Tesla to Reduce Gigafactory Staff by 75 Percent
With Panasonic having already made plans to ramp down production at the Nevada battery facility it shares with Tesla, followed by a 14-day closure to curtail the spread of the new coronavirus, its business partner has decided to follow suit. Tesla now plans on reducing on-site staff at Gigafactory 1 by 75 percent, according to the local county manager Austin Osborne.
“Tesla has informed us that the Gigafactory in Storey County is reducing on-site staff by roughly 75 [percent] in the coming days,” he explained via the county’s website on Thursday. “Our companies at [Tahoe Reno Industrial Center] TRIC are taking the COVID-19 matter seriously, and regularly report to us the measures they are taking to adhere to the established guidelines while maintaining essential operations. Checking employee temperatures, creating central access, allowing remote work, maintaining workstation distance, and others are occurring.”
While Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been adamant that it’s important to get some factories back up and running as soon as possible to supply medical ventilators ( an interesting product shift for an interesting period), he’s walked back some of his earlier claims that COVID-19 was overblown.
After becoming one of the few automotive holdouts in the United States still attempting to maintain production, the manufacturer has since suspended assembly at its vehicle factory in Fremont, CA. It also has a couple of known coronavirus cases within its staff, though nobody has confirmed where those workers hail from — just that they are now quarantined at home.
The Nevada Gigafactory produces Model 3 electric motors, battery packs, and various energy storage solutions sold by Tesla (e.g. Powerwall, Powerpack). Meanwhile, Panasonic handles the physical cells used in the automaker’s battery packs. Since there won’t be any Panasonic employees on hand to put those together next week, Tesla is left with little recourse, as this creates an impassable gap in its immediate battery supply chain.
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