In other news, Elon Musk doesn't think Tesla deserves its $50 billion valuation.
The speed of Tesla's rise to dominance is staggering. It's hard to believe that a company which began as a small startup with an electrified Lotus Elise lookalike now has a market cap on par with General Motors at $50 billion. Turns out that CEO Elon Musk doesn't believe it either, and went as far to say that the company doesn't deserve such an exceedingly high valuation. "I do believe this market cap is higher than we have any right to deserve," he said in an interview with The Guardian.
He alluded to the fact that Tesla produces only one percent of GM's output. "We're a money-losing company. This is not some situation where, for example, we are just greedy capitalists who decided to skimp on safety in order to have more profits and dividends and that kind of thing. It's just a question of how much money we lose. And how do we survive? How do we not die and have everyone lose their jobs?" Musk is known for his ambitious production goals, however, which has apparently been taking its toll on overworked employees who had been continuously working long hours to meet demands.
The Guardian reports that over 100 ambulances have been called since 2014 to treat workers experiencing fainting spells, dizziness, seizures, abnormal breathing and chest pains after continuously working long hours to meet demands. Hundreds of additional ambulances were called for other medical issues. 15 employees were interviewed about their working life at Tesla, who gave a bleak account of the company's conditions. One employee recounted how it was common to see co-workers pass out on the production line while other employees were instructed to work around them as they led injured on the floor.
Musk was quick to defnd the accusations that he doesn't care about the well-being of his employees. While he acknowledged that his employess are "having a hard time, working long hours, and on hard jobs", he works in "the most painful place" in the factory. He even once slept on the factory floor in a sleeping bag in early 2016 to "make it the most painful thing possible." "I wanted to work harder than they did," he said, "to put even more hours in because that's what I think a manager should do." Tesla acknowledged that its recordable incident rate, a measure of injuries and illnesses reported to workplace safety regulators, was above the industry average between 2013 and 2016.
It's since improved, however – reported incidents were slightly above the industry average in late 2016, but are now 32% better than average in the first few months of 2017. But with Tesla ramping up resources to start production of the Model 3 sedan in July, which could potentially make or break the company as it enters the mass market, and aiming to build 500,000 electric cars in 2018, its employee's will no doubt be feeling the pressure.