Tesla Shuts ‘er Down in Fremont, Buffalo
After a days-long jousting match between Tesla and county officials, the electric automaker has apparently come to terms with the fact it is not an essential service. Tesla will idle its assembly plant in Fremont, California on March 23rd, with its Buffalo, New York solar facility also going dark.
Controversy sprung up after Tesla continued operations in Fremont after the county, one of several in the Bay area to do so, issued a shelter-in-place order to aid in the battle against coronavirus.
The humming plant was at odds with a growing number of automakers announcing temporary shutdowns.
In a release Thursday afternoon, Tesla said it made the decision after meeting with local, state, and federal officials, though it relented from admitting social or government pressure had anything to do with its decision.
“Despite taking all known health precautions, continued operations in certain locations has caused challenges for our employees, their families and our suppliers,” the automaker stated.
“As such, we have decided to temporarily suspend production at our factory in Fremont, from end of day March 23, which will allow an orderly shutdown. Basic operations will continue in order to support our vehicle and energy service operations and charging infrastructure, as directed by the local, state and federal authorities. Our factory in New York will temporarily suspend production as well, except for those parts and supplies necessary for service, infrastructure and critical supply chains.”
The company’s battery-producing Gigafactory in Nevada will continue operations, Tesla added.
Workers will be paid up until March 23rd, though Tesla HR head Valerie Workman said in an email obtained by CNBC that “we will provide paid leave [to Fremont and Buffalo workers] during suspended operations.”
“Those who have been working from home should continue to do so and consider it business as usual,” Workman said.
Tesla’s planned shutdown comes after the Detroit Three, Nissan, Honda, and Hyundai announced a suspension of assembly operations in the U.S. In its announcement, Tesla said it plans to initiate “touchless deliveries” — vehicle handovers where the customer does not meet with a company employee. Instead, the customer would pick their car up at a pre-arranged drop-off location, sign the paperwork left inside, then drop off those documents at another locale before heading home.