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Tesla’s Fremont factory forced to shutdown again, prompting Musk to threaten to leave California

3 min read
Musk looks on at SpaceX Falcon 9 post-launch news conference in Cape Canaveral

SpaceX founder Elon Musk looks on at a post-launch news conference after the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifted off on an uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., March 2, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake - RC12CE22F3F0

It appears Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s frustration with California grew to a boiling point early Saturday, with Musk threatening to leave California over the prolonged shutdown of Tesla’s Fremont factory.

Musk had hoped to open the factory in a limited capacity on Friday, after being idle for over a month due to the coronavirus outbreak. But late Friday, Alameda County ordered Tesla to once again shut down operations at the factory, which is the only plant in the US that manufactures vehicles for Tesla.

On Saturday morning, Musk took to Twitter to air his frustrations with the situation, threatening to leave California immediately, moving Tesla’s head office to Texas and Nevada.


Musk’s frustrations lie with Alameda County in particular, as California Governor Gavin Newsom said earlier this week that manufacturers in the state would be allowed to reopen. However, Alameda County is ignoring the order, with plans to remain shutdown until the end of May, with only essential businesses allowed to reopen.

Soon after his tweets, Musk got some support from the Mayor of the City of Fremont, Lily Mei, who said in statement the city is prepared support Tesla in their efforts to reopen in a safe and responsible manner.

As the local shelter-in-place order continues without provisions for major manufacturing activity, such as Tesla, to resume, I am growing concerned about the potential implications for our regional economy. We know many essential businesses have proven they can successfully operate using strict safety and social distancing practices. I strongly believe these same practices could be possible for other manufacturing businesses, especially those that are so critical to our employment base. The City encourages the County to engage with our local businesses to come up with acceptable guidelines for re-opening our local economy. As we have done for over a decade, the City is prepared to support Tesla as soon as they are able to resume automobile manufacturing operations and are committed to a thoughtful, balanced approach to this effort that remains safe for our Fremont community.

If Musk does intend to leave California, it would take some time for the process to happen. But given his apparent frustration at the moment, it wouldn’t be surprising to see it happen quicker than most would think.

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