Feature Photo: Rendering of the Tesla Gigafactory being constructed in Germany. Tesla is constructing a similar plant in east Travis County.
by Art Benavidez
Austin (Travis County) — Travis County Commissioners authorized County Judge Andy Brown to send a letter of no objection related to Tesla’s request for a foreign trade zone designation of their $1.1 billion Cybertruck plant on Tuesday.
Commissioners had previously voted on Jan. 13 to support the company’s federal request for designation as a foreign trade zone, which would exempt the automaker from customs duty payments on materials used in export production.
In a letter directed to U.S. Department of Commerce Executive Secretary Andrew McGilvray, Brown states that Travis County has no objection to the designation on the current site, as well as any future expansion on the property that currently encompasses 2,503-acres with the potential for expansion up to 3,503-acres.
In October, VBX reported that Tesla had purchased an additional 381-acres of land to bring their site total to approximately 2,500 acres near the intersection of Harold Green Road and Texas State Highway 130, near the Austin airport.
Commissioners also amended their agreement with Tesla to extend Harold Green Road by allowing Tesla more time to construct the road.
Travis County Assistant Public Works Director David Greear said there were a lot of flood plain issues involving the road project, which is holding up construction, he said.
Tesla is constructing a four million square foot manufacturing facility that will produce Tesla’s versatile utility vehicle, the Cybertruck.
Elon Musk stated during Tesla’s October third quarter earnings report that the Austin factory could be expected to start delivering the vehicle by 2021.
“(Due to) the exponential nature of the scaling up of a manufacturing plant, it will start off very slow at first, and the output will become very large,” he said.
Musk added that he expected the facility to be operating at full capacity within a one-to-two year(s) window, noting that it was a very fast timeline for the Cybertruck, which is debuting several new technologies.
The Austin-based civil engineer firm Garza EMC is a part of the development team on the Cybertruck plant project.
The project’s first annual performance agreement compliance reports are due at the end of March when commission staff will conduct a compliance review with all contract requirements.