Elon Musk has blasted America’s poor work ethic and praised toiling Chinese staff who stay at the factory ‘burning the 3am oil’.
The Tesla CEO, who once slept on his Fremont factory floor during production of the company’s Model 3 car, said Americans are ‘trying to avoid going to work at all’ compared to their Chinese counterparts.
Speaking in an interview with the Financial Times, he said: ‘I think there will be some very strong companies coming out of China.
‘There’s just a lot of super talented and hardworking people in China that strongly believe in manufacturing.
‘And they won’t just be burning the midnight oil. They’ll be burning the 3am oil. So they won’t even leave the factory type of thing.
‘Whereas in America, people are trying to avoid going to work at all.’
Last month, staff at Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory were made to sleep at work when production resumed after a three-week shutdown, according to Bloomberg.
The factory started operating as a ‘closed-loop system to avoid further shutdowns caused by China’s draconian Zero Covid policy.
Workers were given a sleeping bag and mattress and a part of the factory floor to sleep on.
Food of around $63 a day was provided to each employee but they were expected to work 12 hours a day, with one day off every six days.
Before the temporary measures were imposed, staff reportedly worked eight-hour shifts with four days on and two days off.
Before Shanghai’s lockdown on March 28, the Gigafactory produced 2,000 cars a day and made half of the vehicles the company delivered worldwide last year.
Last year, the world’s richest man, said he sleeps only six hours each night while juggling his portfolio of multi-billion dollar businesses.
‘I work a lot,’ Musk told podcaster Joe Rogan.
‘Normally, I’ll be in meetings at work until 1 or 2 in the morning. Saturday [and] Sunday, usually not, but sometimes.
‘I tried sleeping less, but then total productivity decreases,’ he said.
‘I don’t find myself wanting more sleep than six [hours].’
Musk has developed a reputation as a workaholic. In 2018, Tesla employees told Business Insider that they would frequently see their boss asleep while curled under tables, desks, and even on the factory floor.
‘He’s here all the time,’ Miguel Carrera, a manufacturing tech lead, told Business Insider.
‘I know people have seen him sleeping on the floor under a desk.
‘All of a sudden, everybody’s all walking out and you look around and someone is curled up under the desk, come to find out it’s Elon.’
In November 2018, he told the Recode Decode podcast that during Tesla’s efforts to ramp up production of its Model 3 sedan, he found himself constantly working.
‘There were times when, some weeks … I haven’t counted exactly, but I would just sort of sleep for a few hours, work, sleep for a few hours, work, seven days a week,’ he said.
‘Some of those [weeks] must have been 120 hours or something nutty.’
Musk acknowledged that his crazy work schedule had ‘burnt out a bunch of neurons.’
In 2018, he told Axios: ‘No one should put this many hours into your work.
‘[It’s] not recommended for anyone. You’re gonna go a little bonkers if you work 120 hours a week.’
Yesterday, it was revealed that Musk’s purchase of the largest individually-held stake in Twitter is being investigated by U.S. regulators after he delayed reporting the buy – and thus failed to provide sufficient warning that a takeover bid was looming.
The investigation, currently in its early stages, could provoke a firestorm between the mercurial entrepreneur and the financial regulators, just as Musk is trying to wrap up his purchase of Twitter, approved on April 26.
It also comes amid frenzied speculation about what the world’s richest man will do to Twitter once he takes the reins.
He said this week he would allow Donald Trump back on Twitter, in line with his previous declarations that he planned to err on the side of free speech rather than bans and censorship.
On Wednesday, Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and former CEO, also denied recent speculation that he had been brought back to head the Musk-owned company.
With the deal to take Twitter private expected to take two to three months to finalize, speculation is mounting as to what Musk will do.
The 50-year-old’s first move towards buying Twitter was his purchase of a 9.2 percent stake in the tech company in mid February.
But he did not disclose his purchase to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) until at least 10 days later, on April 4.
Any investor who crosses a 5 percent stake must file a form with the SEC within 10 days. It serves as an early sign to stakeholders that a big investor could seek to control the company.
Musk’s April 4 filing also characterized his stake as passive, meaning he did not plan to take over Twitter or influence its management or business.
The next day, however, he was offered a position on Twitter’s board, and a couple of weeks later, the world’s richest man had clinched a $44billion deal to buy the social media giant.
The SEC investigation was first reported on Wednesday by The Wall Street Journal.
Musk, known for his candid Twitter posts, has a long history of skirmishes with the SEC.
Most recently, a U.S. judge slammed him for trying to escape a settlement with the SEC requiring oversight of his Tesla tweets.
In April, the Information reported that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether Musk violated a law that requires companies and people to report certain large transactions to antitrust-enforcement agencies.
Dorsey, who stepped down as CEO in November, replaced by Parag Agrawal, has been broadly supportive of Musk’s moves and has been consulting with him over the direction of the company – most recently, confirming that he and Musk discussed reinstating Trump, and agreed it was the right thing to do.