Elon Musk says that if anyone is going to be arrested because Tesla has started making the Model 3 and Model Y electric vehicles again in Fremont, he wants it to be him, and only him.
The Tesla CEO and co-founder confirmed in a tweet on Tuesday morning (Australian time) that the EV maker would recommence production, counter to Alameda county orders that it stay shuttered until permission is given to recommence manufacturing.
“Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me,” Musk said.
Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2020
The tweet follows a series of combative tweets from the Tesla CEO and co-founder who has railed against the Covid-19 “shelter-in-place” orders originally put in place by the state of California and some of which were lifted on Friday.
Tesla had at first defied orders put in place in March saying it was an essential industry, but then shuttered the factory on March 23 before furloughing around half of its staff.
Musk has been keen to restart manufacturing of the Model 3 and Model Y, arguing that the stay-at-home measures are unconstitutional. At the company’s first quarter earnings call he went so far as to call them “fascist”.
The governor of California confirmed on Twitter that some restrictions would be lifted on Friday to which Musk replied, “Yeah!!”
But the Alameda county later said that Tesla had not been given permission to restarted manufacturing again, after which Musk threatened to pull Tesla’s Palo Alto headquarters out of the state of California, while Tesla filed a federal lawsuit against the county saying it had overstepped its jurisdiction.
Now, Musk’s latest comment confirms reports that Tesla has in fact restarted manufacturing already.
A video shared on Twitter shows what appears to be several new Model 3s on the back of a truck, and a number of unnamed employees told The Verge that around 200 Model Y and Model 3 electric cars have been made at Fremont after Tesla called some workers back in to work.
Tesla’s leaving the factory in Fremont on back of car carriers. Employee lot full, especially compared to Friday morning at this time. Company hasn’t confirmed whether manufacturing has ramped back up in defiance of Alameda County shelter in place order. #Tesla @nbcbayarea pic.twitter.com/sJakGxrrA2
— Bob Redell (@BobNBC) May 11, 2020
Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory was also closed down temporarily to help contain the highly contagious Coronavirus, but reopened in March with the assistance of the Shanghai government.
Another video shared on Twitter shows some of the measures taken by the Shanghai factory to ensure that going back to work presented a minimum risk to workers, such as a mask disinfection cabinet every 200 metres and spaced tables in the canteen.
— Ray4️⃣Tesla⚡️🚘☀️🔋 (@ray4tesla) March 13, 2020
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Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.