Elon Musk: Tesla worker admitted to sabotage

Tesla's attempt to ramp up Model 3 production may have hit a new stumbling block --- employee sabotage.In an e...

Posted: Jun 20, 2018 7:51 AM
Updated: Jun 20, 2018 7:51 AM

Tesla's attempt to ramp up Model 3 production may have hit a new stumbling block --- employee sabotage.

In an email to Tesla employees late Sunday night, CEO Elon Musk says that an unnamed employee admitted to sabotaging the company's Freemont, California plant. The problem comes as Tesla scrambles to boost production of its Model 3 sedan to 5,000 a week by early July -- the rate at which Musk says the company can become profitable.

Shares of Tesla fell about 5% in trading Tuesday.

Musk said the Tesla employee had confessed to "quite extensive and damaging sabotage to our operations." The email said the employee made changes to the computer code of the company's manufacturing operating system. The employee also exported large amounts of highly sensitive company data to unknown third parties.

Related: Elon Musk spends his own money to buy Tesla shares, again

"His motivation is that he wanted a promotion that he did not receive. In light of these actions, not promoting him was definitely the right move," Musk wrote. The email did not say whether the employee had been fired.

The CEO also cautioned that there may be more to the situation than he knows, and suggested that non-employees who simply want Tesla to fail could also be involved.

"There are a long list of organizations that want Tesla to die," Musk wrote. "These include Wall Street short-sellers, who have already lost billions of dollars and stand to lose a lot more. Then there are the oil & gas companies, the wealthiest industries in the world -- they don't love the idea of Tesla advancing the progress of solar power & electric cars. Don't want to blow your mind, but rumor has it that those companies are sometimes not super nice. Then there are the multitude of big gas/diesel car company competitors. If they're willing to cheat so much about emissions, maybe they're willing to cheat in other ways?"

Despite the company-wide email, Tesla declined to comment on the alleged sabotage. The email about the sabotage was first reported by CNBC.

Related: Tesla spontaneously catches fire with no crash

Musk asked employees to be extremely vigilant about Model 3 manufacturing.

The revelation was followed by a second email to employees early Monday that detailed a small fire Sunday evening, which the company said briefly halted the production line but was quickly extinguished. There were no injuries or significant equipment damage, according to Musk. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

"Could just be a random event, but as Andy Grove said, 'Only the paranoid survive,'" wrote Musk, referring to a remark attributed to the late CEO of Intel. "Please be on the alert for anything that's not in the best interests of our company."

Not everyone is convinced that Tesla will hit its production target, given that it's missed many of these goals in the past. Those critics argue that Tesla could run into a cash crunch later this year if the company doesn't hit 5,000 Model 3's a day.

Musk has countered that there won't be any need to raise additional cash.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 248189

Reported Deaths: 5411
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto16841171
Hinds15890312
Harrison13037191
Rankin10439205
Jackson10128177
Lee8721135
Madison8071160
Jones6166108
Forrest5870117
Lauderdale5724177
Lowndes5238109
Lafayette486192
Lamar475363
Washington4734122
Bolivar3941106
Oktibbeha388179
Panola360475
Pontotoc358752
Monroe3487103
Warren337895
Union337457
Marshall336065
Neshoba3325150
Pearl River319492
Leflore2980104
Lincoln293385
Sunflower277569
Tate266659
Alcorn260651
Itawamba258858
Pike258176
Hancock253557
Prentiss242450
Scott241043
Yazoo237754
Copiah237449
Tippah236246
Simpson232367
Leake227864
Coahoma223154
Grenada215770
Covington208871
Marion206171
Adams201666
Winston198061
George197438
Wayne196130
Attala191658
Newton186542
Chickasaw181243
Tishomingo179659
Holmes167867
Jasper165134
Clay156732
Stone140218
Tallahatchie138234
Clarke136460
Calhoun133321
Smith118823
Yalobusha113834
Walthall111136
Noxubee109622
Greene108929
Montgomery108134
Carroll103721
Lawrence101217
Perry99131
Amite96425
Webster90624
Claiborne85125
Tunica84521
Jefferson Davis83825
Humphreys81524
Benton80323
Kemper75720
Quitman6758
Franklin65315
Choctaw59613
Wilkinson58125
Jefferson53019
Sharkey42417
Issaquena1586
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 417528

Reported Deaths: 6030
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61313888
Mobile29768542
Madison26637185
Tuscaloosa20580268
Montgomery18696304
Shelby18310113
Baldwin16002179
Lee12261101
Morgan12093112
Etowah11604157
Calhoun10982200
Marshall10108107
Houston8474129
Cullman7960104
Limestone790174
Elmore7723101
DeKalb764697
St. Clair7460120
Lauderdale745183
Talladega6102108
Walker5852174
Jackson574441
Blount526483
Colbert525670
Autauga510355
Coffee434256
Dale391081
Franklin363445
Chilton333565
Covington326167
Russell323810
Escambia312442
Dallas300296
Clarke278233
Chambers277869
Tallapoosa2599107
Pike245829
Marion240549
Lawrence240447
Winston223835
Bibb213047
Geneva197431
Marengo197329
Pickens195231
Hale173742
Barbour171236
Butler167958
Fayette166026
Cherokee159630
Henry151119
Monroe144417
Randolph138535
Washington136526
Clay125246
Crenshaw118044
Lamar116619
Cleburne116023
Macon113335
Lowndes108735
Wilcox101221
Bullock98128
Perry95419
Conecuh92920
Sumter88726
Greene75323
Coosa60414
Choctaw51224
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 45°
Columbus
Mostly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 41°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 38°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 41°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather