Elon Musk, sleeping bags and Tesla promises

Tesla released its quarterly earnings Wednesday, and its financial picture remains colored in red. The Palo Alto electric automaker lost $282 million during the first three months while producing 15,000 vehicles.

Investors drove the stock down Thursday after learning the company experienced heavier losses than the same period last year.

Has CEO Elon Musk promised too much?

Musk pledged to jump production tenfold in three years. Tesla produced 50,000 Model S and Model X vehicles at its Fremont factory last year, and the company will aim for 500,000 in 2018. That number will include the Model 3, due in late 2017 with a sticker price starting at $35,000.

Skeptics flooded Twitter. Two Tesla production executives are leaving the company. An unnamed source told Bloomberg the changes were due to the messy Model X production, although a company spokesperson denied the report.

But Musk won’t be outworked. He has placed his desk at the end of the Model X production line. He keeps a sleeping bag in a nearby conference room.

“My desk has frequently been at the factory,” Musk told analysts, adding that he places himself wherever he believes is the “most important part of the company” at the time.

One recent highlight of the production line came at 3 a.m. last Friday — the first Model X free from production flaws crossed the threshold. “That was a great milestone,” Musk said.

Musk said future expansion plans could include factories in Asia and Europe. As Tesla vehicles — such as the Model 3 — get cheaper and production grows, he said, the company will have to build plants closer to its customers.

The production ramp-up at the former NUMMI factory, which once produced a half-million Toyota vehicles a year, will involve heavy capital investment, Tesla officials said Wednesday.

Said Musk: “Tesla is hell-bent on becoming the best manufacturer on earth.”

Photo: Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk makes an appearance at the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif. in  2011.(Jim Gensheimer/Bay Area News Group)


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  • Jim Bray-Old school security

    Go Elon!