Tesla will offer a Model 3 sedan for about $35,000 this summer, CEO Elon Musk told 60 Minutes in his first extended interview where he also addressed the company's production bottleneck and his erratic behavior this year.
In the interview with Leslie Stahl that aired on Dec. 9 on CBS, Musk recounted his struggle to mass-produce an affordable model.
"It was life or death," Musk said. "Those betting against the company were right by all conventional standards that we would fail."
Tesla is now selling its Model 3 for at least $49,000, and add-ons can quickly take it to $60,000. He hopes to reach the $35,000 price level soon.
"It's getting there," he said. "We're not that far from being able to produce the $35,000 car and that'll be ready in probably five or six months."
To meet his ambitious goal of producing 5,000 vehicles per week, Musk and his employees set up a more flexible, human-driven manufacturing process that included a third production line under a tent he erected in a company parking lot. He pushed his employees hard and said he spent 120 straight hours in the factory at one point.
By the end of June, Tesla had reached the production goal. Musk also said he would consider taking over some of the factories General Motors plans to close as part of its restructuring.
"It's possible that we would be interested," Musk said. "If they were going to sell a plant or not use it that we would take it over."