Elon Musk says ‘humans are underrated,’ calls Tesla’s ‘excessive automation’ a ‘mistake’

Tech 14-4-2018 TechCrunch 28

In a rare mea culpa for the mercurial billionaire, Tesla CEO Elon Musk acknowledged that the company has been too reliant on robots for production.

Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2018

“Excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake,” Musk wrote, responding to a Wall Street Journal reporter’s tweet. “Humans are underrated.” He also talked about this with CBS News’ Gayle King, adding “we had this crazy, complex network of conveyor belts….And it was not working, so we got rid of that whole thing.”

Tesla has faced mounting public pressure amid a production slowdown for its Model 3, its lower-priced car. The company recently revealed that it missed its target to produce 2,500 cars a week, disappointing investors.

The uncertainty has resulted in a volatile stock. A month ago shares were trading at $340 and then slid to $252. Things have started to recover now that Musk says the company will be profitable and cash flow positive in the third quarter.

This was also revealed in a tweet that Musk wrote to The Economist on Friday.

The Economist used to be boring, but smart with a wicked dry wit. Now it’s just boring (sigh). Tesla will be profitable & cash flow+ in Q3 & Q4, so obv no need to raise money.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2018

There’s “no need to raise money,” he added. Shares closed Friday at $300.34.

The company has a market cap of $50.7 billion. By comparison, Ford Motors has a market cap of $45 billion.


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