapack, which is currently only being produced at a factory in Sparks, Nevada, has ben sold out through next year largely due to energy companies placing large orders for them.
In Lathrop, city leaders and residents were excited over Tesla’s massive expansion project, building on the 870,000 square-foot distribution center already located there, as well as the company car factory in nearby Fremont, and headquarters in Palo Alto, located just across the Bay.
“We are proud to be the home of the Megafactory, Tesla’s most recent expansion here,” said Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal on Wednesday. “The future of green energy will be produced right here in our community. This development means more prosperity for our city, more employment opportunities for our residents, and a brighter future for our planet.”
— Tesla Club of San Joaquin Valley (@SjvTesla) September 22, 2021
While Tesla has not yet announced the exact number of jobs at the new factory, expected to begin producing batteries in the near future, experts have noted that it is a strong indicator of Tesla’s commitment to staying in California for some time.
“Many in California have been worried that Tesla would move largely outside of California,” James Kelly, a Bay Area tech advisor, told the Globe on Thursday. “Elon Musk has been largely critical of California in the last two years due to the business environment here. He threatened to move Tesla last year, but then moved his main residence from California out to Texas. And let’s not forget a lot his companies building more in Texas, like Tesla’s second car factory going up in Austin and Space X’s rocket facility being built in Brownsville.
“The huge Lathrop factory is a huge sigh of relief for many that thought he would be moving out more and more. Tesla still has its HQ in Palo Alto, and Space X is still Headquartered outside of Los Angeles, but new facilities in the state mean a bigger commitment. He could have easily built in Nevada, Arizona, or Texas. Knowing his streak, even if his was in the works for years, he could have pulled plans. But he didn’t.”
“California just offered more advantages this time, like being located next to a distribution center for shipping ease and finding the right wage point outside of higher populate areas. This factory just quelled a lot of fears that Tesla may be moving out of California and will be bringing in jobs at a time when some are moving out of California. And other companies might follow suit now too based on his example.”
The factory is expected to open in Lathrop in the near future. Other Tesla and Space X projects are expected to be announced soon.