The world has changed over the past two years and with a handful of exceptions, it’s not been for the better. But there is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, at least as far as the housing crisis goes, and that light is shaped like the adorable, affordable, and very practical Casita from Boxabl.
Casita, which means “little house” in Spanish, is just that: a tiny house that’s virtually indestructible, ships ready-to-assemble and fully furnished, and can be moved into in a matter of hours, on the condition that all arrangements for hooking it up to the mains are made in advance. More importantly, Casita is affordable and durable, and despite its diminutive size, is a complete living solution for anyone, whether single, in a relationship, or with a family.
In short, Casita is home in a box, an easily transportable living solution that would kick the butt of any tiny home out there. Like Disney’s Casita in Encanto, this one is magical in a way, albeit on a much smaller scale. No wonder then that even the world’s richest man, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, owns one. Even though Musk admittedly lives below the poverty line, it takes something really special to arouse his interest. The Casita is just that.
Musk’s name and Casita have been closely linked since November 2020, when his unit was delivered to SpaceX. It was the Musk association that turned Casita into the best-known name on the emerging niche of the prefab market, and Boxabl, the company that makes it, into a big industry player – a pioneer on the same segment of the market, if everything goes to plan.
autoevolution was able to get in touch with Galiano Tiramani, the founder and CEO of Boxabl (right in the photo above), and he was kind enough to let us pick his brains a little on this adorably-named, but very important product. Here’s one of the men behind the insanely successful Casita, talking about Casita: conception, the SpaceX commission, government deliveries, and production estimates.
autoevolution:The Boxabl Casita is an internet celebrity by now, and it’s all thanks to Elon Musk. But how did the idea for Casita come to be, what got you into prefab housing?
Galiano Tiramani: In 2017, Paolo Tiramani, Kyle Denman and myself started working on Boxabl. We were looking to solve the BIGGEST problem we could find. Of course housing is one of the largest industries in the world, and also one of the most old school. With 90% of buildings still being produced by hand, one at a time, using simple tools, things need to change. Huge problems exist as a result of this “pre-factory” state.
We figured out that the main reason houses are not mass-produced in a factory is because they are too big to ship in a cost-effective manner. This means that it wasn’t possible to scale production and made more sense to build in the field. Now that we can ship houses that aren’t compromised at the lowest possible cost, we can have true mass production like you might see in an automobile factory.
ae:We’ve covered the Casita several times already, and it’s always been of great interest for our readers. If you were to sell our readers a Casita now, what would your pitch go like? What is Casita to you?
GT: The Casita is a small upscale studio apartment! It is a perfect fit for most affordable housing scenarios or any backyard housing needs. The rooms feature full-size appliances, high 9.5ft [2.9-meters] ceilings, superior energy efficiency, structural strength and more!
ae:One of the reasons Casita made such a huge splash was the reported $50K price point. Do you believe you can maintain the $50,000 entry price for a basic Casita, given the looming recession and everything else happening right now?
GT: Since we announced the $50,000 price a few years ago, we have seen huge price inflation. We work hard to keep costs down through smart engineering, manufacturing automation, sourcing, and selection of building materials. We did recently raise our price to $60,000 and that’s how much our last customer paid. However, this still leaves the Casita as the lowest-cost housing solution for comparable housing types. As we scale up our production, we expect more efficiencies to come with scale.
ae:Can you speak in more detail about the exact number of orders on Casita you have so far? Has high demand influenced the original timeline for deliveries?
GT: We have a waitlist with over 130,000 names on it, reserving millions of units. The popularity and demand for Casitas are massive and we are very excited to see so much interest in this product, and are happy that so many people understand the significance of the impact this product can have.
We won’t be able to supply even a small percentage of our total demand in our current factories… but this is why we have big plans to grow fast! And are currently working on a billion-dollar factory!
ae:Where do you currently stand regarding production (factories, assembly, materials)?
GT: We just setup Factory 1, and it has been in production for about a year. We did a great job of jumping in and scaling up this brand-new product type with all-new manufacturing methods. Even though we just started, we already have set up Factory 2! We will be moving in there within a few months, and it will help us as we continue to scale up.
So far, we have built over 200 homes and successfully completed delivery of our initial pilot order to the USA federal government. We now have our eye on another target… a BILLION-dollar factory that can [deliver] 10-20 times our production capacity… we are planning this now, as we know the demand for housing is insane! This factory will be unlike anything the world has ever seen, and it will change the way people think about houses forever.
ae:This one is related to the first question and the reason Boxabl is a family name right now: how did the Elon Musk Casita come to happen?
GT: Elon musk did finally confirm that he purchased one of our Casita prototypes, and that it is located in his backyard, on Meme St, Starbase, TX! I can’t provide any more info than what he has already disclosed.
In conclusion, Tiramani says that, in addition to the 200+ completed Casita units, plans for the additional factory facilities, and the completion of the first round of orders for the U.S. government, Boxabl has just successfully completed another record-breaking round of funding, to a total of $140 million to date.
Not to jump the gun or anything, but it seems that everyone loves Casita. If they don’t already, they will.