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Tesla resumes Model 3 manufacturing as legal battle looms overhead

Published May 11th, 2020 7:05PM EDT
Tesla Cars
Image: TierneyMJ/Shutterstock

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  • Tesla filed a lawsuit against Alameda County over the weekend so that it can resume operations at its Fremont factory in California.
  • Meanwhile, Tesla reportedly started manufacturing Tesla vehicles over the weekend.
  • Frustrated with the imposed lockdown, Elon Musk recently threatened to move Tesla out of California.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

In a move that should surprise no one, The Verge is reporting that Tesla started manufacturing cars once again at its factory in Fremont, California.

“The company called back some of its workers and has completed around 200 cars Model Y and Model 3 vehicles, according to two current employees,” the report reads.

The legality of Tesla’s decision here remains up in the air and comes in the wake of a lawsuit the company filed against Alameda County for refusing to let it reopen its Fremont factory. Tesla’s lawsuit was filed shortly after California started loosening up restrictions regarding which type of businesses can resume operations. Note that Tesla’s Fremont factory has been closed since mid-March and Elon Musk isn’t happy about it. Hardly a surprise, Musk has long maintained that efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic have been too heavy-handed. In an internal memo sent out to Tesla employees a few weeks ago, Musk opined that “the harm from the coronavirus panic far exceeds that of the virus itself.”

As to the lawsuit, Musk took to social media over the weekend to fire off a few of his own thoughts on the matter.

“Tesla is filing a lawsuit against Alameda County immediately,” Musk said via Twitter. “The unelected & ignorant ‘Interim Health Officer’ of Alameda is acting contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms & just plain common sense!”

The lawsuit reads in part:

Through its own guidance, Alameda County has expressly recognized and publicized that “businesses may . . . operate to manufacture” batteries and electric vehicles. Inexplicably, however, the Third Order as well as County officials have simultaneously insisted that Tesla must remain shuttered, thereby further compounding the ambiguity, confusion and irrationality surrounding Alameda County’s position as to whether Tesla may resume manufacturing activities at its Fremont Factory and elsewhere in the County.

In short, Tesla maintains that its business should be deemed essential and that rulings and statements to the contrary are being made by Alameda officials without any due process.

Meanwhile, Musk is so frustrated with the situation that he threatened to move Tesla’s operations out of California.

“Frankly, this is the final straw,” Musk tweeted over the weekend. “Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately.”

All in all, Tesla’s decision to resume operations is hardly surprising in light of Musk’s views on the coronavirus. During Tesla’s recent earnings conference call, for example, Musk said stay-at-home directives were “fascist” and were tantamount to locking people up.

“Frankly,” Musk said, “I would call it forcible imprisoning of people in their homes against all of, their constitutional rights. It’s breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong and not why they came to America or built this country.”

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.