Elon Musk sent an email to Tesla employees about another fire in its factory on Sunday

Key Points
  • According to correspondence shared with CNBC, Tesla had another factory fire on Sunday night which halted vehicle production for several hours.
  • Tesla has had more than 4 fires in its paint shop in the past 4 years, CNBC has previously reported.
  • In an email to employees, CEO Elon Musk appeared to speculate about sabotage, quoting former Intel leader Andy Grove's maxim, "only the paranoid survive."
Musk emails employees about 'extensive and damaging sabotage'

Tesla continues to struggle with fires at its electric vehicle plant in Fremont, California, according to correspondence reviewed by CNBC on Monday.

Tesla CEO and chairman Elon Musk sent an email to employees on Monday morning explaining that the factory had to stop their "body production line" for several hours on Sunday night due to a "small fire." On this part of the line, a car body's sheet metal has been welded together but the body has not yet been painted.

Musk expressed relief that nobody was near the point of ignition when it happened, and no equipment was significantly damaged during the fire. He also suggested that employees look out for negligence or sabotage, writing "Please be on the alert for anything that's not in the best interests of our company" and reminding employees of former Intel CEO Andy Grove's famous maxim: "only the paranoid survive."

The Tesla factory in Fremont, California.
Getty Images

A Tesla spokesperson confirmed the email and said, "Last night, there was smoldering in an air filter in the welding area of the body line. The smoldering was extinguished in a matter of seconds. There were no injuries or significant equipment damage, and production is back online."

CNBC previously reported that the paint shop in Tesla's Fremont factory had experienced at least four fires since 2014, including one in April that shut down production.

Tesla stock has rallied more than 20 percent since the company's annual shareholder meeting on June 5. There, Musk promised investors that Tesla would become profitable and cash flow positive in the second half of 2018, and that Tesla would soon be able to produce 5,000 Model 3 electric cars per week.

Last week, Tesla announced a broad restructuring, slashing at least 9 percent of its workforce. Workers who are actively involved in Model 3 production would not be affected, the company said.

Here is the full e-mail about the most recent fire:

From: Elon Musk

To: Everybody

Subject: Some concerning news

June 18, 2018

9:38 a.m.

Late last night we had another strange incident that was hard to explain. Small fire on the body-in-white production line. No one was in the area and there were no injuries or significant equipment damage, but it was enough to stop the body production line for several hours.

Could just be a random event, but as Andy Grove said, "Only the paranoid survive." Please be on the alert for anything that's not in the best interests of our company. If you aren't getting a response from the emdesk email, please send me a note directly.



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