Worker Safety Group Says Tesla Plant Injuries Higher Than Industry Average

A worker safety advocacy group says that injuries at Tesla’s Fremont, Calif.-based plant are much higher than the industry average.

The findings by Worksafe looked at the years 2014 and 2015, with a preliminary study of 2016 data finding injury reports to be on a similar track. The advocacy group studied reports filed the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Comparison to 2016 data is an estimate, as official industry-wide data won’t isn’t yet available.

Tesla has been under mounting pressure over unionizing its Fremont plant. That coincides with the facility being expanded to prepare for the 500,000 vehicles manufactured per year mark after the Model 3 launch later this year.

In the report, Worksafe found injury rates 31 percent higher at Tesla that the U.S. average in 2015, with an incidence rate of 8.8 per 100 workers versus 6.7 per 100 as the industry average. Preliminary findings for 2016 are at 8.1 injuries per worker.

The days away, restricted duty (DART rate) at the Fremont plant was double the industry rate in 2015, according to the report.

Worker safety has been previously raised as a pressing issue. Earlier this month, Tesla posted on its blog that it has seen improvements to its safety record, and warnings over worker safety there has been part of the United Auto Worker’s campaign to unionize workers.

Tesla said the same about the Worksafe study findings.

“We may have had some challenges in the past as we were learning how to become a car company, but what matters is the future and with the changes we’ve made, we now have the lowest injury rate in the industry by far,” a Tesla spokesman said in an emailed statement.

“Our goal is to have as close to zero injuries as humanly possible and to become the safest factory in the auto industry.”

SEE ALSO:  Tesla Proposes Doubling Fremont Plant to Meet Capacity

The Fremont plant will soon become much larger and more labor intensive to increase production to 500,000 Tesla vehicles a year.

In December, the company received approval from the city of Fremont to nearly double the size of the plant. About 4.6 million square feet will be added and will be spread across 11 new buildings.

The city expects the new manufacturing space will eventually an additional 3,100 workers to Tesla’s payroll at the factory.

The UAW would love to see them all become union members.

The Verge

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Volkswagen Shows Electrified Golf GTI Concepts

VW apprentices have created the first electrified Volkswagen GTI.

Called the Volkswagen Golf GTI First Decade, it combines a 404-horsepower gasoline engine driving the front wheels with a 48-volt electric motor powering the rear. The electric motor has a maximum output of 16 hp and the two drive systems can be used separately or together. That means it can be operated conventionally in front-wheel drive, or pure electric with rear-wheel drive, or combined for an all-wheel-drive setup.

There are two batteries in the rear of the vehicle that can be charged through regenerative braking, which means the Golf GTI First Decade is capable of driving short distances in all-electric mode or in stop-and-go traffic.

On the outside, the electrified Golf GTI features Atlantic Blue Metallic paint, while the doors and rear side panels feature large areas of foil in contrasting Satin Ocean Shimmer. Other accents include glossy blue chrome foil racing stripes, high-gloss black honeycomb radiator grille, Clubsport rear spoiler and 20-inch alloy wheels.

Inside the cabin, there are handmade sport seats featuring titanium black nappa leather with Alcantara. The driver’s seat can be adjusted using an app on a smartphone or tablet, while the punched Alcantara sections have a blue background and the central section is decorated by an embroidered “10” at the top. There’s also a high-end audio system with 1,690 watts from 11 speakers and a subwoofer.

SEE ALSO: Volkswagen’s I.D. Crozz Crossover EV Concept Revealed In Shanghai

Also premiering is the Volkswagen Golf GTE Estate impulsE from Zwickau, created by apprentices from Volkswagen Sachsen. The 14 apprentices from the Zwickau vehicle plant, the Chemnitz engine plant and the Transparent Factory in Dresden focused on e-mobility together with their mentors. The result is a show car with a prototype battery with a capacity increased from 8.8 kWh to 16.8 kWh. As a result, it has double the range.

The exterior of the electrified wagon features a five-tone matte paintwork in Oryx White, Apassionata Blue, Anthracite, Hallmark, and St. James Red. The hood also has ventilation slats, while the exterior color scheme carries inside with decorative trim pieces painted on the steering wheel, center console, gear selector gate, and door trim. There are also leather and Alcantara bucket seats with decorative blue stitching.

“During the creation of their dream GTI, our apprentices learn about the complexity and future challenges of automobile production. They gain further experience in the use of digital technologies, the application of system technology and electro-mobility,” says Peter Christ, Head of Automotive Technology Training in Wolfsburg. “This is why we choose our strongest talents and offer them the opportunity to learn from experienced instructors and experts from the entire company at an early stage.

This article originally appeared at AutoGuide.com

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