Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk is mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore. The “it” in this case is the decision by the Interim Health Officer of Alameda County to take a more cautious approach to reopening businesses than the course outlined by Governor Gavin Newsom and President Trump. This means that Musk hasn’t been given the green light to reopen Tesla headquarters as he planned to do this week. As a result, he claimed this weekend that he would be suing the county and also relocating his headquarters to either Texas or Nevada. (The Daily Wire)
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has recently drawn national attention for his strong rebukes of government authority amidst the pandemic, revealed on Saturday morning that the company’s headquarters in Fremont, California, would immediately begin moving to either Texas or Nevada.
The CEO’s announcement, which took the form of a tweet response to someone who encouraged Tesla to file a lawsuit against Alameda County, called the local government barring the company from re-opening with reduced capacity on Friday “the final straw.”
Musk responded to the individual by saying that his company would indeed file a lawsuit against the county, and that the decision on whether to completely remove manufacturing from the area — instead of just the headquarters and unnamed Tesla programs — would be dependent on how well the company is treated going forward.
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 would have called this a “thinly veiled threat” but it’s not really veiled in the least. Musk is basically saying that he’s already planning to move his administrative offices out of the state and if the company isn’t “treated better” going forward he’ll take his manufacturing facilities elsewhere also. Part of me wonders how he wasn’t already looking at fleeing the state given the skyrocketing taxes and regulatory burden imposed by Sacramento.
But is he serious? Let’s be honest… Musk has been known to tweet some rather curious things, particularly late in the evening when he might have been, er… “partaking” of some recreational treats. But that tweet went out on a Saturday morning, presumably when he was up and starting his work for the day. I doubt he had a long time to consult with is lawyers before firing off that tweet, though.
Of course, Musk may have already been on his way out of the Golden State anyway. In another strange series of tweets last week he vowed to sell off his homes and other possessions. This was supposedly being done so people would stop attacking him for “being a billionaire.” Shortly thereafter, his two California homes showed up as listings on Zillow.
But if you sell your mansions on Zillow for tens of millions of dollars each and keep the money, are you really any less of a billionaire? And you’re still going to need someplace to sleep, right? That’s particularly true when you consider that he just welcomed a new baby into the world with his girlfriend. (The baby’s name is “X Æ A-12,” by the way. Yes, really.)
Of course, Musk’s business partners are frequently dismayed by his activities on Twitter. A couple of weeks ago he sent out a tweet saying that Tesla’s market value was “too high.” This prompted an immediate sell-off that eliminated $14B from the company’s total stock value. Other examples abound.
Look, I wish the very best for Elon Musk. I remain a big fan and hope he gets us to Mars sooner rather than later. But events such as these do leave me wondering from time to time whether or not Elon has been dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight for a bit too long. Keep it together, Mr. Musk. We’re counting on you.