Tesla Isn’t The Only Automaker Open For Business — But Is Shutting Down Fremont Factory On March 23

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Everyone seems to be mad at Tesla for staying open while several other businesses shut down to try to flatten the curve and prevent the coronavirus from spreading like a wildfire of the molecular variety. But did you know that Tesla isn’t the only automaker that’s been open for business?

Headlines would have you believe that Elon Musk is the villain who forces his employees to work despite the “shelter in place” orders initiated in several counties in California. However, in an email to employees from Elon Musk, he clearly stated that:

“I’d like to be super clear that if you feel the slightest bit ill or even uncomfortable, please do not feel obligated to come to work. I will personally be at work, but that’s just me. Totally OK if you want to stay home for any reason.”

Yet tweets and headlines would imply that Elon is refusing to allow his employees off if they are sick or feeling worried about going to work. Elon clearly said that it was okay if you want to stay home for any reason.

While the critics are in full force, they are pretending that Tesla is the only automaker that is open for business. They pretend Elon is the bad guy while overlooking the fact that Toyota, which almost no one is talking about, will only close down for two days. The two days that Toyota will be closed will be dedicated to cleaning its plants before making employees go back to work. Where is the outrage? Why is the focus only on Tesla, whose CEO told employees that they don’t have to come in if they don’t feel like it?

Further, at least some experts on this topic believe that Tesla is exceptionally well equipped to operate in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While critics are upset that Tesla is encouraging employees to use PTO (personal time off) for when they are sick, it should again be noted that Tesla isn’t the only company that does this. I used to work for Goodwill and when I was ill with bronchitis, I was also encouraged to use my PTO time to cover my sick days — this is so I wouldn’t lose any money off my paycheck. This is actually a pretty common thing in the corporate world. Much of the US economy is based on this system.

It would seem that Tesla gets blamed for doing everything that a normal corporation does: encouraging others to use PTO for sick days, trying to stay productive, trying to make or maintain a profit. Perhaps it is the critics who need to check their own morals before getting angry at Elon Musk for telling his employees to come in only if you feel comfortable doing so. Or, maybe being from Louisiana and being expected to go to work during a category 3 hurricane has made me biased — I had to take the bus during Hurricane Rita and had water up to my knees. It didn’t matter — my boss said that if the buses were running, you come to work. If he had offered me PTO and told me to come in only if I felt like it, I probably would have stayed home and not caught pneumonia.


Still think Elon is the villain in this picture? I think that those who criticize Elon Musk do so out of pure hatred and envy. He has done more for our country than most of us could ever dream of doing. Aside from everything else, look at Flint, Michigan. Our government refused to give Flint, a city in the United States, clean water. Residents were bathing, drinking, and cooking with water with high amounts of lead in it. Elon Musk, a private citizen, stepped up when Mari Copeny, a young student who advocates for clean water for her and her peers, asked him for help.

Perhaps people should be grateful when Elon offers to help instead of critical. Instead of making fun of him because you think he is an “out of touch billionaire,” be glad that there is someone with access to those types of resources (billions of dollars and an influential reach) who is willing to give aid.

If I needed a ventilator, I’d be happy to accept one from Elon Musk. I am sure those who might die because there is a shortage would love one from him, also. However, instead of bashing Elon from the comfort of your keyboard, be grateful that you don’t need a ventilator and realize that those who died due to lack of ventilators in Italy and other countries would have gladly accepted Elon’s help.

Tesla has just published an update that the factory will be shutting down at the end of March 23. Here’s the full release:

PALO ALTO, Calif., March 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — 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 honored 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 $6.3B before our recent $2.3B 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 $3B including working capital lines for all regions as well as financing for the expansion of our Shanghai factory.

All photos by CleanTechnica

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Johnna Crider

Johnna owns less than one share of $TSLA currently and supports Tesla's mission. She also gardens, collects interesting minerals and can be found on TikTok

Johnna Crider has 1996 posts and counting. See all posts by Johnna Crider