24 hours is a long time at Tesla. Overnight Elon Musk has been on Twitter expressing his dissatisfaction in being told he can’t fire up production at their Freemont facility.
As we know with the return to work programs across the globe, the situation differs dramatically based on the number of Coronavirus cases in your area, the amount of testing and confidence in tracing programs to track any outbreaks of the virus.
Where operations can be resumed safely, it’s pretty important we do restart economies to avoid the continued hemorrhaging of taxpayer dollars while businesses shut.
Australian’s who buy Tesla vehicles have a keen interest in what’s happening with the company as that’s where our RHD vehicles are made.
Basically, there’s contradictory decisions between different levels of Government. The State of California, the City of Freemont both essentially agree it’s ok for Tesla to start production again in a safe and controlled manner. The problem really is naturally cautious health officials in Alameda County, where Tesla’s factory is.
While Tesla was preparing their employees to resume the production of vehicles in early June, the County were still waiting on more localised data to provide the green light. The problem is, as surrounding counties give the green light, instead of taking that into consideration, they put blinders on and said no to Tesla’s request of starting up manufacturing again.
That did not go well with Elon.
So frustrated by the hold-ups, Musk then made a major announcement, that Tesla will be moving the headquarters of the company to Texas, Nevada. This is not a random location, but the expected site for the next Gigafactory to manufacture batteries and vehicles.
@EverydayElon asked Musk if there could be a class-action lawsuit for losses caused as a result of the overzealous lockdown.
This is bad. Not only could the county lose the jobs, tax revenue, and talent from their area, but they could also be hit with a legal bill for their miss-handling of the matter. To compound this, having such a public battle with such a high-profile business, will likely have a cooling effect on any other companies considering starting their businesses there in the future.
The Mayor of Palo Alto, Adrian M. Fine, reached out to Musk on Twitter to offer support and plead with him to keep jobs in the state.
The Mayor of the City of Freemont, CA, Lily Mei, also issued a statement, supporting Tesla, saying ‘City is prepared to support Tesla as soon as they are able to resume automobile manufacturing operations.’
This placed the Alameda County in a very awkward position, with virtually all relevant authorities supporting Tesla.
Turns out Musk wasn’t kidding, with the company filing a complaint against Alameda County in the US District Court in the Northern District of CA. Not by accident did it feature the case number 4:20.
Forced to respond, Alameda County produced a statement that reads like an attempt to counter negative press, while actually announcing nothing.
A short time ago, @Tesla posted a new blog post (RT by @ElonMusk) titled ‘Getting Back to Work’. This 740-word post detailed the steps the company is taking to make sure employees are safe, also helped by the weeks of experience they’ve had in Shanghai, China since operations successfully resumed there.
- Detailed health and safety restart plan with checklist and photos
- Employee health and safety guidelines
- Risk assessment process, including what we’ve done throughout the factory
- Risk assessment improvements, including how we’ve identified and addressed high/medium/low risks
- Temperature screening protocol plus a commitment to add temperature screening when we resume long-distance shuttle routes
- Revised Fremont production restart plan
- Factory layout with square footage to illustrate on how people are spread out across our 6 million square foot facility
- Break room capacities (reduced for social distancing) and numbers of people in each room based on work area
At the end of the post, there’s a full ‘Return to Work Playbook’ that is 38 pages long. Clearly Tesla have been working on this for some time and really do appear ready to resume work safely.
All things considered; I see no option for Alameda County than to back down on their obviously ridiculous position and let Tesla resume operations. This post and document prove they have made the necessary considerations and they’re obviously incentivised to keep staff healthy to keep operations running.
Being cautious when it comes to public health is smart, being so paralyzed by that cautiousness is economically dangerous and if there’s one thing we know about Tesla, they’re now pretty great at building factories.. so, if you don’t fix this and let them leave, they won’t be back.
Like I said, 24 hours is a long time at Tesla. This morning (May 12th), Musk has announced Tesla is restarting production, which goes against the current Alameda County shelter in place rules.
Musk is clearly expecting some penalty for doing this, with a suggestion that arrests could occur. Musk requests that if anyone was to be arrested, that it be him.
There are few things that could get more publicity than coronavirus right now, but Elon being arrested could certainly do it. This is extremely unlikely to happen as it would further highlight to the world how ridiculous Alameda County is being about this and certainly spell the end for any serious business investment in the County.
We know Musk is keen on firing up the next Gigafactory in Texas and it seems the Hidalgo County is ready to accommodate that. This is our best indication yet of where the specific location would be.
The County is located in the south of the state, around 4,100 km2 in size, and is home to between 700-800,000 people.