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Elon Musk Tears Up over Tesla Turmoil, 'No Sleep or Ambien'

21 August 2018

The billionaire electric vehicle maker, rocket launcher, tunnel digger and insulter of rescue divers sat down for an emotional interview with The New York Times, laying out recent trials and tribulations that led to a 6 percent stock-price drop on Friday for the auto company Tesla, which he co-founded and serves as CEO.

In an interview with The New York Times, Musk said 2018 has been "excruciating for him", acknowledging efforts to ensure Tesla is meeting its production targets have taken a physical toll.

Musk said he wrote the tweet regarding taking Tesla private as he drove himself on the way to the airport in his Tesla Model S. He told the New York Times that no one reviewed the tweet before he posted it.

Tesla shares plummeted a day after an interview with CEO Elon Musk painted a picture of an exhausted leader struggling to handle one of the company's most hard periods.

Investors must have gotten unnerved.

Tesla shares closed at $US305.50 ($417.56) on Friday (local time), their lowest level since August 1, as analysts and business professors questioned whether the company's board should grant Mr Musk leave or even replace him with a more seasoned CEO.

In his interview with the New York Times, Musk admitted to straining under the weight of his job and said no one saw or reviewed his tweet about the plan to take Tesla private. The company, which makes electric cars as well as batteries and solar panels, has been hit by questions about the production ramp-up for its Tesla Model 3 auto and its workplace practices.

In an emotional interview with The New York Times, Musk also revealed that the pressures of work had caused him to spend his birthday stuck in the Tesla factory and nearly miss his brother's wedding.

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Musk also denied having smoked weed before sending the tweet, but did mention he sometimes takes Ambien to help him sleep. "It is often a choice of no sleep or Ambien", he said.

You can read Musk's entire interview at this link.

The company did not comment on that report, but it did say it was forming a special committee to evaluate proposals to take the company private.

"Everyone is reacting to the interview that Musk gave, where it seemed like he was an exhausted, frustrated individual", said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel, which does not own Tesla shares. "There were times when I didn't leave the factory for three or four days - days when I didn't go outside", he tells reporters over an hour long call.

If Tesla directors are anxious about Musk - and they should be - here is advice for them: Do your jobs.

Musk says in a blog posted Monday that most of the funding would be in stock rather than debt.

"Musk also expressed a desire to improve production to the point where Tesla can make two cars at once", said the report. "Is there someone who can do the job better?"

Some of Musk's stress comes from critical stock short-sellers who are betting against the company's success. Tesla burnt through $3.4 billion of cash last year and has said it expects to invest another $2.5 billion this year.

Elon Musk Tears Up over Tesla Turmoil, 'No Sleep or Ambien'