Not long after Tesla made its announcement that it would be pausing production at its Freemont factory and Gigafactory 2, Panasonic announced that it would be pulling its employees from the jointly run Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada. This effectively has put a pause on Tesla battery production in the factory.
The decision came late last week and states that the operations would start to wind down early this week before pausing production for at least 14 days. A Panasonic spokesperson released the following statement:
Panasonic is committed to safeguarding the health and well-being of every employee. The Panasonic factory in Sparks, Nevada will begin ramping down operations early next week and will then close for 14 days. Employees impacted by the closure will receive full pay and benefits for the 14-day period. In the meantime, Panasonic has enacted several measures to enhance the cleanliness of the facility, encourage social distancing, and enable simple, safe and effective behaviors. During the 14-day period, the facility will undergo intensive cleaning.
It’s important to note that this only applies to Panasonic employees and not the Tesla employees working at the factory. During Tesla’s announcement of their factory closures, they stated that Gigafactory 1 would operate as normal, obviously, that will now come into question as Panasonic is pulling out its employees.
TechCrunch was unable to get a comment from Tesla about the announcement.
Gigfactory 1 produces the battery packs and powertrain for the Model 3, while Panasonic produces the cells, Tesla makes the actual battery pack. Now it looks like there will be an even further delay in production as Tesla cannot even stockpile battery packs for the Model 3 for when production at the Freemont factory restarts. At this point, the only thing that Tesla can produce is the powertrain for the Model 3 and that’s it.
Do you think Tesla will continue operating Gigafactory 1 with so much of the production being suspended? Let us know what you think in the comments below.