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Tesla’s move to Texas further mars ESG credentials

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MELBOURNE, Oct 8 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Texas is an odd place to put an electric-power champion as of late, however Tesla (TSLA.O) boss Elon Musk isn’t precisely recognized for following conference. He simply unveiled plans to relocate the corporate’s headquarters to Austin. The causes offered don’t add up, and he most likely isn’t escaping the federal government interference that irked him.

Musk threatened in May final 12 months to up sticks from the Palo Alto space that has served as Tesla’s base since its founding in 2003. The rationale was California’s Covid-19 lockdowns that compelled his manufacturing unit to shut, measures he referred to as “fascist”.

Remarks on the annual assembly on Thursday prevented reprising the theme. Instead, Musk linked the choice learn extra to a scarcity of house and the price of residing within the Bay Area. Both are legitimate factors, however extra for manufacturing unit staff than well-paid executives. And a head workplace needn’t be in the identical place as what may develop into its largest manufacturing facility.

There are trade-offs, too. For one factor, Tesla will now be run from a state the place its mannequin of promoting automobiles instantly to shoppers is banned by regulation as a method of defending automobile dealerships. Any Texas residents shopping for a regionally made Model 3 or different car could have to wait till it’s shipped out of state and again first.

Moreover, Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s administration is constructing a weak monitor report in inexperienced power. He was certainly one of many right-wing politicians to falsely blame wind energy for the state’s electrical energy era failure learn extra in February. He has since pushed to prop up the fossil-fuel business and cargo inexperienced power up with extra prices.

Elon Musk, the chief govt of Tesla Motor, speaks on the South by Southwest Interactive pageant in Austin, Texas, March 9, 2013. REUTERS/Gerry Shih

Women’s rights even have suffered below Abbott. He just lately signed a invoice outlawing abortion after six weeks of being pregnant, a regulation now being challenged within the courts learn extra . Abbott has even implied that Musk helps such insurance policies, although the Tesla boss has obliquely denied it.

These doubtful insurance policies are at odds with Tesla’s ambition. It already has confronted criticism over the way it treats staff, together with dropping a racism lawsuit learn extra this week. And it has lengthy been blighted by weak company controls. Moving to Texas further mars Musk’s environmental, social and governance credentials, giving traders more and more targeted on such issues much more causes to suppose twice.

Follow @AntonyMCurrie on Twitter

CONTEXT NEWS

– Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk mentioned on Oct. 7 mentioned the electric-car maker will move its headquarters to Austin from Palo Alto, California. He made the announcement on the firm’s annual assembly, which was held at its manufacturing plant below development within the Texas capital.

– Tesla has been primarily based in California because it was based in 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning.

Editing by Jeffrey Goldfarb and Katrina Hamlin

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