Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

Tesla 'was close to death'

Tesla was on the brink of collapse, according to the company's CEO, Elon Musk.
Matt Campbell
Senior Editor
CarsGuide

15 Mar 2019 • 3 min read

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has stated what we have all been thinking - the brand was close to death in 2018.

At the reveal event for the new Model Y, Mr Musk stated the brand had to sort out its priorities in 2018, and it almost cost the company everything. 

“2018 felt like ageing five years in one,” said Mr Musk. “All of our resources went to Model 3 production, otherwise we were going to die. It was pretty tight, I’ve got to tell you.”

It wasn’t just the cars side of the business that was suffering in 2018, Mr Musk said, stating that “Power Wall got cell-starved, basically”, though he said the brand will focus more energy on the Solar Roof and Power Wall products in 2019. 

Mr Musk admitted the brand underestimated the complexity of producing cars, stating that it is “100 times harder to design the manufacturing system for cars than it is for a rocket” from the Space X division. That’s a fair point, given the company is aiming for 6000 Model 3s per month alone.

Seemingly admitting that the company had bitten off more than it could chew by diversifying into cars, home energy, solar panels and more, Mr Musk suggested that the brand had gotten “carried away” with some of its models in the lead up to 2018.

“We kind of got carried away, honestly, with the Model X,” he said. “It’s like a faberge egg meets a spaceship. It was insanely difficult.”

Mr Musk pointed to the brand’s plan to have the Shanghai Gigafactory completed by the end of 2019, while at the moment it is still a “very impressive large puddle”. He said the Chinese factory would be smarter than the previous strategy employed in the US because it will combine battery and vehicle manufacturing in the same place - making it “Fremont plus the Nevada Gigafactory combined”. 

Mr Musk stated that the increase in competition - from brands such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar and Hyundai - has made the electric car landscape more vibrant.

“It’s extremely rewarding to see the rest of the industry is going electric,” Mr Musk said. “We have a fully sustainable future.”

According to Mr Musk, the brand has produced 500,000 vehicles to date - and it’s 11 years to the day since the first Roadster model rolled off the production line. 

“Twelve months from now we will have made about a million vehicles,” he said. 

Further in the future? Mr Musk said that “Tesla will be on Mars in 10 years”. 

You’ve got to have goals, right?

Do you believe the Tesla hype? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section.