Tesla Motors has been “tamed” by “disfigurement,” according to its CEO Elon Musk, who said the electric train he built for his children has been more effective than the one it replaces.
Musk told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that his “treaty-free” electric train, the Tesla Model 3, was “the most effective train we’ve ever built.”
Tesla was supposed to have begun testing its electric train in 2019, but Musk has now “tamped down the costs” to get it up and running.
“We’ve reduced the cost from $1,000 per mile to $1,” he said.
“It’s the best train we have ever built and I can’t believe the people that have been so excited about it.
It’s been a real challenge.”
Musk’s comments come as the Federal Trade Commission is weighing whether Tesla is a monopoly, as regulators from both parties have warned.
The FTC will decide by June whether Tesla’s “takedown” tactics, which include asking for data, are illegal.
In addition, Tesla faces lawsuits from other automakers over alleged unfair competition in the electric car market.
“If you’re a car manufacturer and you’re doing the same thing you did with the Model 3 and you’ve got this huge, billion-dollar business and you want to protect that business, you’re going to do everything you can to crush it,” Musk said.
Tesla has long faced criticism from both consumer advocates and regulators, and Musk said his company has received a “fatal backlash” from the “big companies.”
Tesla’s electric train train is a prototype of the Model S. Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images for Tesla Motors Tesla has become the poster child for the need for regulators to protect consumers, but that has not always been easy.
The electric carmaker sued the Federal Communications Commission in 2015 after it claimed the company’s service fees for its customers were unfair.
In a court filing, Tesla argued that it was “too early to determine whether or not the commission’s interpretation of a ‘commercially reasonable’ fee constitutes a monopoly.”
Musk told The New York Times that the “tear-jerking” lawsuit “was one of the most costly, but most successful, attempts I’ve ever seen to shut us down.”
“It was pretty successful,” Musk told the Times.
“When you go down that road, the stakes are pretty high.”
Musk also told CNBC that he was “disappointed” in the FCC, which he called “very unresponsive.”
Tesla filed for bankruptcy protection in 2019.
Tesla CEO Elon Smith in the second half of 2018.
Photographer : Spencer Platts/Getty Photos Tesla is currently negotiating to buy a stake in California-based electric car maker SolarCity.
Musk has said he expects the company to be able to raise $5 billion in a deal.
Tesla is also considering a takeover bid from rival electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors.
Tesla recently announced a partnership with Toyota.
Tesla and Toyota have been fighting to protect their joint business.
The carmakers are expected to finalize a $1.6 billion deal in 2018, according to a report by Bloomberg.
Tesla’s current stock price is up about 4 percent this year.