2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011Enlarge Photo
Tesla Motors is one of the youngest U.S. automakers, but has made a disproportionately large impact in the automotive media's headlines over the last few years.
It's also, amazingly, become California's biggest auto-industry employer--edging out even Toyota.
When Toyota makes its move to Texas, taking most of its 5,300 jobs to the Lone Star State, it won't even be close--as Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] now employs more than 6,000 people in California.
As Bloomberg reports, Tesla will have added another 500 to that figure by the end of 2014, too.
It's all part of Tesla's rapid expansion, as it gears up for higher sales, more vehicles, greater battery production and expansion into China.
It's also beneficial for California itself, as high labor and energy costs and strict environmental guidelines are seeing some manufacturing industry companies--such as Toyota--jump to other states.
Industrial power rates in the state are 55 percent higher than the U.S. average, said California Manufacturers & Technology Association spokesman Gino DiCaro. Workers are also paid more, and getting clearance to expand or open factories can be time-consuming and expensive.
In recent decades, the state has concentrated more on technology, defense and aerospace, rather than car production--but Tesla is a good fit for California and has brought manufacturing back at its Fremont plant--previously co-owned by GM and Toyota.
It makes "perfect sense" for Tesla to invest in the state, said California’s lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom, "and for this state to invest in their success".
Tesla's workforce is growing fast, and only set to grow further over the next few years.
By the end of 2013, Tesla employed around 5,800 people worldwide--a figure now beaten in California alone.
Once the company's battery gigafactory comes online, that could open up another 6,500 jobs--albeit not in California--while mooted Chinese production would mean an even larger workforce.
Tesla recently revealed its first-quarter earnings for 2014, logging revenue of $713 million on deliveries of 6,457 Model S electric cars.
Deliveries have just begun in China, and European sales are still rolling along--the Model S set a new single-month sales record in Norway, in April.
The company is on track to deliver 35,000 cars by the end of 2014, according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk.