As of Monday, Tesla has been under pressure from Alameda County officials to shut down its Fremont, California auto factory to combat the spread of the corona virus. On Thursday, Tesla finally announced it would stop vehicle manufacturing in Fremont.
"We have decided to temporarily suspend production at our Fremont facility from March 23 to allow for proper shutdown," Tesla said in a post on his website.
March 23 is next Monday, a full week after officials in seven Bay Area counties ordered the closure of nonessential companies. To make sure there was no confusion about Tesla's status, Alameda County tweeted on Tuesday that Tesla was not a significant business.
But Tesla persisted. For the past few weeks, Elon Musk has been skeptical of efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. "The risk of panic still goes far beyond the risk of a corona," Musk tweeted on Monday.
Earlier this week, Tesla claimed that it fell under a federal category of "national critical infrastructure" and could therefore continue to be operated under federal law – even as a automaker in Detroit announced that it would stop operating.
By operating the Fremont factory for an additional week, Tesla has time to manufacture several thousand additional vehicles. It is also an additional week in which the coronavirus could spread among Tesla employees – although no employees affected by coronaviruses have been identified so far.
Tesla says it will also cease operating its solar panel factory in New York. Tesla's battery factory in Nevada, known as the "Gigafactory", continues to operate, according to Tesla.
It will be expensive for Tesla to have the Fremont factory idle while workers seek shelter. Fortunately, Tesla had $ 6.3 billion in the bank earlier this year – before the company raised another $ 2.3 billion from the capital markets. That should be enough money to keep Tesla in business, even if the corona virus forces it to leave its factory idle for months.