Elon Musk made a grand entrance to Cyber Rodeo to open Tesla’s new Gigafactory and global headquarters in Austin, Texas, on Thursday evening, driving up on stage in a black roadster in a cowboy hat and sunglasses before giving a bold speech that was capped off by a fireworks show.
"Why Austin? Well actually, I asked the Tesla team, because California is great, and we're continuing to expand in California, but we ran out of room," Musk told a raucous crowd. "We need a place where we can be really big and there's no place like Texas."
About 15,000 people traveled from all over the world to attend the invite-only event at the electric vehicle pioneer’s new headquarters, which is nearly 4,000 feet long and took about two years to build.
"It wasn't easy building this incredible asset, this humongous building and getting all this equipment here," Musk said. "We went through deep freeze, rain, quicksand. Incredibly fast build. It was very difficult but it's done."
Giga Austin is already producing the model Y hatchbacks with plans to produce half a million vehicles annually.
Next year, the factory will start churning out the futuristic Cybertruck, which Musk called Tesla's magnum opus on Thursday.
"I'm not going to spill all the beans right now, but what I can say, what I can say is we're going move to just truly massive scale that no company has ever achieved in the history of humanity," Musk boldly claimed.
While Musk entered in the original roadster, he touted the future of Tesla, including the transition to full self-driving, a robotaxi, and the Optimus humanoid robot, which Musk said will be able to do "basically anything that humans don't want to do."
Giga Texas will employ about 10,000 people in the Austin area, a point that was touted by Travis County commissioners at a meeting last month in which they approved the permit for Cyber Rodeo.
"I think this is a genuine opportunity and an important one for our community that will provide many, many benefits," Commissioner Brigid Shea said on March 23.
Not everyone has been thrilled about Tesla's Cyber Rodeo and future in Texas, though. Paul DiFiore, a representative of the environmental group PODER, urged commissioners to deny Tesla the permit to host the grand opening.
"I urge you to consider rejecting this permit and forcing Tesla to delay their celebration until they start treating the community of Eastern Travis County as more than a workforce for Elon Musk, but rather as neighbors and partners," DiFiore told the commissioners last month.
A couple of weeks before Cyber Rodeo, Musk traveled to Gruenheide, Germany, for the opening of Tesla's new factory there, which is expected to employ 12,000 people and produce 500,000 cars a year.