Elon Musk says Tesla doesn't deserve to have a market cap of over $50 billion while discussing reports of the immense stresses employees face at the firm's Fremont factory in California.
During an interview with The Guardian, it was revealed that more than 100 ambulance calls have been made from the facility since 2014 for workers experiencing everything from seizures to chest pains, abnormal breathing and fainting spells. Hundreds of additional ambulances have been called for other medical issues.
According to Musk, his employees have been working hard and very long hours but said the automaker doesn't skimp on safety despite its value.
“I do believe this market cap is higher than we have any right to deserve. We’re a money-losing company.
“This is not some situation where, for example, we are just greedy capitalists who decided to skimp on safety in order to have more profits and dividends and that kind of thing. It’s just a question of how much money we lose. And how do we survive? How do we not die and have everyone lose their jobs?” he said.
Speaking to the publication, a number of Fremont employees say that Musk's ambitious production goals have lead to an immensely demanding workplace culture. One worker, Jonathan Galescu, said he's seen people pass out on the production line and other employees being instructed to work around them while they still lay on the floor, passed out.
Tesla has admitted that its recordable incident rate, a measure of injuries and illnesses reported to workplace safety regulators, was well above the industry average from 2013 to 2016 but says this year, things have changed and those rates have reversed to being 32 per cent better than average.
Musk wants to see the electric carmaker build 500,000 vehicles in 2018, 495 per cent more than it made in 2016. Will all of this come at a cost?