- Elon Musk is open to building an “off-planet” Tesla factory.
- “I’d like to see one before I’m dead. That would be cool,” Musk said during a shareholder meeting.
- Jeff Bezos has expressed interest in moving all polluting industries to space.
Elon Musk is open to building Teslas at an “off-planet” factory someday.
Will this ever actually happen? Who’s to say. But the Tesla CEO — who also runs the rocket company SpaceX — entertained the idea during the automaker’s annual shareholder meeting on Thursday.
“I like the way you think,” Musk said in response to an analyst’s question about how many years it will be before Tesla opens an “off-planet factory.” “I’d like to see one before I’m dead. That would be cool,” he said, joking that it would need to happen in the next “40-ish years.”
Musk didn’t specify any potential benefits of building cars on another planet. Presumably, one of the goals would be to reduce emissions from manufacturing on Earth. Jeff Bezos, who has a space company of his own, Blue Origin, has expressed interest in moving all polluting industries into space.
But Musk’s musings seemed to contradict comments he made earlier in the meeting. Asked whether Tesla has plans for more factories after its upcoming plants in Austin, Texas, and Berlin are complete, Musk stressed that “Man, it’s hard to build a factory.”
He said Tesla might start scouting for locations in 2022 and could decide in 2023, but was wishy-washy about the idea.
Musk’s goal has been to build vehicles as close to where they’ll be sold as possible. That’s why Tesla established a factory in Shanghai (to serve the Chinese market) and why it’s building a plant in Germany (to serve Europe). It’s not clear how assembling Teslas in space would make it any easier to deliver vehicles on Earth, where 100% of the car-buying public currently resides.
The idea of building Teslas on some far-away planet — and maybe even selling them to settlers there — may not seem so far-fetched to Musk, whose SpaceX has become one of the most prominent private space-exploration companies since its founding around 20 years ago. The company has transported astronauts to and from the International Space Station and was picked to land NASA astronauts on the Moon around 2024.