Elon Musk is back to working a "pretty manageable" 80 to 90 hours per week.

That's according to a new, wide-ranging interview with Recode's Kara Swisher, in which the Tesla CEO admitted he went "a little bonkers" this summer working 120 hours a week while trying to produce 5,000 new Model 3 vehicles every week. Musk shared his predictions about the future of Tesla and explained why he has pushed himself to the brink of exhaustion to help his company succeed. Here are the five most surprising revelations from the interview. 

1. Musk doesn't view Tesla as a savior

While Musk insisted that "Tesla cannot die," as accelerating the advent of sustainable transport and energy production is just too important, he conceded that the transition to sustainable energy would likely still happen without it. However, he argued it would've taken much longer without his company.

"I think it's probably fair to say that Tesla has advanced sustainable energy by at least five years, conservatively, and maybe closer to 10," Musk said. "If we continue to make progress, we might advance it by 20 years. This could be all the difference in the world."

2. Tesla might not win the self-driving car race

While Musk said he doesn't really "think that much about competitors," he conceded that Google's Waymo was probably Tesla's strongest competitor in terms of offering self-driving technology. He was quick to note, however, that no company is close to offering a "generalized solution" like Tesla's, meaning a self-driving vehicle that works across different countries with a myriad of different road signs and terrains. "No one is likely to achieve [it] before Tesla," he said. 

3. Tesla won't lose money again

Tesla reported a $312 million profit for its third quarter last week, and, according to Musk, the company is "over the hump" in terms of reaching profitability. Musk said Tesla "will be cash-flow positive for all quarters going forward." He added that he is not expecting to raise any more money going forward.

4. A private Tesla would be better

Despite tweeting about plans to take Tesla private and later scrapping the idea, Musk said Tesla "could execute better if we were private." Why? When short sellers bet against Tesla's success, it makes his job even harder. "Every mistake we make is amplified," he said. He also argues that a fluctuating stock price is also a distraction within the company. "The stock goes down, people are sad and feel undercompensated," he said. "And then when the stock goes up, people are exuberant, overly exuberant, and you get distracted thinking about what you're going to buy."

5. Tesla's next hot product is ... a pickup truck

Among Tesla's upcoming products--the midsize SUV Model Y, a semi-truck for heavy transport, and the next-generation Roadster--Musk is most excited about the pickup truck. "It's gonna be, like, a really futuristic-like cyberpunk, Blade Runner pickup truck," he said. "It's gonna be awesome, it's gonna be amazing. This will be heart-stopping; it stops my heart."

Published on: Nov 2, 2018