The recent controversial events surrounding Tesla and its main electric vehicle production plant in Fremont, CA, is one that will likely have repercussions on the company’s future. But beyond the controversy, the recent events surrounding Fremont highlight one key point: it is in Tesla’s best interests to ensure that its vehicle production facilities will no longer be exclusive to one state.
The Fremont factory and Alameda County’s insistence on keeping it closed has resulted in Tesla filing a case against the county. So far, the mayor of the City of Fremont and the City Palo Alto have sided with Tesla, and Elon Musk has remarked that the company’s HQ and future projects will be relocated to other sites, such as Gigafactory Nevada and a Texas site. In the midst of this all is a County Public Health Officer who has reportedly ignored Tesla’s efforts at proposing a reopening plan for the Fremont factory.
What is pretty ironic is the fact that among the carmakers currently operating a production facility in the United States, Tesla is arguably the most experienced in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The electric car maker has successfully dealt with the virus in Shanghai, and following a government-mandated shutdown, Tesla was able to return to regular operations gradually. Once reopened, Gigafactory Shanghai adopted a series of serious anti-coronavirus strategies that helped the company’s workers stay safe despite the pandemic. Tesla intends to do the same in Fremont, if not more.
For now, reopening the Fremont factory will likely be the result of pressure on the county or a serious stroke of fortune that would allow Tesla and the County Public Health Officer eye-to-eye. Each of these requires more than its own stroke of luck, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. That is, if Tesla has multiple electric vehicle production facilities in the United States. If Tesla has another factory in the US located in an area that is more supportive of the company, it would not have to go through legal means to reopen its primary production facility.
Tesla’s next facility will likely be located in Texas, and so far, Sen. Ted Cruz has stated on Twitter that the state is fully behind the electric car maker. Texas actually makes sense for Tesla, especially considering that SpaceX, Musk’s private space venture, already has a facility in Boca Chica. If speculations prove right, Tesla can very well be building its first Terafactory in the state, which will be making the Cybertruck, and perhaps other vehicles like Model Y and Semi as well.
Tesla is now at a point where it is producing vehicles that are not intended for a small demographic of car buyers. With the advent of the Model 3 and the Model Y, as well as the upcoming Cybertruck, Tesla is taking on the mainstream market, an industry that counts its production numbers in the hundreds of thousands. This means that the company is now poised to meet the juggernauts of the auto industry like General Motors and Volkswagen head-on, provided that it has the resources to do so. It just has to make sure that its vehicle production activities could not be stopped just because of a single factory shutdown.
With this in mind, it may be a good idea for Tesla to expand its vehicle production capabilities far beyond the Texas Gigafactory/Terafactory. Tesla’s vehicle lineup does not end with the Cybertruck, the Roadster, and the Semi, after all. References to a Tesla van have been stated before, and Tesla has also hinted at a vehicle that’s smaller and more affordable than the Model 3. The more successful Tesla gets, and the more advanced the company’s Full Self-Driving suite becomes, the healthier the demand for Tesla’s vehicles will be. To accomplish this, it may be a good idea to look at legacy auto’s playbook for once, and start establishing car factories across the United States.