Elon Musk threatens to move Tesla production out of California

Elon Musk on Saturday threatened to take the state of California to court to reopen the Fremont Tesla plant despite the stay-at-home order. He also threatened to move Tesla production to Nevada or Texas.

Musk tweeted “Tesla is filing a lawsuit against Alameda County immediately. The unelected & ignorant ‘Interim Health Officer’ of Alameda is acting contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms & just plain common sense!” Musk then wrote “Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen [sic] on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.” 

In an e-mail sent Thursday night, Musk called 30% of the Tesla Fremont factory workforce back to the plant to start making cars, saying Governor Gavin Newsom’s order permitted it, CBS San Francisco reports.  

But the northern California plant was shuttered March 23 under a six-county order in the San Francisco area, which has been extended through May 31. Newsom has said local orders supersede the state ones. 

“Based upon conditions on the ground … I want to thank the local health directors in the Bay Area for doing what they think is right for their communities,” Newsom said in a news conference Friday. 

Fremont Mayor Lily Mei issued a statement Saturday saying Fremont, a city of over 230,000, is encouraging the county to “engage with local businesses to come up with acceptable guidelines for re-opening our local economy.” She said the city is “prepared to support Tesla as soon as they are able to resume automobile manufacturing operations and are committed to a thoughtful, balanced approach to this effort that remains safe for our Fremont community.”

Musk has been critical of California’s stay-at-home order before. During an April 29 call, Musk called social distancing measures “fascist” and said they posed a “serious risk” to Tesla.

“If somebody wants to stay in their house, that’s great,” Musk said, according to a recording of the call reviewed by CBS News. “They can stay in their house and they should not be compelled to leave. But to say that they cannot leave their house and they will be arrested if they do, this is fascist. This is not democratic, this is not freedom. Give people back their g**d*** freedom.” 

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Moneywatch – CBSNews.com

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