The bitter dispute has escalated even more over the past two days, right after plans to re-open had to be canceled. On Friday, Musk sent a letter to Fremont employees, letting them know that they would be back to work. Some hours later, officials from the County of Alameda were saying Tesla had not been given the greenlight to open and doing so would be against the law.
As he’s known to do, Musk then took to Twitter to vent. Among other things, he said the County’s order contravenes the most recent guidance from California Governor Gavin Newsom, which welcomes easing restrictions and allows businesses to reopen partly. Though Newsom did say local governments could keep more restrictions in place, Musk believes doing so is unconstitutional, in Tesla’s case.
He also threatened to move the Gigafactory out of California, to Texas or Nevada, unless the County reconsidered its stance and allowed it to open as scheduled. Under current stay-at-home orders, the Tesla factory could hope for a partial re-open in the first days of June.
Some hours later, Musk turned his words into action, and filed a lawsuit seeking injunctive and declaratory relief against the Alameda County. You can view the filing here, but the bottom line is the argument that the County can’t keep Tesla shuttered if the Governor says it can re-open under certain conditions. The lawsuit also makes it clear: Tesla is an essential business because it’s in the solar panels business, an EV / battery maker and a key player in the state’s economy.
“I’m not messing around,” Musk says on Twitter. “Absurd & medically irrational behavior in violation of constitutional civil liberties, moreover by *unelected* county officials with no accountability, needs to stop.”
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 on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2020
I’m not messing around. Absurd & medically irrational behavior in violation of constitutional civil liberties, moreover by *unelected* county officials with no accountability, needs to stop.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2020