Elon Musk is pleased that American auto giant GM may become a serious contender against Tesla, but also would consider buying its closed factories, he has said in an interview.
With General Motors slashing costs, closing 5 auto plants and laying off thousands of workers in a total overhaul to embrace the shift to electric cars, Musk has said he welcomes the competition.
The visionary founder and CEO of EV pioneer Tesla made the comments during an interview with CBS News streaming this morning (AEDT), saying, “The whole point of Tesla is to accelerate the advent of electric vehicles…sustainable transport and trying to help the environment.”
Speaking with 60 Minutes Overtime presenter Lesley Stahl, he said, “We think it’s the most serious problem that humanity faces.”
The carmaker is not possessive about its technology; in fact, its patents are designated for use by anyone.
“I’m not sure if you know it, but we open-sourced our patents, so anyone who wants to use our patents can use ’em for free,” he said.
“If somebody comes and makes a better electric car than Tesla and it’s so much better than ours that we can’t sell our cars, and we go bankrupt, I still think that’s a good thing for the world.”
But GM’s downsize could be a windfall for Tesla, with the CEO saying the carmaker might consider buying at least one plant if the opportunity came up.
“It’s possible that we would be interested – if they were going to sell a plant or not use it, that we would take it over,” he told Stahl.
The EV maker has gone from strength to strength despite criticism from naysayers, predictions that the company would go bankrupt and a settlement with the SEC after comments about taking Tesla private caused stocks to plummet.
From losing up to $US100 million a week, the carmaker has met and exceeded targets of 5,000 Model 3s a week resulting in a turnaround last quarter that saw it achieve its first profits ever.
One major key to its success was building a huge tent in its car park, to house a whole extra assembly line that allowed it to increase production by 50 per cent.
But ultimately, it is Musk’s fierce determination that drives Tesla’s success – to achieve those goals the CEO more or less moved into the factory to troubleshoot bottlenecks and encourage his staff to work harder.
“I think there was like literally one week where I actually worked 120 hours and just didn’t leave the factory. I didn’t even go outside. I wanted to make it clear to the team. They needed to see that however hard it was for them, I would make it worse for me,” he said in the interview.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.