Tesla Inc has not been allowed to resume operations at its California vehicle factory as local lockdown measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus remain in effect, a county health official said on Friday.
‘We’ve been working with them, but we have not given the green light,’ Alameda County Health Officer Erica Pan said of Tesla. ‘We have not said it is appropriate to move forward.’
On Friday afternoon, CEO Elon Musk told employees that the multi-billion dollar car manufacturer would restart production at its plant in Fremont, CNBC reports.
On Friday afternoon, CEO Elon Musk told employees that the multi-billion dollar car manufacturer would restart production at its plant in Fremont,
‘We’ve been working with them, but we have not given the green light,’ Alameda County Health Officer Erica Pan said of Tesla. ‘We have not said it is appropriate to move forward’
Musk, 48, cited California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement that manufacturers can reopen this week as reason to move forward.
‘In light of Governor Gavin Newsom’s statement earlier today approving manufacturing in California, we will aim to restart production in Fremont tomorrow afternoon,’ Musk said Thursday.
‘I will be on the line personally helping wherever I can. However, if you feel uncomfortable coming back to work at this time, please do not feel obligated to do so.’
But Newsom’s orders don’t override those of Alameda County, which has stay-at-home guidelines in place through May 31.
Musk, 48, cited California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement that manufacturers can reopen this week as reason to move forward
This may cause friction between local and state officials as they try reopen California in phases.
A separate email was sent to staffers from Valeria Capers Workman, Tesla’s HR head in the US, on Thursday night with additional details.
Workman said the Fremont plant would go ahead with restricted operations and bring back 30 per cent of employees normally working a shift.
Valeria Capers Workman (pictured) of Tesla revealed that ‘30% our normal headcount per shift’ was set to return
‘… Limited operations will resume at the Fremont factory starting at 30% our normal headcount per shift,’ she wrote.
It’s unclear if Tesla will be able to properly manufacture vehicles with the reduced headcount.
Employees who are asked to come back must watch a training video on the new safety protocols Tesla will implement amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The reopening will likely bring back some staffers who were sent home to work or furloughed after the Fremont plant shuttered on March 23.
Tesla, as well as other businesses in California, were closed in March after Gov. Newsom enforced stay-at-home orders in the state.
Similar orders were implemented in Alameda County where the Fremont plant is located.
Musk initially defied the lockdown orders and continued operations for five days before they closed amid pressure.
Tesla tried to claim it was an essential business, but was shutdown by public health officers.
Some employees were asked to work at home, some furloughed and contract workers dismissed. Top staffers received pay cuts and furloughed workers retained health benefits.
Musk later tried to rally dozens of employees together and asked them to return to work in late April, NBC Bay Area reports.
Last week, Musk lambasted state officials over lockdown orders he called ‘fascist’ and unconstitutional.
But he appeared in high spirits on Thursday with Newsom’s new guidelines in mind. Musk tweeted ‘Yeah!!’ in response to Newsom’s announcement.
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California (pictured) announced that manufacturers could begin to reopen their businesses on Friday
However, local officials said Bay Area health orders will remain in affect.
‘We will continue to work with our community and business leaders to accomplish careful, measured progress that allows us to maintain our gains as we move forward to further reopening and better times ahead,’ they said in a statement.
Officials have not publicly addressed the reopening of the Tesla factory yet.
Tesla hasn’t produced any new vehicles in five weeks after the US plant shutdown and its only other factory, based in the Shanghai, was ordered to remain closed.
Bloomberg reports that many workers in China were set to return on Wednesday following a Labor Day break, but were told the shutdown would be extended until May 9.
This raises another concern with Tesla’s reopening as many suppliers are still bound by their state’s lockdown orders.
The United Auto Workers, whose members include some Tesla supplier staff, had initially resisted attempts to reopen plants.
Union President Rory Gamble said they would defer to manufacturers after having meetings regarding worker safety.
‘We all knew this day would come at some point,’ Gamble said in a statement.
‘While the companies have the sole contractual right to determine the opening of plants, our UAW focus and role is and will continue to be, on health and safety protocols in which we have the contractual right to protect our members.’
The announcement of Tesla’s reopening raised the company’s stock five per cent on Friday.
Between Thursday and Friday at 1pm, the stock value increased from $784.77 to $817.48.
This comes after Tesla stocks dropped more than 10 per cent last week after Musk’s Twitter rant.
Musk tweeted that the electric carmaker’s high-flying stock was overly expensive.
‘Tesla stock price is too high,’ Musk said on Twitter in one of several unusual messages, including ones quoting parts of the US national anthem and that he would sell almost all his physical possessions.
The subsequent share drop erased around $13billion from Tesla’s market value and nearly $3billion from the value of Musk’s stake.
TESLA’S EMAIL TO STAFF IN FULL
The State of California released new guidelines today permitting certain critical infrastructure including manufacturing to gradually resume operations.
This includes Tesla’s Fremont factory and supporting manufacturing facilities. Additionally, Alameda County, where the Fremont factory is located, states in its shelter in place order FAQs that distributed energy resource manufacturing, which includes electric vehicles, solar, and battery storage, is permitted to operate.
I know many of you are excited to get back to work, as we are too, and I am confident we are well-prepared to do so safely and in alignment with all government precautions.
At all facilities, we’ve enhanced our already robust safety strategy in accordance with our Return To Work Plan, which we have reviewed extensively with Alameda County, and you will be receiving a video training from EHS which we ask you to complete promptly when assigned.
It is critical that you comply with and follow all required safety protocols. If you do not follow these protocols you will be sent home on Unpaid Leave. If you are sick or have concerns with safely coming to work, please stay home. You may use your available PTO or if you have none, may take the time as unpaid without penalty. We respect your decision.
Starting tomorrow, May 8, 2020, limited operations will resume at the Fremont factory starting at 30% our normal headcount per shift. You will be contacted via email or phone by your manager or HR with details on your specific start date and time.
Our Gigafactories in Nevada and New York have also begun limited operations as approved by their respective states. Similarly, Sales, Service and Delivery as well as Energy operations have been gradually coming back online on a state-by-state basis.
If you are an hourly California employee and we were required to cash out your PTO under California law due to the furlough extension, you will be given the same number of unpaid days off as your accrued, unused PTO.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to your HR partners or [e-mail redacted] with any questions.
Thank you for all you do to ensure the success of our company!
Zoom in your car? Elon Musk reveals video conferencing is ‘definitely a future feature’ of Tesla vehicles
As usage of video conferencing surges amid coronavirus lockdowns, other firms are looking at ways to implement the service into their own products – and Tesla is one of them.
CEO Elon Musk revealed in a tweet that video conferencing is ‘definitely a future feature.’
The Model 3 is equipped with a standard cabin-facing camera that points inside of the vehicle, which would be ideal for videoconferencing technology, as Electrek reports.
CEO Elon Musk revealed in a tweet that video conferencing will be a ‘future feature’, as it has a camera in the rearview mirror that points inside of the vehicle
Musk was asked by a Twitter user: ‘Do you think we could get video conferencing within a Tesla?’
And the CEO simply replied: ‘Yea, definitely a future feature.’
The feature could make it easier for drivers to continue a work meeting while traveling to a destination, but it does raise questions of how safe it would be to take a Zoom call while driving.
Although the firm has not given an explanation about the camera in the cabin, some have suggested it is a way for the Tesla to monitor drivers while using Autopilot, Electrek reports.
Musk has noted in the past that the camera is an extra layer of security that can capture vandals attempting to break into the automobile.
But the billionaire has also hinted at it being used as a video camera – drivers can record themselves while using the new Caraoke feature.
The Model 3 is equipped with a standard cabin-facing camera, which would be ideal for videoconferencing technology
The feature could make it easier for drivers to continue a work meeting while traveling to a destination, but it does raise questions of how safe it would be to take a Zoom call while driving. One Twitter user suggest moving the camera so it is safer to use
However, Tesla did roll out a new feature last week to its Autopilot system that is designed to stop signs and traffic signals.
The feature will slow the car whenever it detects a traffic light, including those that are green or blinking yellow.
It will notify the driver of its intent to slow down and stop, and drivers must push down the gear selector and press the accelerator pedal to confirm that it´s safe to proceed.
The update of the electric car company´s cruise control and auto-steer systems is a step toward CEO Elon Musk´s pledge to convert cars to fully self-driving vehicles later this year.
In a note sent to a group of Tesla owners who were picked to test the stop light and sign recognition feature, the company said it can be used with the Traffic Aware Cruise Control or Autosteer systems.
The company warns in the note obtained by The Associated Press that drivers must pay attention and be ready to take immediate action ‘including braking because this feature may not stop for all traffic controls.’
The message also states that over time, as the system learns from the fleet on the roads, it ‘will control more naturally.’