Elon Musk says 2018 felt like 'ageing 5 years in 1' as Tesla went through production hell

  • 2018 was one of Tesla’s most important – but most difficult – years to date.
  • The company worked at break-neck speed to ramp up production of the Model 3 and become profitable.
  • CEO Elon Musk opened up about those struggles in his unveiling of Tesla’s newest car on Thursday, saying last year felt like ageing five years in one.

In his unveiling of Tesla’s newest car, the Model Y, on Thursday, CEO Elon Musk opened up about Tesla’s struggle to mass-produce cars and become profitable in 2018.

“2018 felt like ageing five years in one,” he told a Tesla design studio packed with journalists, Wall Street analysts, and other Tesla fans. “It was really intense.”

The chief executive even said in a 2018 interview that he was sleeping on the floor of Tesla’s factory because he “wanted to suffer more than any other employee” while keeping pace with the company’s gruelling schedule. “I feel like I have a great debt to the people of Tesla,” he told Bloomberg at the time.

The hard work eventually paid off, and Tesla posted its first-ever consecutive quarters of profit in the third and fourth quarter of 2018. Production hell then become delivery hell as Tesla worked to move completed cars to customers’ driveways.

“Thank you for supporting Tesla during that difficult time,” he said Thursday.

Musk also gave more insight into how much of a struggle it was for the company to mass produce cars at-scale. “It’s maybe one hundred times harder to design the manufacturing system than the car itself,” he said.

Read more about the Model Y and Tesla’s event:

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