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Tesla calls some Fremont employees back to work before health orders are lifted

Bloomberg reports this afternoon that Tesla is calling some workers back to its US assembly plant in Fremont starting next week. The move to get workers back to work would be before Bay Area stay-at-home orders are lifted. The region’s health orders are in effect until at least May 3, but Tesla staff working in paint and stamping operations was called back for April 29.

Bloomberg based its reports on internal Tesla messages seen by the news organization. Bloomberg reached out to Tesla for a comment but did not yet get a reply.

Bloomberg reported:

Tesla had previously communicated to workers that it expected to resume normal production at its US facilities on May 4, the day after Bay area health measures are slated to end. The electric-car maker clashed with Fremont officials last month over whether its factory was an essential business or otherwise needed to shut down to comply with an Alameda County order issued in mid-March.

The Fremont plant builds Model Y, 3, X, and S models, representing every vehicle in Tesla’s lineup. The automaker produced its last cars before the shutdown on March 23.

Since then, the company has used a small workforce to upgrade production lines. For example, Tesla is moving slowly forward with elements of its plan to increase Model Y production capacity at the Fremont factory. Tesla also recently applied for permits to recommission its south paint shop.

Analysts at Credit Suisse estimate that the factory’s closure results in a cash burn of about $300 million per week.

Last month, Tesla had temporarily resisted calls to idle its factory. That led to uncertainty about whether Tesla was considered an essential business by Alameda County officials.

Documents obtained through a California public-records request later confirmed that Erica Pan, the county’s health officer, considered the operations at the plant during the pandemic-related lockdown to be a public health risk.

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Avatar for Bradley Berman Bradley Berman

Bradley writes about electric cars, autonomous vehicles, smart homes, and other tech that’s transforming society. He contributes to The New York Times, SAE International, Via magazine, Popular Mechanics, MIT Technology Review, and others.