Elon Musk says Tesla factory was sabotaged by disgruntled employee

Randal Sanchez
June 20, 2018

According to the leaked email, his motivation was "that he wanted a promotion that he did not receive".

Tesla's billionaire CEO Elon Musk has warned staff that there might be a saboteur in their ranks responsible for a factory fire, changing code and sending secrets outside the organisation.

In a separate email to staff, Mr Musk said there had been a small fire at a Tesla factory on Sunday. "In light of these actions, not promoting him was definitely the right move".

In the Monday email, Musk said the saboteur had admitted to altering software in the company's manufacturing operating system, which could have slowed down or complicated production. He said these mysterious figures may include Wall Street short-sellers, oil & gas companies and big gas/diesel vehicle company competitors. The company actually delivered 8,180 Model 3 cars, according to its first-quarter earnings report.

Tesla announced plans last week to lay off 9 percent of its workforce as part of a reorganization, but Musk did not indicate that this particular employee was included in those cuts.

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Tesla has been dogged with delays surrounding delivery of its all-electric BMW 3 Series-rivalling Model 3 saloon, but continues to push ahead with future products such as the Tesla Semi truck, the new Roadster and an EV alternative the Volkswagen Golf, which Musk alluded to at the company's recent shareholder meeting.

As of this month, Tesla has raised its output to 3,500 cars, with hopes of that number rising to 5,000 by the end of June.

Tesla said in an email that on Sunday night there had been a "smoldering in an air filter in the welding area of the body line". Musk said the fire could just be a "random event", but quoted businessman and engineer Andrew Grove's famous line that "only the paranoid survive".

Elon Musk personally took over supervision of Model 3 production in April after multiple setbacks caused by manufacturing issues. "They have about three weeks before this short position explodes", Musk wrote.

In the company-wide email titled "some concerning news", Musk revealed that one of his employees became disgruntled over an internal company decision, prompting his malintent. "Then there are the oil & gas companies, the wealthiest industry in the world - they don't love the idea of Tesla advancing the progress of solar power & electric cars", Musk said.

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