Tesla is opening its global engineering headquarters in California after Elon Musk left the state in a huff 2 years ago

Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., departs court in San Francisco, California, US, on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023.
Marlena Sloss/Bloomberg — Getty Images

Tesla Inc. said it will establish its “global engineering headquarters” in Palo Alto, California, a sign of cooperation between the electric-vehicle maker and the EV-friendly state it once called home.

The company is occupying the former headquarters of Hewlett Packard, Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said Wednesday in a roughly five-minute live-streamed event with California Governor Gavin Newsom. They offered few other details about the move, and didn’t specify if it would create any new jobs. Shortly after the event ended, Tesla said on Twitter that it was hiring engineering roles in Palo Alto.

The joint announcement suggests a thaw in the frosty relations between Tesla and California after the company moved its corporate headquarters out of Palo Alto to Austin, Texas, in 2021. While the automaker has maintained a large footprint in California, with more than 47,000 employees still there, Musk has criticized the state for high taxes and liberal politics.

“It’s a point of pride for me that Tesla is a California company,” Newsom said Wednesday. Musk thanked the governor for being “one of the first people” to buy a Roadster in the company’s early days.

While Newsom tangles routinely with conservatives on divisive political topics, he has been careful not to insult Musk. Newsom has praised the mercurial CEO for his “visionary spirit” and record of innovation. 

California’s leader also has long argued that Tesla was able to become the largest passenger EV maker in the world because of the state’s EV-friendly policies and tax structure. That fits into the narrative Newsom pushes of California as an economic powerhouse that outperforms red states Florida and Texas in terms of jobs, productivity, wealth and innovation, while also serving as a bastion of tolerance and progressive social policies. 

Standing next to Musk, Newsom highlighted his own background as an entrepreneur who had his own share of frustrations with regulations and California’s formidable bureaucracy. Before Newsom was elected mayor of San Francisco in 2003, he operated wineries and restaurants under the PlumpJack label. 

Newsom joked with Musk that he could better afford the $100,000 down payment on his first Tesla in 2007, when he was in the private sector. As governor, his salary is $209,747, considerably less than he made a business owner. 

“Now I have a pension,” Newsom told Musk, who is the second richest person in the world according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. “So eat your heart out.” 

Learn how to navigate and strengthen trust in your business with The Trust Factor, a weekly newsletter examining what leaders need to succeed. Sign up here.

Read More

Artificial IntelligenceCryptocurrencyMetaverseCybersecurityTech Forward