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Tesla updates employees on coronavirus, no plans on closing stores, offers no co-pilot test drives, and more

Tesla has issued an update to employees regarding the coronavirus. They have no plans on closing stores or service centers, but they are taking social distancing measures at work.

The coronavirus crisis has been ramping up in the US as it starts being taken more seriously by more people, officials, and companies.

The entire Bay Area went on lockdown today following a shelter-in-place order announced yesterday.

Tesla managed to keep its facilities open in the Bay Area, including the Fremont factory where it produces most of its cars, with an exemption from the local authorities.

Now Electrek has obtained an email that Tesla’s human resources sent to employees across the company.

In the email, the automaker laid out the argument that they are exempt from the recently announced shutdowns as “a national critical infrastructure”:

National Critical Infrastructure are business sectors crucial to the economic prosperity and continuity of the United States, and includes auto manufacturing and energy infrastructure as defined by the Department of Homeland Security. People need access to transportation and energy, and we are essential to providing it. We have also been in close communication with the State of California, Alameda County, and the City of Fremont, regarding the federal government’s guidance.

As a result, Tesla and our supplier network will continue operations that directly support factory production, vehicle deliveries, and service. If you work in these areas, you should continue to report to work, and if you don’t you should work from home until further notice.

The automaker also shared some social distancing guidelines:

To keep you safe, we will continue to follow social distancing guidelines (6 feet or more between employees). This is what the US CDC recommends and the guidelines we continue to follow as a national critical infrastructure.

A source familiar with Tesla’s retail division said that the automaker doesn’t plan to change business hours unless they are forced in specific jurisdictions.

They have been authorized to do test drives without a co-pilot, meaning that the customer is alone in the car.

Deliveries are going to be similar, where buyers are given the paperwork and then directed to their cars. They will drive away alone without a Tesla representative getting in the car. Home deliveries, which Tesla started to implement last year, are also going to be used.

A reliable source familiar with Tesla’s sales told Electrek that sales have been tracking normally for the delivery target in North America, but the last few weeks of the quarter are going to be difficult without a boost in inventory vehicle deliveries.

As we reported earlier this month, the automaker has been pushing for a similar delivery target as Q4 2019 and sales had been tracking well as of February. Some Tesla salespeople attributed it to the Cybertruck unveiling, with people learning more about Tesla, thanks to the electric pickup truck.

However, the Cybertruck effect has been canceled out by the coronavirus effect, and sources are saying that foot traffic is unsurprisingly way down at Tesla stores in March.

Most current deliveries are from orders placed weeks or days ago.

Electrek’s Take

I don’t know what to think about this situation anymore. I feel like everyone is either overreacting or underreacting, and it’s hard to have a level-headed reaction to the pandemic.

Either way, if anything, it’s showing Tesla how dumb these “end-of-the-quarter delivery pushes” are now that this crisis is happening right as Tesla would normally be relying on a massive inventory car delivery boost.

At least, Tesla is already heavily relying on online sales, which are much more convenient in today’s conditions, but it’s still hard for people to justify such a large purchase today.

What do you guys think of this situation? Let us know in the comment section below.

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