It’s hard to think of a yet-to-be-launched car that hasn’t caused as much controversy as the Tesla Cybertruck. However, there could be one major upside that even the harshest of critics would have trouble chastising: the company’s aim to employ up to 60,000 people in Tesla’s Texas Gigafactory once Cybertruck production is ramped up.
The claim comes from Tesla’s director of manufacturing at Giga Texas, Jason Shawhan. The current headcount at the Austin Gigafactory is 20,000, which already makes Tesla the second-largest corporate employer in the area. But if it is tripled, which is what Shawhan suggested is the plan when speaking to the Austin Business Journal, it would make the company the largest employer around.
In addition to the Cybertruck, Tesla also builds the popular Model Y SUV at its Texas factory. But more than just cars, the company is also using the manufacturing capacity to produce battery packs, drive units, castings, stamping press lines, and much more. It’s all part of the company’s shift to being more vertically integrated.
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If that wasn’t enough to generate employment, Tesla is also planning to build a battery cathode factory next door to the Gigafactory. The EV pioneer is also in the process of building a lithium refining plant.
The update on the progress of Tesla’s Texas factory was a rare bit of interaction with the public from the traditionally closed-off company. Shawhan was speaking at the keynote address at the State of Manufacturing conference and expo held by the Austin Regional Manufacturers Association.
The ex-Ford executive is reported to have offered a candid look at the struggles the company has undergone during its expansion of its Texas facilities – particularly that of trying to hire the vast number of heads needed. He spoke of how the company had to build a new parking garage near the factory in order to cater to the needs of workers, and that with growth, Tesla must also be mindful of company culture and safety.
As for the Cybertruck, Shawhan said that production would start “soon” and that the company is doing line upgrades to improve the output of the Model Y.