Coronavirus: Tesla Suspends Production At Main Factory

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Tesla Model 3. Image credit: Tesla

Electric carmaker’s main factory in California has ceased production for three weeks in bid to slow spread of the Covid-19 pandemic

Tesla has implemented a three week lockdown for its main factory in California in an effort to stem the global Coronavirus pandemic.

The move comes as the North American manufacturing plants of Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler (FCA) have been closed down until 30 March.

Tesla’s California factory was last in the headlines in January this year, when it emerged that two former workers claimed in a lawsuit the facility was a hotbed of racial hostility – a claim Tesla denies.

Tesla's Model 3 sedan. Image credit: Tesla
Tesla’s Model 3 sedan. Image credit: Tesla

Factory closure

The three week lockdown at the Californian facility comes as the company had hoped to ramp up production of the Model Y electric vehicle, the BBC reported.

Chief executive Elon Musk had reportedly said he hoped to continue manufacturing and delivering cars as normal. Musk had previously written to workers, saying work at the Fremont plant would continue but they should not feel obligated to come in.

“My frank opinion remains that the harm from the coronavirus panic far exceeds that of the virus itself,” he wrote in an email to employees.

He has also tweeted similar thoughts, the BBC reported.

The factory is located in Alameda County, to the south of San Francisco. It employs 10,000 workers and produces 415,000 electric vehicles a year.

The region in which it is located is limiting travel and business functions to only the most essential.

China shutdown

In January 2020 Tesla opened a design and research facility in China, in an effort to make “Chinese-style” vehicles for the local market.

However its first factory outside of the United States in Shanghai, which was expected to build 500,000 cars per year by 2020, was shut down for 10 weeks, when the virus was at its peak in China.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are 225,252 cases of Coronavirus around the world, with 9,276 death as of Thursday 19 March.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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