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Tesla’s Ongoing Feud With Former Employee Enters A New, Terrifying Level Of Crazy

REUTERS/Joe Skipper

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Tesla claimed Thursday that a former employee involved in a lawsuit with the company warned he was preparing to go on a shooting spree at the automaker’s Nevada’s facility.

But  Martin Tripp, who allegedly hacked the company and gave information to outside groups, called the claim “absurd” and “insane” in a rancorous email exchange between the former employee and CEO Elon Musk. He later told The Washington Post that Tesla’s claim has no basis in reality.

The sheriff’s office in the Nevada county housing the Gigafactory said Thursday that it fielded a threat to security at the factory Wednesday but determined “after several hours of investigation … there was no credible threat.” The county is withholding the names of those involved until the investigation is completed.

The allegation is illustrative of Musk’s growing paranoia that outside elements are working to take down the Silicon Valley company. Musk recently sent company-wide emails urging employees to look out for shadowy “outside forces,” saying, “Only the paranoid survive,” according to The Washington Post report.

Tripp admitted to writing software to hack Tesla’s manufacturing software and transferring data to “outside entities,” including dozens of photographs, according to the lawsuit. Musk warned employees to look out for possible saboteurs who might undermine the company’s technology.

The lawsuit comes as Tesla struggles to produce the Model 3. The company initially planned to produce 5,000 Model 3s a week by the end of 2017, but that number was quickly revised as the inexpensive vehicle’s production began faltering. (RELATED: Tesla Alleges Former Employee Swiped Confidential Info And Gave It To Outside Group)

Tesla is currently making only around 975 Model 3s a week — well short of the 2,500-unit rate target by the end of this quarter. Concern is growing over the Silicon Valley company’s poor production performance. (RELATED: Tesla Might Need Another $10 Billion To Stay Afloat Through 2020)

It managed to build a mere 260 Model 3s between July and September of 2017. That number is well below the 1,500 Tesla promised before the end of the fourth quarter of said year. Total orders for the wallet-friendly vehicle tumbled from a high of 518,000 to 455,000.

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