Elon Musk reportedly became angry and headbutted a car at Tesla's factory because the assembly line would stop when people got too close to it

  • According to The Wall Street Journal, Tesla CEO Elon Musk started headbutting a car at Tesla‘s Fremont, California, factory this spring after he learned the assembly line would stop when people got too close to it.
  • “I don’t see how this could hurt me,” he reportedly said. “I want the cars to just keep moving.”
  • A Tesla representative told Business Insider that Musk tapped the car with his head while wearing a safety hat to demonstrate that it didn’t pose a safety risk.
  • The representative said the equipment Musk asked about was redundant and modified after being tested by safety-equipment specialists.

A new profile of Tesla CEO Elon Musk gives an unusual example of how the stress of ramping up Model 3 production may have affected him. According to The Wall Street Journal, Musk started headbutting a car at Tesla’s Fremont, California, factory this spring after he learned the assembly line would stop when people got too close to it.

The Journal reported that Musk was touring the factory and noticed that the assembly line had stopped. When he asked why, managers reportedly told him it was because of sensors triggered as a safety precaution when people interfered with the line. Their answer made Musk angry and he started to headbutt the front end of a car, according to The Journal.

“I don’t see how this could hurt me,” he reportedly said. “I want the cars to just keep moving.”

A Tesla representative told Business Insider that Musk tapped the car with his head while wearing a safety hat to demonstrate that it didn’t pose a safety risk. The spokesperson said that the equipment Musk asked about was redundant and modified after being tested by safety-equipment specialists.

For much of the year after the Model 3 was launched in July 2017, Tesla struggled to ramp up production. The Model 3 is the company’s first mass-market car and one that Musk said the company was betting its existence on. At the end of June, Tesla achieved its goal of making 5,000 Model 3s in one week. Musk previously said the company would hit that number by the end of 2017 and that sustaining such a production rate was critical for Tesla to become profitable.

The Wall Street Journal’s story is not the first to describe Musk’s alleged displeasure with some safety measures at the Fremont factory. Reveal reported in April that Tesla didn’t mark some hazard areas in yellow because Musk reportedly doesn’t like the colour and avoided other safety signs and markings for aesthetic reasons.

Tesla called Reveal’s report “a completely false picture of Tesla and what it is actually like to work here” and claimed it was “an ideologically motivated attack by an extremist organisation working directly with union supporters to create a calculated disinformation campaign against Tesla.”

Read The Wall Street Journal’s full story here.

Have a Tesla news tip? Contact this reporter at [email protected].

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