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Tesla headquarters is moving to Texas, but residents still can’t buy the vehicles in the state

Written by: Leonard Parker | Houston Business News | 08th October

CEO Elon Musk announced at an annual shareholder event Thursday that he is moving the electric car company’s headquarters from Palo Alto, California to Austin, Texas, citing housing affordability and long commutes for the move from its current location.

“Our factory is like five minutes from the airport, 15 minutes from downtown, and we’re going to create an ecological paradise here because we’re out on the Colorado River,” the CEO said. “It’s going to be great.” Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce President Laura Huffman called the company's decision a "home run" and projected the move would bring 10,000 jobs to the city, per CBS Austin's Jessica Taylor.

The announcement drew big welcomes from Gov. Greg Abbott and Austin Mayor Steve Adler on Twitter.

Texas🤝Tesla@elonmusk announces @Tesla's new headquarters will move to Austin.

The Lone Star State is the land of opportunity and innovation.


— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) October 7, 2021

We welcome @Tesla home! It's a tech company that creates the clean-manufacturing, middle-skill jobs Austin needs. We’re one of the safest big cities, with a strong innovative, entrepreneurial, environmentally-focused culture.

— Mayor Adler | Get vaccinated! (@MayorAdler) October 7, 2021

Despite the announcement, it may be premature for Texans to begin celebrating the dawn of the electric vehicle revolution in the state. Texas franchise laws will require the electric car maker to ship its Texas-made vehicles out of state before they can be sold and shipped back to Lone Star buyers. State statutes prohibit automakers from making direct sales and requires them to instead sell their cars through independently owned car dealerships, according to a report by Business Insider.  

House Bill 4379 would have applied a loophole for companies like Tesla, but the measure failed to pass in the state legislature, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The bill, authored by state Rep. Cody Harris would have allowed makers of vehicles powered solely by electricity or batteries to act as their own dealers under state law, allowing them to sell directly to customers. 

Texans can order a car from the company’s website but won’t be able to place an order in the new Texas facility, according to Business Insider. Residents would also be required to drive to another state to buy the Tesla, or have paperwork sent to another state for processing. 

In May, Musk tweeted that he would "sure appreciate changing the law so that this is not required."

Tesla sure would appreciate changing the law, so that this is not required!

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 27, 2021

With the next regular Texas legislative sessions scheduled in distant 2023, this complication may stick around some time for Texans—barring a special session courtesy of the governor.