Elon Musk has complimented Chinese workers, claiming that Americans attempt “to avoid going to work at all” in comparison.
Musk’s recent remarks were in answer to a query about which electric-vehicle startups struck him the most, to which he responded that Volkswagen, although being far from a startup, was “doing the most” in the EV industry.
“The company making the most progress besides Tesla is VW, which is not a startup but could be viewed as a startup from the electrical vehicle standpoint, so VW is doing the most on the electric vehicle front,” he told the FT Live event.
He then praised the competition coming out of China, the world’s largest car market and where Tesla has a manufacturing unit in Shanghai.
“I think there will be some very strong companies coming out of China; there are just a lot of supertalented hardworking people in China who strongly believe in manufacturing,” he added.
“They won’t just be burning the midnight oil, they will be burning the 3 am oil, they won’t even leave the factory type of thing, whereas, in America, people are trying to avoid going to work at all.”
According to the billionaire, the brightest minds are more interested in pushing the boundaries of creativity than getting paid a lot to work on something uninteresting.
“It’s not a money thing,” he added. “It’s really just how interesting are the projects.”
Musk himself slept on the floor of Tesla’s Fremont facility during the Model 3’s “production hell.” So Musk’s obsessive focus on work ethic is nothing new.
Last month, workers at Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory were required to sleep at the facility as production resumed following a three-week shutdown, according to sources. Each worker was expected to work 12-hour shifts with one day off per week.
However, some have criticized Musk for his workaholic tendencies. Tesla workers have also spoken out about a “toxic” office culture in which they are expected to work harder than an average American worker.
In addition, Musk has also been known to terminate Tesla employees for petty offences, which looks to make many people angry. This obviously demonstrates Musk’s affiliation with Steve Jobs’ club, as he terrifies his employees into perfection.