Elon Musk has acknowledged exhaustion from overwork as he deals with the aftermath of a market-rattling tweet on taking Tesla private - a mess that worsened with reports that USA regulators subpoenaed him over the statement.
Tesla produced only slightly more than 100,000 vehicles past year and the company has been struggling to boost production of its Model 3, which is less expensive than its first models and could help expand Tesla's base.
Tesla stock (NASDAQ:TSLA) was down as much as 9%, hitting a low of $305.70 during intraday trading on Friday, amid reports that Elon Musk and the electric auto maker's board of directors are preparing to meet with the Securities and Exchange Commission as early as next week.
In an interview with the New York Times, the Silicon Valley luminary called this year "the most hard and painful" of his entire career.
Musk boomeranged from laughter to tears during an interview with the NY Times. Musk agreed not to tweet again on Tesla's possible privatization without discussing it with the board, the spokeswoman said. However, the Times reports, "people familiar with the matter said a search is underway, and one person said it had intensified in the wake of Mr. Musk's tweets".
Meanwhile, Tesla has come under even more scrutiny after an employee fired from Tesla's Nevada battery factory filed a whistleblower complaint with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, accusing the company of spying on employees and failing to act after learning that a Mexican cartel may be dealing drugs inside the plant, his attorney said on Thursday.
He has since said he is searching for funds for the effort. "This has really come at the expense of seeing my kids".
In the first tweet, he said he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 a share and that he had secured funding.
Storm Ernesto Set To Unleash Heavy Rain And Strong Winds
Strong winds and heavy rainfall are forecast this weekend as sub-tropical Storm Ernesto arrives from the Atlantic. And while next week will see more autumnal weather, the warmth isn't quite over yet.
He said he did not intend to give up his roles as chairman and CEO but if there was someone who could do the job better, "they can have the reins right now".
"They're not dumb guys, but they're not supersmart", Musk told the Times.
After the Saudi fund has bought nearly 5% of Tesla stock through the public markets, Musk revisited the offer.
Furthermore, the price of $420 a share was the result of a rounding up, and Musk made it clear that "he was not on weed".
In a statement to The Times that Tesla attributed to the board of directors, the company criticised what it called "false and irresponsible rumours" about the board's discussions. "Weed is not helpful for productivity", he told the Times. Ultimately, Tesla's success or failure will be determined by whether Tesla can produce cars for less than customers pay for them-and whether customers are satisfied with the cars.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is describing the past year as "the most hard and painful year of my career".
When he's not working, Musk told the newspaper that he takes the sedative Ambien to help him sleep.
The report cited sources as saying Tesla has been trying to find another senior executive to help relieve some of the pressure on Mr Musk.