A Telsa spokesperson told Fortune the company has no comment.
In various statements in public and recently to Tesla employees, Musk has said that he routinely lives around the clock at the manufacturing plant while the company tries to increase production of the Tesla Model 3, a mass-market sedan that now starts at $44,000. Smouldering in an air filter in the welding area of Tesla's body line was extinguished in a matter of seconds, she said. "His stated motivation is that he wanted a promotion that he did not receive". He said Tesla will continue its investigation this week to determine if the employee was acting alone or "if he was working with any outside organizations". In an email to Tesla employees Friday night, Musk congratulated them on manufacturing progress, yet indicated that "radical improvements are still needed" over the next couple of weeks if they are to meet quarterly targets.
A day later, Musk invoked a late tech titan in urging workers to keep an eye out for any amusing business after a fire briefly halted vehicle output.
He then warned of enemies who might want to do Tesla harm. He named Wall Street short-sellers, oil and gas companies and other automakers. All parts of the Model 3 production system are now above 500 and some are nearly at 700 cars already. However, he often couples that with expansive statements, such as in the sabotage memo, in which he mentions oil and gas companies, and gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicle manufacturers as opponents who are "sometimes not super nice" and "maybe...willing to cheat in other ways" than on emissions tests.
The accusations of sabotage come a week after Musk announced layoffs for 9 percent of the company's workforce. Then there are the multitude of big gas/diesel auto company competitors. Of this last group, Musk reminded his employees that, since the traditional OEMs have been known to cheat emissions tests, "maybe they're willing to cheat in other ways".
Most of the time, when there is theft of goods, leaking of confidential information, dereliction of duty or outright sabotage, the reason really is something simple like wanting to get back at someone within the company or at the company as a whole.
If you know of, see or suspect anything suspicious, please send a note to [email address removed for privacy] with as much info as possible.
Looking forward to having a great week with you as we charge up the super exciting ramp to 5000 Model 3 cars per week! Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.