The tide is turning at Tesla after a tumultuous weekend. A quick recap: the Fremont factory has been shuttered due to COVID-19 since March 23rd. However, last week California's Governor gave the green light to manufacturers to reopen. In direct conflict with California's Governor (and Federal guidelines), an unelected interim official in Alameda County decided to force Tesla's Fremont factory to remain closed.
In response, Elon Musk promptly sued Alameda County and threatened to leave California. Local support for Tesla was swift. The Mayor of Fremont, Lily Mei, announced, "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... the City is prepared to support Tesla.”
In turn, Adrian Fine, Mayor of Palo Alto (where Tesla's HQ is located), also announced, "I would be really sad and disappointed if Tesla left the City of Palo Alto, and stand ready to help. I truly appreciate having a cutting edge company based here, employing people, paying taxes, and helping to solve the climate crisis. Happy to help Elon Musk."
Above: Inside the decision to reopen Tesla's factory (YouTube: Reuters)
Along with support from local authorities, the U.S. Treasury Secretary also weighed in yesterday. Steven Mnuchin said on CNBC, "I agree with Elon Musk. He’s one of the biggest employers and manufacturers in California, and California should prioritize doing whatever they need to do to solve those health issues so that he can open quickly and safely."
Then, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced in yesterday's press conference, "As it relates to Tesla, I have long been a strong advocate and supporter... I have great reverence for their technology, for their innovative spirit [and] their leadership. And I have great expectations that we can work through, at the county level, the issue with this particular county."
Meanwhile, all other U.S. auto companies have been approved to resume factory production. Only Tesla has been singled out. With support at the federal, state, and local levels, Elon Musk decided it was time to reopen Tesla's factory. He tweeted, "Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the [production] line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me."