Elon Musk Threatens Authorities Over Mandated Tesla Factory Shutdown
By Tim Higgins
Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk says he's ready to abandon
California as the home of the electric-car maker and is taking his
fight to reopen the auto maker's lone U.S. assembly factory to
court after local government officials on Friday told the company
it couldn't reopen amid efforts to fight the coronavirus
While other parts of California are reopening after
shelter-in-place orders have shut down nonessential businesses
since March, Tesla's factory is located in Fremont, near San
Francisco, where local government authorities are taking a more
stringent approach to fighting the Covid-19 outbreak.
Mr. Musk, via Twitter, on Saturday said: "Tesla is filing a
lawsuit against Alameda County immediately. The unelected &
ignorant "Interim Health Officer" of Alameda is acting contrary to
the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms & just
plain common sense!"
The county health department didn't immediately respond to a
request for comment.
Tesla initially fought to stay open in March when the local
order was first announced but eventually relented under pressure,
stopping production on March 23. It had hoped to reopen resume
manufacturing on May 4, a day after the shelter-in-place had been
scheduled to be lifted but that order was extended last week
through the end of May, sparking Mr. Musk to call such restrictions
a violation of people's rights and equated them to fascism.
After California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday said the state
would begin phasing in the reopening of some businesses, including
manufacturing, Mr. Musk cheered the news on Twitter and sent a memo
to his employees saying the factory would resume work on Friday.
But hours later, the Alameda Public Health Department said in a
statement that Tesla had been informed that it couldn't reopen
Mr. Musk, a frequent user of Twitter, on Saturday said on the
social-media site: "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."
Gov. Newsom has said he supports local communities enforcing
stronger shelter-in-place even as other parts of the state come
Mr. Musk in March said Tesla was seeking a site for a new U.S.
automobile assembly factory. "Incentives play a role, but so do
logistics costs, access to a large workforce with a wide range of
talents, and quality of life," he told The Wall Street Journal at
Tesla began the year planning to boost deliveries more than 36%,
though on an earnings call last month didn't reiterate the guidance
and said it was too early to say what the impact of the Covid-19
heath crisis would be on its business.
In an interview with Joe Rogan's podcast released Thursday, Mr.
Musk called the orders a violation of the U.S. Constitutional right
to assemble. "I don't think these things stand up in court," Mr.
Musk said. "We should be concerned about anything that is a massive
infringement on our civil liberties."
Write to Tim Higgins at Tim.Higgins@WSJ.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 09, 2020 14:06 ET (18:06 GMT)
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