In an email to Tesla employees, Elon Musk thinks that the recent spate of fires at its Fremont plant is caused by sabotage. On top of that, Elon Musk also thinks that a Tesla employee was sabotaging the company’s manufacturing ops and may have shared private and confidential information to third parties.
Over the years since 2014, there have been 4 reported fires at the Fremont plant and Tesla itself face many manufacturing difficulties trying to meet their Model 3 production target of 5,000 units a week. Tesla is currently investigating to check if the alleged employee is working with outside organisations.
Elon Musk says in his email that he believes that there is a long list of organisation which want to see Tesla die. This can possibly include competitors, oil and gas companies as well as short sellers in the market. The whole issue of sabotage arrived after Musk announced that Tesla will be laying off 9% of its workforce.
Musk also said that the employee made code changes to the company’s operating system as well as exported data to third parties outside. The CEO believes that only the paranoid survive, a quote from Intel CEO, Andy Grove.
Here is the email Musk sent on Sunday.
From: Elon Musk
Subject: Some concerning news
June 17, 2018
I was dismayed to learn this weekend about a Tesla employee who had conducted quite extensive and damaging sabotage to our operations. This included making direct code changes to the Tesla Manufacturing Operating System under false usernames and exporting large amounts of highly sensitive Tesla data to unknown third parties.
The full extent of his actions are not yet clear, but what he has admitted to so far is pretty bad. His stated 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.
However, there may be considerably more to this situation than meets the eye, so the investigation will continue in depth this week. We need to figure out if he was acting alone or with others at Tesla and if he was working with any outside organizations.
As you know, there are a long list of organizations that want Tesla to die. 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 industry 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?
Most of the time, when there is theft of goods, leaking of confidential information, dereliction of duty or outright sabotage, the reason really is something simple like wanting to get back at someone within the company or at the company as a whole. Occasionally, it is much more serious.
Please be extremely vigilant, particularly over the next few weeks as we ramp up the production rate to 5k/week. This is when outside forces have the strongest motivation to stop us.
If you know of, see or suspect anything suspicious, please send a note to [email address removed for privacy] with as much info as possible. This can be done in your name, which will be kept confidential, or completely anonymously.
Looking forward to having a great week with you as we charge up the super exciting ramp to 5000 Model 3 cars per week!
Will follow this up with emails every few days describing the progress and challenges of the Model 3 ramp.
Thanks for working so hard to make Tesla successful,
Subsequently, he sent another email on Monday.
From: Elon Musk
Subject: Some concerning news
June 18, 2018
Late last night we had another strange incident that was hard to explain. Small fire on the body-in-white production line. No one was in the area and there were no injuries or significant equipment damage, but it was enough to stop the body production line for several hours.
Could just be a random event, but as Andy Grove said, “Only the paranoid survive.” Please be on the alert for anything that’s not in the best interests of our company. If you aren’t getting a response from the emdesk email, please send me a note directly.
It can be a little weird to receive this type of email from the company CEO but in these times of turmoil, anything is possible. Tesla will be working hard to ensure that security is tightened as well as ensuring that the possible leak is plugged.