Tesla hired Bert Bruggeman, an experienced manufacturing executive from the semiconductor industry, as their new ‘Vice-President of Production at Fremont plant’, but the company wouldn’t elaborate further on his role. Expand Expanding Close
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed a complaint against Tesla after the United Auto Workers (UAW) made charges against the company over allegations that they were impeding on attempts to promote a unionization effort at their Fremont factory.
Tesla responded with a scathing attack on UAW called the allegation “baseless” and “meant only to generate headlines.” Expand Expanding Close
It looked like things had calmed down on the unionization front at Tesla’s Fremont factory over the last month as United Auto Workers (UAW) focused its efforts on the Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi.
Now a group called ‘Tesla Workers’ Organizing Committee’ have sent a letter to Tesla’s board of directors with demands. Expand Expanding Close
The Tesla Factory in Fremont, California, is one of the biggest buildings on earth with 5.3 million square feet of manufacturing and office space. Since buying the plant for a mere $42 million in 2010, Tesla has occupied only a fraction of the building, but everything changed over the last year as the automaker increased its production to 2,000 vehicles per week and it is now investing over $1.2 billion in the plant to increase the production rate to 10,000 per week for the Model 3 production.
In order to achieve its goal, Tesla has been hiring at an insane rate and has now over 6,000 employees working in Fremont, which is creating irritating parking problems for the workers. Ironically, the problems are similar to what some Tesla owners are experiencing at Superchargers – like being ICEd. Expand Expanding Close
It’s difficult to overstate the impact Tesla has on Fremont and the East Bay Area. With ~6,000 workers, the automaker is now the city’s biggest employer and that’s without accounting for all its suppliers in the region.
Now we learn of Tesla even convincing manufacturers to come establish new production capacity in the area ahead of its planned production rate increase for the Model 3 program. Expand Expanding Close
The report was based on a lawsuit filed by Gregor Lesnik, a Slovenian worker injured during his work at the factory, against Tesla and two subcontractors in charge of the paint shop projects, Eisenmann and Vuzem. The report alleged that workers were paid only $5 per hour while Tesla was paying the contractors $55 per hour.
After the report came out, Tesla said that it was going to do the right thing for the injured worker and we now learn that 10 days later, the automaker and contractors settle the suit for $550,000 without specifying the breakdown between companies. Expand Expanding Close
Flashback to when we reported that India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, met with some executives at Tesla, we now have, via the Indian Express, learned that India’s Transport and Highways Minister, Nitin Gadkari, met with Tesla executives on the 15th to talk about introducing and increasing the adoption of “pollution-free road transport” with a focus on commercial and public vehicles i.e trucks, buses and two-wheelers.
Nitin hopes to accomplish this by having Tesla settle in India to create an “Asian manufacturing and assembly hub”. Gadkari goes on to state:
“the Indian government is committed to encouraging alternate pollution-free transport in the country by providing incentives to bio-fuel, CNG, ethanol and electric vehicles.”
Further, in his meeting with the Tesla team, he “offered up land near major Indian ports to facilitate export of their vehicles to South and South East Asian countries.”
We learn that Shanghai could now be the front-runner as Tesla reportedly signed a “non-binding memorandum of understanding” to invest in a $9 billion electric vehicle factory in the region. Expand Expanding Close
While Tesla already confirmed that some of the capital would be used for its operations, the company made it clear that most of the money would be put toward an expansion of the Fremont factory to increase production. Now we get a specific number for the expansion as Tesla is applying for a $106 million tax break with the state to help the project. Expand Expanding Close
Only three years ago in 2013, Tesla Model S’ first full year of production, the automaker built just over 20,000 vehicles or around 400 per week. Now we learn that Tesla recently achieved for the first time a production rate of 2,000 vehicles per week for an annualized rate of 104,000 cars.
In its last shareholders letter, the company announced that it aimed to exit the second quarter with a production rate of 2,000 vehicles per week – meaning that the company achieved its goal two weeks ahead of schedule. The achievement was crucial for Tesla to reach its delivery goal of 80,000 to 90,000 vehicles in 2016. Expand Expanding Close
Analyst Brad Erickson from Pacific Crest issued a new note to clients today following a visit of the Tesla Fremont Factory. The analyst noted that Tesla appears to be on track to exit the second quarter at the a production rate of 2,000 cars per week (Model S and X combined) and it is tracking toward its annual delivery target of 80,000 to 90,000 vehicles.
Tesla’s factory in Fremont is the only U.S. car assembly plant owned by an American automaker that is not represented by a union, but that’s just one of many things Tesla does unlike any other American (or otherwise) automaker.
Following the announcement of Tesla’s updated plans to increase its annual vehicle production at the factory to 500,000 cars by 2018 – 2 years earlier than previously planned, the United Auto Workers (UAW) expressed interest in unionizing Tesla’s workforce at the factory. One could look at the move as being opportunistic by the UAW to significantly increase its numbers or as a move to help protect workers it perceives being exploited by Tesla’s ever-expanding needs.
UAW President Dennis Williams said that up until now, the union was respecting Tesla’s startup status, but the new production rate would quickly make the electric automaker one of the largest car manufacturer in the nation and bigger than more established luxury automakers like BMW and Mercedes.
Williams is right that Tesla plans to quickly become as big as other automakers, but does higher volume alone justify the implementation of a union? Expand Expanding Close
A report from the Bay Area News Group Watchdog published in the Mercury News this weekend suggests that foreign workers were brought in from Slovenia with nonimmigrant visa for tourism and business, known as a B1, in order to build Tesla’s new paint shop at the Fremont factory in California.
The report described an unfortunately common practice in the construction industry of importing a workforce to do manual labor for low wages. Tesla was used as an example in the article because of the fact that most of the information is coming from a lawsuit between one of those workers, Tesla and their subcontractors following an accident while under their employment.
Earlier this year, we reported on a new proposed bill in California to eliminate the sales tax on new cars manufactured in the state for out-of-state buyers. The bill aims to spur “industrial tourism” and encourage people to come pick up their new Teslas at the automaker’s Fremont factory without having to pay California’s sales tax.
The bill, which was proposed by Tesla and is sponsored by Sen. Bob Wieckowski whose district is home to Tesla’s Fremont factory, is now facing strong opposition as some legislators suggest it only aims at offering tax breaks to rich people able to afford luxury vehicles. Expand Expanding Close
While the company has been talking about plans to build more vehicle factories in Europe and China, Tesla’s Fremont factory remains its only full-fledged car manufacturing facility. Company officials have always referred to the Fremont plant’s total capacity to be around 500,000 cars per year once optimized, which is what Toyota and GM were producing when they owned the factory, until now. Expand Expanding Close
The World Energy Innovation Forum (WEIF) managed to secure not only an impressive lineup of industry leaders to speak at the event, but also quite a venue for this year’s conference. The forum will take place Wednesday and Thursday at the Tesla Fremont Factory in Fremont, California. Expand Expanding Close