It was imperative for Tesla to reopen its Fremont factory.
Before I dive into my personal thoughts on Tesla’s reopening of its Fremont factory, I just want to reinforce that this is my opinion, and I know this may rub some people the wrong way, but that’s not the intent.
I really encourage anyone who reads this to E-Mail or Tweet me if you have a strong opinion that either agrees or disagrees with my point of view. I won’t take any of the other thoughts personally, as I think a massive part of being a better person is to look at varying points of view, especially ones that differ from my own.
With that being said, let’s get started.
Tesla “reopened” Fremont last Sunday, with some workers telling local media by sunrise on that following Monday morning that they had just completed a 12-hour shift at the plant. How Tesla managed to do this, I don’t know. I found it quite impressive that they were able to fly under the radar for as long as they did.
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Elon Musk had been in a heavy sparring session with Alameda County. After Gavin Newsom, the Governor of California, stated a collection of facilities would be able to reopen, Tesla immediately started making plans. And why shouldn’t they? Newsom’s orders applied to manufacturing businesses, among others. Last I checked, Tesla is an automotive manufacturer.
However, Alameda County wasn’t ready to give in. They wouldn’t let Tesla reopen, even though the Governor said it was okay as long as the business maintained health and safety standards. We already know Tesla is more than capable of doing that, considering Giga Shanghai has been up and running since February 10. China was the world epicenter of the virus, and the proper precautions were taken at the Tesla facility in Shanghai. This has led to the facility not only producing new variants and customizable features for the Model 3, but it seems they could be just half a year away from having Phase 2 complete. This would make the Model Y available in China very soon.
Then Tesla released the “Return to Work Playbook.” 38-pages of information that would lead to a safe and healthy work environment for the 10,000 people working at Fremont. Not only would it get Tesla back to cranking out electric vehicles, but it would help people get back to work.
I know that unemployment is available, and I know that people were not losing their benefits, but people do need to work. Tesla is still relatively young, and if the company didn’t start making cars again, people would lose benefits, their pay, and their jobs altogether.
But the impact of closing Tesla’s doors because of a lack of production is much more significant than 10,000 people losing their jobs in Fremont. We’re talking about Tesla employees across the world losing their jobs. Bigger than that, the fight for sustainable transportation and energy would also be set back once again, perhaps ten years or more.
It was evident to me (and Elon Musk) that drastic measures needed to be taken. Musk took it upon himself to call people back to work, and people who wanted to be there could. People that needed to stay home for their health were also allowed to do so.
This is how it should be during a pandemic. Things have seemed to settle down from what I understand, and there is probable cause to believe that figures may be skewed to an extent. However, there is no confirmation that this is the case, and we’ll probably never have one. But why not give people the option to go to work if they choose? This country thrived on businesses running and people working.
Despite all of the evidence that Tesla knew what it was doing, Alameda County did not want the factory to reopen. Musk took it in his own hands and opened the facility himself. This eventually led to some controversy, and people believed the automaker was getting preferential treatment.
Preferential treatment? How? This is the same company that was told it couldn’t open its doors just a day after the Governor said it could. How is that preferential treatment? Tesla literally had to take a huge gamble and open the factory under its own terms just to get some attention.
Look what happened. Tesla reopened, Alameda responded, Tesla gave the County its safety plan, and they’re going to open next week. They are slightly above “Minimum Basic Operations” currently, but next week it appears Tesla will be back to producing its industry-leading electric vehicles.
I know this is going to ruffle some feathers, but Tesla had to make a drastic move to get the County’s attention. They couldn’t be swept under the rug anymore, and they couldn’t continue to have their startup date pushed back. The future of the Earth depends on having these vehicles built.
TSLAQ might say, “It is just a ploy for Elon to put money in his pocket.” Well, news flash, he’s got plenty of it. I think he’s more concerned about the well-being of his employees at this point. He’s more concerned about saving the world from utter destruction if electric cars don’t become the “norm” of transportation soon.
That’s why his risky move to reopen Fremont in an unapproved setting was totally worth it. There is no reason anyone should have to stay home from work if they don’t think it is necessary. If you’re scared of the virus and believe you are in danger, then stay home, especially if you are given that option.
Tesla made the jump, and it worked out, and it may rub some people the wrong way. After all, not everyone is going to agree with you.
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