Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced via Twitter on Saturday that the company will move both its headquarters and future programs to Texas or Nevada immediately.
Thursday night Tesla had moved to recall about 30% of its workers at its Fremont, California, assembly plant. Alameda County, where its Fremont assembly plant is located, moved to block that, saying that Tesla would be out of compliance with its stay-at-home order.
That sparked a series of statements on the matter from Musk, as well as legal action from the company—a likely indication the Tesla board is standing behind Musk on this one.
I’m not messing around. Absurd & medically irrational behavior in violation of constitutional civil liberties, moreover by *unelected* county officials with no accountability, needs to stop.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2020
Musk on Saturday announced that Tesla was filing a lawsuit against Alameda County, where the facility is located, immediately. The “complaint for injunctive and declaratory relief” disputes the county’s authority over a recent order from California governor Gavin Newsom allowing federally defined “critical infrastructure”—which Tesla sees itself as—open.
“The unelected and ignorant ‘Interim Health Officer’ of Alameda is acting contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms, and just plain common sense,” Musk said via Twitter.
Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2020
Many on Twitter pointed out that Tesla already has more experience dealing with the coronavirus crisis than most other Bay Area companies, as its Shanghai Gigafactory is under Tesla’s direct control. Musk encouraged shareholders to wage their own class action suit on the matter.
Alameda County issued an extensive statement on Tesla Saturday afternoon, noting that they have been working closely with the Tesla team on the ground in Fremont. “It is our collective responsibility to move through the phases of reopening and loosening the restrictions of the Shelter-in-Place Order in the safest way possible, guided by data and science,” it stated.
The heated exchange and lawsuit follow what amounted to an expletive-filled rant during Tesla’s quarterly call with analysts and investors late last month. Musk then called stay-at-home orders “fascist” and argued it was limiting freedom.
Tesla factory, Fremont, California
Musk pointed out that Tesla is “the last carmaker left” in California. Karma is the only exception to that statement. It’s privately held, and has told Green Car Reports that it doesn’t disclose production numbers; by all accounts it produces a very, very small volume of Revero GT and GTS models.
Lucid Motors is based in California and seeks inspiration from the Golden State in its design themes but plans to assemble its electric vehicles in Arizona.
Tesla Motors production line for Tesla Model S, Fremont, California
Tesla has assembled vehicles at the former GM (and Toyota) facility in Fremont since 2012. It currently builds all of its vehicles there except for those for China at the plant, and it’s made several waves of improvements that, as of its last quarterly report, have led to a claimed installed annual capacity of 500,000 vehicles. It has a European Gigafactory under construction outside Berlin, and is currently mulling locations for a second U.S. factory.
California is the electric-vehicle epicenter of the U.S. Would you feel differently about Tesla if it were no longer based in California or Silicon Valley? Does it matter? Let us know in your comments below.