Elon Musk announced that Tesla will move its headquarters and more from California to Texas and Nevada due to the local response to the coronavirus, which he believes is excessive.
Over the last few weeks, Musk has been criticizing the shelter-in-place orders and restrictions related to the pandemic, going as far as calling them fascist.
Things are now starting to ramp up from just talk to actions.
As we reported earlier this week, Tesla attempted to reopen Fremont factory following comments from California’s governor about starting to slowly reopen the state, but Alameda County, where the Fremont factory is located, shut down Tesla’s attempt to restart production.
In response, Musk announced on Twitter that Tesla is filing a lawsuit against the county:
Tesla is filing a lawsuit against Alameda County immediately. The unelected & ignorant “Interim Health Officer” of Alameda is acting contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms & just plain common sense!
The CEO went even further and announced that Tesla will be moving its headquarters and “future programs” to Texas and Nevada:
Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately.
Musk even suggested that Tesla might not even keep Fremont factory, where it employs about 10,000 people, depending on “how it gets treated in the future”:
If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependent on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.
The CEO added that Tesla has been able to keep operating its castings foundry and other facilities in San Joaquin County, which is located next to Alameda, despite the shelter-in-place orders.
Furthermore, Musk encouraged Tesla shareholders to file a class-action lawsuit against the county.
It appears that Alameda was anticipating that Tesla would open May 18 (the same date as GM and Ford) according to an official quoted by the New York Times:
Scott Haggerty, the county supervisor for the district in Alameda County where Tesla’s Fremont plant is located, said on Saturday that he had been confident that county health officials and Tesla executives were close to an agreement on reopening the plant on May 18. But, Mr. Haggerty said, that appeared to be unacceptable to Mr. Musk, who wanted to open the plant on May 8.
‘We were working on a lot of policies and procedures to help operate that plant and quite frankly, I think Tesla did a pretty good job, and that’s why I had it to the point where on May 18, Tesla would have opened,’ Mr. Haggerty said. ‘I know Elon knew that. But he wanted it this week.’
Update: Fremont mayor Lily Mei issued the following statement:
As the local shelter-in-place order continues without provisions for major manufacturing activity, such as Tesla, to resume, I am growing concerned about the potential implications for our regional economy. We know many essential businesses have proven they can successfully operate using strict safety and social distancing practices. I strongly believe these same practices could be possible for other manufacturing businesses, especially those that are so critical to our employment base. The City encourages the County to engage with our local businesses to come up with acceptable guidelines for re-opening our local economy. As we have done for over a decade, the City is prepared to support Tesla as soon as they are able to resume automobile manufacturing operations and are committed to a thoughtful, balanced approach to this effort that remains safe for our Fremont community.
And the Mayor of Palo Alto, where Tesla’s HQ is located, Adrian Fine Tweeted the following:
Palo Alto Mayor here. I would be really sad and disappointed if Tesla left Palo Alto, and stand ready to help. I truly appreciate having a cutting edge company based here, employing people, paying taxes, and helping to solve the climate crisis. Happy to help.
I understand that Elon is frustrated, but I think this is an overreaction, which ironically is what he believes the county is having.
“Moving HQ” can mean a lot of different things, some more extensive than others, but it would be a big deal, particularly for Tesla’s rank-and-file/engineers/executives.
Though it’s no bigger than moving Fremont factory or whatever he means by the possibility of not “retaining Fremont manufacturing activity,” which sounds just insane.
While I am starting to agree with Elon about Tesla being able to reopen safely with similar measures as the ones implemented in Shanghai, I feel like he is not going about it the right way with these threats.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.
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