Tesla facing workplace investigation and non-stop factory: Tesla Inc. continues battling obstacles as it becomes a mass-production automaker, facing a charge over unsafe working conditions and a decision to keep the factory going 24/7. California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA) opened inspection of Tesla’s Fremont, Calif., factory on Tuesday over possible under reporting by the electric carmaker of work-related injuries and illnesses. The inspection may have come from a an article by the Center for Investigative Reporting claiming the misreporting by Tesla with the charge that the company lowered the number of injuries in the official count by stating some were minor or due to personal medical conditions. Tesla denied the accusations in a blog post, calling the publication an “extremist organization working directly with union supporters to create a calculated disinformation campaign against Tesla.”
More Tesla workers are needed, with the automaker starting around-the-clock production schedules this week at the Fremont plant. It’s being done to ramp up from the recent report of over 2,000 Model 3s being built up to 6,000 units a week by the end of June. One more shift will be added to general assembly, body, and paint, CEO Elon Musk write in an internal company email. That news came out after the company took another day of stopping production of the Model 3 to improve automation and address production bottlenecks. About 400 workers will be added per week for several weeks to handle the increasing output, Musk wrote.
Calstart supporting electric airplanes: Calstart and two cities have launched the Sustainable Aviation Project, which is described as “the nation’s first production all-electric aircraft project designed to develop pilot training opportunities using zero emission electric airplanes.” Calstart’s partners are the Northern California cities of Reedley and Mendota, with funding being provided by the Fresno County Measure C through the Fresno County Rural Transportation Authority. The electric aircraft will reduce both air and noise pollution, and will be able to fly for 60 minutes between charges with a 30-minute reserve. The typical flight training session lasts about 60 minutes. Charging can be done at four regional airports in Fresno County.
Electrify America at Walmart: Volkswagen AG’s Electrify America unit will be installing more than 100 electric vehicle charging stations at Walmart store locations in 34 U.S. states by mid-2019. The Walmart stores will support Electrify America’s goal to set up 2,000 chargers at nearly 500 charging stations across the country by June 2019, with some able to provide fast charging. Wayne Killen, Electrify America’s senior director for infrastructure, said that 80% of the Walmart charging stations would be at store locations alongside highways, while the remaining 20% would be in metro areas. That will support giving EV owners more options for charging during road trips including cross-country journeys along Interstate 10 between Santa Monic, Calif., and Jacksonville, Fla.; and along Interstate 80 that goes from San Francisco to Teaneck, N.J.