Musk tells newspaper he's cracking under stress of Tesla job

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Elon Musk said no one saw or reviewed his tweet about the plan to take the electric-car maker private before he posted it.

In an interview with The New York Times, Musk said 2018 has been "excruciating for him", acknowledging efforts to ensure Tesla is meeting its production targets have taken a physical toll.

"This past year has been the most hard and painful year of my career", he told the paper, adding that it had been "excruciating".

Tesla short sellers received a sizable payday hours after The New York Times published an eye-opening interview with an emotional Elon Musk, the electric-car company's chairman and CEO.

Investors must have gotten unnerved.

Tesla's stock closed Friday at $305.50 a share, down 9% for the day and 21% since the day of the tweet. Nearly a week later, the chief executive officer said the basis for his statement was conversations with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which first expressed interest in helping take the company private in early 2017.

Tesla's board is said to be concerned about Musk's erratic behaviour - prompting executives to launch a search for a number-two who can take pressure off him.

Following the wedding, he flew straight back to Tesla headquarters, and told the newspaper that he thought the worst was over when it came to Tesla's production headaches, but from a "personal pain standpoint, the worst is yet to come".

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Tesla has spent millions as it reached a goal of producing 5,000 Model 3 sedans per week by the end of June. "They can have the reins right now", stated Musk.

"There have been many false and irresponsible rumors in the press about the discussions of the Tesla Board", Tesla said in a statement. "I don't know what the bench looks like behind him", Mr Hogan said. Tesla board members are also reportedly aware that Musk has used recreational drugs on occasion.

The company did not comment on that report, but it did say it was forming a special committee to evaluate proposals to take the company private. Investors also were anxious about reports that regulators were pressuring Tesla's directors for details about how much information he shared with them.

Musk has argued that taking Tesla private would relieve the company of the "enormous pressure" of Wall Street's expectations. It also caused Musk a lot of trouble.

Musk spent nights at Tesla's Fremont, California, factory working out production problems on its new Model 3 vehicle that is supposed to take Tesla from niche luxury carmaker to a mass producer that competes with Detroit.

Analysts at UBS this week questioned the profitability the Model 3, in a report that said Tesla could lose $6,000 on every base model. Last year, the company only made 2,700 Model 3s, compared with 20,000 predicted by Musk last year. Tesla later disclosed that Musk had talked with the Saudi Arabia government investment fund about a deal.

Some of Musk's stress comes from critical stock short-sellers who are betting against the company's success.

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