Tesla might be as eager to get back to manufacturing EVs as it was reluctant to stop. Bloomberg reports seeing internal Tesla messages calling back some Fremont factory workers for April 29th, or days before the San Francisco Bay Area’s COVID-19 stay-at-home orders tentatively lift on May 3rd. It’s not certain why Tesla would ask for the staff, who’d work in the painting and stamping division, although Electrek noted that the company was allowed to have a small number of employees on-site. A team at the plant may have been upgrading Model Y production during the downtime since the shutdown took effect in late March.
We’ve asked Tesla for comment.
The company initially resisted government orders to stop work, and it’s not hard to understand why. A shutdown means lost deliveries and revenue (Credit Suisse estimates a $300 million cash burn per week), and it’s doubtful Tesla will come close to matching its lofty production numbers of recent months with Fremont idle for at least one month this quarter. A quick return to production might help it salvage the quarter. As with other factory restarts, though, the question is whether or not Tesla might be returning too soon — any COVID-19 infections at its factory could be just as disruptive as a government-ordered closure.