Elon Musk announces Tesla will ‘move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately’
Tesla CEO Elon Musk threatened Saturday to pull the company’s factory and headquarters out of California and sued local officials who have stopped the company from reopening its electric vehicle factory.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court, Tesla accused the Alameda County Health Department of overstepping federal and state coronavirus restrictions when it stopped Tesla from restarting production at its factory in Fremont. The lawsuit contends Tesla factory workers are allowed to work during California’s stay-at-home order because the facility is considered “critical infrastructure.”
“Frankly, this is the final straw,” Musk tweeted. “Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately.”
He wrote that whether the company keeps any manufacturing in Fremont depends on how Tesla is treated in the future.
Musk has been ranting about the stay-home order since the company’s April 29 first-quarter earnings were released, calling the restrictions fascist and urging governments to stop taking people’s freedom.
An order in the six-county San Francisco Bay Area forced Tesla to close the plant starting March 23 to help prevent the virus’ spread, and it was extended until the end of May. Public health experts say the orders have reduced the number of new coronavirus cases nationwide. California Gov. Gavin Newsom allowed the Bay Area counties to continue restrictions while easing them in other areas of the state.
In a statement Saturday, Alameda County’s Health Department said it has been working with Tesla to develop a safety plan allowing the Fremont plant to reopen while protecting workers. “We look forward to coming to an agreement on an appropriate safety plan very soon,” the statement said.
But the statement also said residents and businesses have made sacrifices to protect the health of people in the region. “It is our collective responsibility to move through the phases of reopening and loosening the restrictions of the shelter-in-place order in the safest way possible, guided by data and science,” the department said.
The coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. But it has killed more than 78,000 people in the U.S., with the death toll rising.
Ives wrote that there’s now a high-stakes poker game between Musk and county officials — and Musk showed his cards. “Now all eyes move to the courts and the response from Alameda County and potentially California state officials.”
Musk’s tweets come as competing automakers are starting to reopen factories in the U.S. Toyota will restart production on Monday, while General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler all plan to restart their plants gradually on May 18. Tesla is the only major automaker with a factory in California.
Musk’s announcement got the attention of San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who tweeted “F*ck Elon Musk” in response to his threat.
Gonzalez crude tweet sparked massive criticism from Californians and others across the United States. Many pointing out that Musk employs tens of thousands of Californians, and the overreaching regulations are preventing many companies from operating.
Others compared Gonzalez’s tweet cheering California job loss to her “job killing” legislation, Assembly Bill 5.
Gonzalez took to Twitter to try and clarify her original tweet, but didn’t apologize for her rude display of behavior towards a Californian.
Monday morning, the official Hidalgo County Twitter account reached out to Musk inviting him to move Tesla to Texas. The tweet said, “Hey @ElonMusk: Hidalgo County @JudgeCortez and @GovAbbott are ready to accommodate @Tesla.”