Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Breitbart – According to The Guardian, Tesla’s recent layoffs include an entire quality control department.
‘How do they expect to run without us?’ Tesla accused of axing key staff to cut costs
Electric car firm slashed 7% of workforce this month and ex-employees say more experienced staff were targeted
Alan Ochoa worked at Tesla’s Fremont plant in California for four years. He was laid off recently along with his entire department in quality control, many of whom were also long-time employees. “I have no idea how they expect to run without us,” said Ochoa.
The electric car company releases its latest financial results on Wednesday and analysts are not expecting good news. On 18 January, founder Elon Musk sent out a mass email to employees announcing 7% of the company’s workforce were being laid off, in addition to cuts to temporary and contracted employees, and warning of a “very difficult” road ahead.
Ochoa predicts Tesla’s “difficult road” will not be helped by laying off experienced staff.
He said: “My last repair on Friday was finding a rear fascia was missing a screw so if you pulled on it, it would pop out. I grabbed a drill, the screw, got down on my knees and made the repair myself. No one would have known about it unless they tugged on the edges of the rear fascia like I had made it a habit to do.
“But I know once the car starts driving it would become unseated due to the wind pulling it out.”
Tesla has suffered quality control setbacks in the past and workers fear those issues may be worsened by the cuts. Ochoa explained he was making several dozen repairs a day on quality control, depending on what line he was on.
He said: “I fear the quality will be greatly diminished. Not all of my repairs were easy to see but would have a lasting effect.”
If the Guardian report is correct, I’m shocked that Tesla appears to have downgraded quality control.
Despite not containing gasoline or an internal combustion engine, Tesla vehicle components like the large lithium battery packs are potentially very dangerous. The following is a slow motion video of University of Maryland setting fire to a small Lithium battery pack. Around 3:16 in the video (remember the video is slow motion), the battery pack appears to violently explode, though the explosion does not prevent the pack from continuing to burn;
Lithium is an alkali metal, a group of highly flammable metals which sometimes explode violently on contact with water. While Lithium is less reactive than some of its siblings, it is still extremely dangerous. Large Lithium fires are difficult to extinguish. Any explosion caused by trying to douse the fire with water can scatter droplets of molten burning lithium, causing severe heat and chemical burns if the droplets of molten lithium come into contact with exposed flesh.
Assuming the Guardian story is true, I don’t know if firing an entire quality control department is likely to make Tesla cars less safe. But if I was a buyer waiting for delivery of my new Tesla, I would be contacting my Tesla dealership with some fairly urgent inquiries.