Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk said in an interview with Axios Sunday night that the company almost went under earlier this year as it worked through a production ramp for the Model 3.
Musk said Tesla was “bleeding money like crazy” and admitted the company “came within single-digit” weeks of death before it was able to meet its goal of building 5,000 Model 3 sedans a week by the end of June.
“Tesla really faced a severe threat of death due to the Model 3 production ramp,” Musk said. “Essentially, the company was bleeding money like crazy, and if we didn’t solve these problems in a very short period of time, we would die. And it was extremely difficult to solve them.”
Musk also talked about how he had been stretched to the limit during the production period, calling it “very painful.”
“People should not work this hard,” he said, referring to his 22-hour working days/seven days a week. “This is very painful.”
“It hurts my brain and my heart,” Musk said. “It hurts. It is not recommended for anyone. I just did it because if I didn’t do it…there was a good chance Tesla would die.”
At another point in Sunday’s interview, Musk talked about one of the most daring human endeavors of our time ; the exploration and settlement of Mars. The serial entrepreneur who regards the Red Planet as essential for the survival of humanity, said that despite the high risks involving taking a SpaceX rocket to Mars “your probability of dying (there) is much higher than Earth.”
Musk also said that “It’s gonna be hard,” but “there’s lots of people who climb mountains. People die on Mount Everest all the time. They like doing it for the challenge.”
Tesla’s stock was up 1.4% to $330.44 in Monday’s early session. The $56 billion market cap name is up about 8% year-over-year through Monday versus the S&P 500’s 1.9% gain.