By on March 19, 2020

tesla model 3

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.

[Image: Tesla]

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12 Comments on “Tesla Shuts ‘er Down in Fremont, Buffalo...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Thumbs up for “touchless deliveries”.

    Thumbs down for March 23; they could do it sooner, and they should.

    Two thumbs down about the Gigafactory; that place employs 7000 people, and they’re crazy to keep it open. This is one instance where a union would be helpful.

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      “Two thumbs down about the Gigafactory; that place employs 7000 people”

      –Don’t be surprised to read here tomorrow that Nevada health authorities have “reached an agreement with Tesla management to suspend Gigafactory operations.”

      • 0 avatar

        @RHenry: Don’t be surprised to read here tomorrow that Nevada health authorities have “reached an agreement with Tesla management to suspend Gigafactory operations.

        Maybe not. Battery manufacturing is done in cleanrooms. You can’t have contamination. Everyone is already in protective clothing and respirators etc. The employees are safer at work than at home. Unless there are raw material shortages, there is no reason to shut it down as far as I know.

        • 0 avatar

          There are also dryrooms. COVID-19 won’t be transmitted in that environment. I’m sure any moisture from the employee’s breath would be controlled in that environment.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          Do they eat their lunches and take a dump in those clean rooms?

          • 0 avatar

            The lunch part would be easy to deal with. You could require them to eat in their cars. For the bathroom, just require them to keep their respirator on (not a bad thing anyway) and have each individual sanitize surfaces after each use.

            Probably a lot safer than being a Walmart, supermarket, or hospital employee.

  • avatar

    Yeah, right. Let’s shutdown the whole economy. No pollution, no work, no income, no commerce. It reminds me collapse of the USSR.

  • avatar

    “Well, I fight authority, authority always wins”

  • avatar

    Speaking of Tesla: my wife and I have been car shopping to replace her gas-hog Infiniti M35x.

    Up for consideration is a 2018 Buick Regal TourX with only 13k-something miles. Yes it’s being dropped by GM. And yes getting body and other parts may become an issue in the future. But I really like the looks and the wagon usability.

    But we’re also considering a Tesla Model 3 Standard with Extended Range. My only concerns: interior noise is reported as being high which wears me out on longer drives. Also the whole “touch screen for everything” seems like a PITA. Any owners out there who can comment on their experience?

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t own a Model 3, but I did try one out, and I loved everything about it except for the “touchscreen for everything” nonsense. I’m sure you get used to it, but that doesn’t make me like it any more.

      Maybe you should hold out for a Mach-E – it looks like Ford combined the Big A** Touchscreen with actual physical controls.

      • 0 avatar

        Let’s see, which one is it that’s guilty of pushing a new model out to the public and letting them be the beta testers? Ford, GM, Tesla, I’m not sure!?? Today, sometimes it seems as though you gamble on being the first buyer of a new product!

  • avatar

    Wow. With Tesla shutting down things, who will build AMC level of quality products that have their fanbois swooning to buy? I swear the fools that buy these cars accept horrifc paint and panel and interior fits as if these flaws were signs of superiority. I was shocked at how utterly awful the assembly and paint quality of these things have become. I can understand if this is your first year building things that you’ll have issues, but these are vehicles mass produced off of seasoned assembly lines. There is no excuse to have paint flaws that you’d complain about in a $12,000 Ford (if you could buy one).

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