- After days of going back and forth with authorities, Tesla will shut down its Buffalo and Fremont plants – both of which are in states hard hit by the coronavirus.
- Operations will cease at the end of the day on Monday, March 23rd.
- “You should continue to report to your current location til the end of day Monday as current operations will continue over the next few days,” the company told employees in an email on Thursday.
- Hourly employees will be provided paid leave once operations are suspended.
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Tesla will suspend production at its Fremont facility starting end of day March 23rd, according to an internal email viewed by Business Insider. Fremont is an California’s Alameda County which is currently under a shelter-in-place order due to the coronavirus.
“You should continue to report to your current location til the end of day Monday as current operations will continue over the next few days,” the email said.
It continued: “Staring Tuesday March 24 we will transition to minimum basic operations to support vehicle and energy service operations and customers, and Supercharging infrastructure as directed by authorities.”
Tesla also posted the news on its investor relations site. This change in policy took place Thursday after Tesla deliberated with local officials. As late as Wednesday night Tesla was running its Fremont factory, according to two workers, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal. The company handed out facemasks and placed hand sanitizer around the factory, but did not give workers gloves, one of the workers said.
On March 6th Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the panic over coronavirus “was dumb,” and downplayed the risk of the COVID-19. He later offered to make ventilators, which are in dire need as America combats the virus, but has since hedged that offer.
Tesla’s Buffalo plant will also be closed starting the end of day March 23rd.
Hourly employees in both locations will continue to receive pay as normal until operations cease. After that Tesla will provide paid leave. This is also a change in policy. Tesla employees had previously been told they would have to use paid time off if they took off work for the coronavirus. At least four employees Business Insider spoke to said they were scared of losing their jobs if they took time off.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
If you work and Tesla and want to talk about how it’s dealing with coronavirus or anything else, shoot me an email at [email protected]
Here’s the full memo from Tesla’s investor relations site:
Tesla Operational Update
In the past few days, we have met with local, state and federal officials. We have followed and are continuing to follow all legal directions and safety guidelines with respect to the operations of our facilities, and have honoured the Federal Government’s direction to continue operating. Despite taking all known health precautions, continued operations in certain locations has caused challenges for our employees, their families and our suppliers.
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. Operations of our others facilities will continue, including Nevada and our service and Supercharging network.
In many locations, we are in the process of implementing “touchless deliveries” so customers can continue to take delivery of their vehicle in a seamless and safe way. Due to the unique over-the-air connectivity of our vehicles, customers are able to unlock their new cars at a delivery parking lot via the Tesla App, sign any remaining relevant paperwork that has been placed in their car, and return that paperwork to an on-site drop-off location prior to leaving. This method provides additional convenience and comfort.
Our cash position at the end of Q4 2019 was $US6.3B before our recent $US2.3B capital raise. We believe this level of liquidity is sufficient to successfully navigate an extended period of uncertainty. At the end of Q4 2019, we had available credit lines worth approximately $US3B including working capital lines for all regions as well as financing for the expansion of our Shanghai factory.
Mark Matousek contributed to this report.
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