Tesla has found a successor for Jatinder Dhillon. According to reports, Richard Miller now heads production at the Fremont plant. Miller is taking over the job at a difficult time, but there seems to be an “agreement” with Alameda County about reopening the plant.
Richard Miller is no stranger to Tesla, having previously headed the Fremont paint shop, so he is an experienced production manager. According to TechCrunch, Tesla employees learnt of his promotion via e-mail. He replaces Jatinder Dhillon, who already left Tesla.
“Due to his outstanding performance as head of the paint shop in Fremont, Richard Miller is now promoted to the position of overall manager of Fremont production,” TechCrunch quotes from the email.
In his new role, Miller can immediately prove himself as a crisis manager – even though he was already one of the plant’s senior employees before, he now has a far greater overall responsibility. Tesla resumed production in Fremont on Monday on the instructions of Elon Musk and contrary to the instructions of local authorities. Alameda County had last extended the initial coronavirus lockdown until the end of May, which would have meant that Tesla would not be able to restart production until early June at the earliest.
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However, Musk’s rush has now apparently led to a compromise. The Alameda County Health Department is allowing Tesla to prepare for a restart at the Fremont plant this week and start production next week. Partial success for both sides: Tesla is allowed to build cars again before June, but Alameda County has prevailed with a later restart. Tesla has, in the meantime, presented the required plan for hygiene and clearance measures, the County says in explanation. In cooperation with the police, they want to make sure that Tesla employees observe the safety distance and other regulations.
The County has made it clear that, on the one hand, the regulations now in place must be observed (which Tesla can influence) and, on the other hand, the “public health indicators” – i.e. the level of infection in the County – must remain stable.
Meanwhile, as reported by The Verge concerning an internal mail from Tesla, the Californians have also resumed full production at Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. The employees will be given a definite date for their return to work within 24 hours, it is said. The number of passengers on the shuttle buses to the remote Nevada plant is said to have been reduced so that the workers there can also keep the distances. They also point out that better protective equipment is available on site.
However, it is still unclear whether the partner Panasonic will again send its employees to Gigafactory 1. Panasonic manufactures the round cells of type 2170 there, as they are installed in Model 3 and Model Y. The Tesla workers then assemble the Panasonic cells into ready-to-install battery packs. Tesla also manufactures electric motors in Nevada. Without the Panasonic cells, it is hardly possible to maintain full production in the Tesla part of Gigafactory 1 and even in the Fremont electric vehicle plant.
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