“That’s something we could do. If we work really hard, I think maybe we could do that in three years,” Musk replied to Brownlee (who goes by the handle @MKBHD on YouTube) on Friday.
The interview took place on August 15 but a 17-minute video was uploaded by Brownlee on YouTube on Friday — a week after Musk tweeted about taking Tesla private with “funding secured” that created a storm at the Tesla board and amid market watchers.
According to The Verge, Musk said in the YouTube interview that he hoped to scale production at Tesla and lower their design and technology costs enough to be able to offer a truly mass-market electric vehicle.
Currently, the price for Tesla Model 3 starts from $35,000 (about Rs. 25 lakh) and Model S from $75,000 (about Rs. 52 lakh).
Musk also expressed a desire to improve production to the point where Tesla can make two cars at once, said the report. “We’ve really gotta figure out how to make two new vehicles at the same time,” Musk told Brownlee.
The YouTube interview came a day after Musk spoke to NYT about “excruciating” times at Tesla, noting that he “nearly missed his brother’s wedding this summer and spent his birthday holed up in Tesla’s offices as the company raced to meet elusive production targets on a crucial new model”.
Earlier this week, Musk confirmed that he is closely working with Goldman Sachs and private-equity firm Silver Lake to take the electric carmaker private – a deal that would need nearly $70 billion (about Rs. 4.88 lakh crores) in funding.
“I’m excited to work with Silver Lake and Goldman Sachs as financial advisors, plus Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Munger, Tolles & Olson as legal advisors, on the proposal to take Tesla private,” Musk tweeted.
Musk said that in late July, he met Saudi Arabian sovereign fund representatives to discuss the electric carmaker’s possible exit from the stock market.
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He said in a statement that the Saudi sovereign fund had first contacted him “at the beginning of 2017 to express (their) interest because of the important need to diversify away from oil”.
“I continue to have discussions with the Saudi fund, and I also am having discussions with a number of other investors, which is something that I always planned to do since I would like for Tesla to continue to have a broad investor base,” he added.
He said he had most recently met with the Saudis on July 31 and left that meeting “with no question that a deal with the… fund could be closed, and that it was just a matter of getting the process moving”.
“This is why I referred to ‘funding secured’ in the August 7 announcement,” he said, referring to his surprise tweet on that date that he was thinking about taking Tesla private.
According to Musk, “two thirds” of Tesla’s current stockholders would be interested in continuing to hold the firm’s shares once it goes private.
On August 7, Musk surprised the investment world with a Twitter announcement that he was considering taking Tesla private and that the funds needed to do so – which some financial analysts estimate at more than $70 billion – were “secured”.
Musk’s tweet caused a financial firestorm with Tesla shares immediately skyrocketing by almost 11 per cent, although in the coming days they lost a good part of what they had gained and tanked further after Musk’s interview with the NYT.