You might know Tesla CEO Elon Musk as the brain behind some of the most cutting-edge electric cars and solar energy systems in the world, but he’s also involved in a number of other projects, from space travel to public transportation to artificial intelligence.
Musk recently sat down with CNBC’s On the Money to talk about his thoughts on Donald Trump and Brexit, what he thinks about having Twitter verified status, his plans to eliminate Tesla’s jobs that are not critical to car production, and how Americans should be preparing for a recession. Here are the highlights from that interview…
An Order Against an American Company Reduces Our Exports
Tesla’s exports to China are about to take a hit. The company is currently facing a lawsuit from a Chinese company over the use of its technology. This has led to Tesla losing its patent case in China, which will result in the electric carmaker having to pay damages and could see its products banned from the country. The news comes as a blow to Tesla, which has been trying to expand its operations in China. The company has already seen its sales there drop by 30% this year. Tesla is not the only American company that is feeling the effects of the trade war with China. Earlier this month, Chinese regulators imposed a $1.3 billion fine on Qualcomm, one of the world’s largest makers of chips for smartphones.
The trade war between China and America seems to be getting worse. The two countries have been slapping tariffs on each other’s exports since last year. And American companies have been feeling their effects for a while now. Earlier in September, regulators in Beijing imposed a $1.3 billion fine on Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM), one of the world’s largest makers of chips for smartphones. Qualcomm saw its stock fall by around 2% as a result of these developments. It is not just America that has to deal with China’s regulatory powers either.
Musk says he’s funding the tunnel project privately
In an interview with Bloomberg, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that he is funding his tunnel-digging project privately and that he does not see any risk of recession in the near future. He also weighed in on President Donald Trump’s use of Twitter, saying that it’s not a great way to communicate. As for job cuts at Tesla, Musk said that they are unavoidable in a high-demand environment.
While Musk said that he doesn’t believe there is any near-term risk of a recession in the U.S., he cautioned that it’s important to be aware of long-term risks. When asked about Tesla’s job cuts and manufacturing targets for 2017, Musk said Tesla will be profitable and cash flow positive in Q3 and Q4, so essentially we’ll be profitable from Q3 on. He also addressed criticism that layoffs could affect Tesla employees’ quality of life by providing them with an attractive compensation package: We’re going to go through at least six months of manufacturing hell, he said. But I think (we) will get through that and end up with a really great product.
Trump not the right guy for the U.S.-China relationship
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Thursday that President Donald Trump is not the right guy to manage the U.S.-China relationship, one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world.
I think a tariff war is stupid. I think imposing big tariffs on China is stupid. It will not be good for Tesla, it will not be good for American workers, or American consumers. It’s just a dumb way to do business, he said in an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box that aired early Thursday morning. [Musk’s company Tesla (TSLA) produces all of its vehicles at its factory in Fremont, Calif.
China is a massively important market for Tesla. They’re not paying a fair share of taxes in China. It’s a very unfair playing field for foreign companies in China. I’m against import duties in general, but we have to do it in cases where there’s legitimate rape or robbery or whatever. This is an illegitimate action by the Chinese government, he said.
Tesla ‘not planning to cut any jobs’ after performance review: Tesla (TSLA) is not planning to cut any jobs following its annual performance review process that ended Wednesday, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk told employees on Thursday morning via email. The chief executive’s email was seen by Reuters.
Musk says Trump administration is wrong about climate change
Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter this week to voice his disagreement with the Trump administration’s stance on climate change. The fact that the administration is even considering pulling out of the Paris Agreement is horrifying, he wrote. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.
In an earlier tweet on Thursday evening, Musk said that he would continue to advise President Donald Trump despite his disagreement with his stance on climate change. But I believe at this time that engaging on critical issues will on balance serve the greater good. There are plenty of ways we can work together with a President who doesn’t seem to share our values on climate change, such as by explaining how Paris is not a binding treaty, he wrote.
Over 1 Million Chevy Volts, Bolts Plug Into Pure Electric Car Charging Stations
Chevy’s all-electric car, the Bolt, is now able to plug into any of Tesla’s public fast-charging stations. The move comes as Tesla begins to see increased competition from other big corporates in the electric car space. Tesla’s network of Superchargers is one of the company’s key differentiators, and this move will help Chevy better compete with Tesla. It also provides some peace of mind to Chevy customers who may have been worried about range anxiety.
This move also proves Chevy’s commitment to its customers. The automaker has always been a bit behind Tesla in terms of pure electric vehicles. GM has sold nearly 1 million of its plug-in hybrid Chevy Volts since it went on sale in 2010, but Tesla has sold over 250,000 all-electric vehicles since 2010. So far, there’s no word if any other automakers will follow suit by connecting their own electric cars to Tesla’s Superchargers. In fact, several car companies are partnering with charging station operators that use different technologies than Tesla’s; Nissan is working with Evatran while BMW is teaming up with ChargePoint. It remains to be seen how much of an impact today’s announcement will have on these partnerships going forward.
Tesla Motors’ Model S outsells German sedans in US
Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to share his thoughts on a variety of topics, including the risk of recession, job cuts at Tesla, and the social media company’s plans to go public.
Tesla is on track to meet its goal of building 500,000 vehicles annually by 2018. The company said it produced a record 24,500 vehicles in Q3. Tesla’s third-quarter vehicle deliveries grew 53% from Q2 and exceeded expectations of 17,000 units. A more complete picture of Tesla’s total sales will be revealed when Tesla releases total deliveries in early November. Tesla said that global net orders for Model S and X have increased again over the last quarter.
Tesla Model S outsells German sedans in the US. Tesla’s Model S was once again America’s top-selling plug-in electric car in September, edging out German luxury sedans to capture its fifth consecutive monthly sales victory. After a decent August that saw Tesla deliver 6% fewer vehicles than in July—which included a pause for retooling of its assembly line to install some new equipment—Tesla reported taking back its U.S. sales crown from BMW with a total of 3,550 deliveries last month. It also had to downsize its delivery plans by just over 2% as Q3 came to an end.
Tesla to Cut 9% of Its Workers Amid Pricey Ambitions – Report
Tesla is planning to cut about 9% of its workforce as it looks to trim costs and become profitable, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. The electric carmaker is aiming to reduce its headcount by several thousand employees through a combination of voluntary and involuntary departures, the report said. The job cuts come as Tesla faces pressure to ramp up production of its mass-market Model 3 sedan while also working on more expensive vehicles like the Semi truck and the Roadster sports car. The company has been burning through cash as it tries to reach its production goals, and it has been borrowing money to fund its operations.
Tesla has been holding a series of job fairs to hire workers as it gears up to build its first mass-market car, which is known as the Model 3. Tesla didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The company plans to shed most of its contractors in order to make room for a more stable workforce that can meet production demands as it ramps up Model 3 production, Bloomberg reported. Tesla’s stock was down 5% in early trading Friday morning after news of the job cuts. Its shares are down 31% so far in 2018 amid broader market volatility. The company has lost about $1 billion per quarter over two consecutive quarters through March 2018.
Elon Musk Warns About Artificial Intelligence Risk Ahead of SXSW Keynote
In an SXSW keynote interview with SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell on Sunday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk warned about the risks of artificial intelligence. AI is a fundamental existential risk for human civilization, Musk said. I have exposure to very cutting-edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it. He compared AI to summoning the demon and said that regulation is needed to control its development. AI is far more advanced than people realize, he said. It’s a rare case where I think we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive.
According to Musk, people who want to pursue developing AI should receive a warning label on their products or be legally liable if they don’t warn people of potential dangers. The Tesla CEO is concerned that if AI becomes too advanced, it could pose an existential threat to human civilization. AI doesn’t improve itself at all. It would just get further and further behind until [it’s] much less intelligent than even a snail. A few months ago he tweeted about AI being more dangerous than North Korea but later clarified that he was specifically referring to its risk of being used in warfare.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is no stranger to offering up his thoughts on a variety of topics. In a recent interview, he discussed President Donald Trump, Twitter, job cuts, and recession risks. When asked about Trump, Musk had this to say: I think he’s probably doing the right thing…He’s just saying what he thinks needs to be said. As for Twitter, Musk says it’s not my favourite medium but that it can be useful for reaching out to customers.
Finally, when asked about what keeps him up at night, Musk had one word for his worries: recession. This is particularly interesting given Tesla’s recent announcement that it would be cutting 9% of its workforce in an effort to reach profitability before it ends in 2019. I think we’re going to see a trend towards a reduction in jobs, he said. With technology … you’ll have fewer people at work doing a better job. At least 6,000 positions will be cut company-wide. I think these things are going to accelerate, he continued.