Elon Musk
Elon Musk previously said that he believed Tesla only had a 10 percent chance of success, yet he still took billions from the government. | Source: Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP

By CCN: There are two ways to catch a con man like Tesla’s Elon Musk: look at his previous statements and look at his current statements. The obvious lies are the current ones.

The juicier and more damning ones are things said or thought years ago that come to light.

Elon Musk Admits He Once Expected Tesla to Fail

Elon Musk told an unofficial Tesla podcast:

“I was actually always fairly pessimistic about the outcome of Tesla, all the way from the beginning…I thought, we have a maybe 10% chance of success. And we came very close to failing many times, so I never really thought before it actually happened that it would be that successful.”

It’s one thing when an entrepreneur thinks that his hot new idea will be a tough challenge and he’ll have to grind to make it happen. It’s another to gobble up billions of dollars in government and taxpayer money, pay yourself massive sums of it as salary, and be 90% certain you’re going to fail.

Tesla Almost Did Fail

Indeed, Elon Musk said that Tesla was weeks away from bankruptcy just last year:

“Tesla really faced a severe threat of death due to the Model 3 production ramp. Essentially, the company was bleeding money like crazy, and if we didn’t solve these problems in a very short period of time, we would die. And it was extremely difficult to solve them.”

It remains a mystery as to why the stock market continues to hand Tesla a $36 billion valuation considering it almost did go under less than 12 months ago and has burned over $5 billion in cash in the past four years alone.

Tesla’s Stock Is Driven by Speculation, Not Fundamentals

Tesla’s stock seems poised to leap on any good news. On Thursday, it jumped 5% on news that delivery numbers looked good for Q2.

Yet Tesla has a bumpy track record with deliveries. Elon Musk repeatedly makes outlandish promises he does not keep. So when a trickle of good news comes out, it’s as if Tesla stock speculators flood in from the sidelines to ride the wave until bad news hits again.

None of this changes the fact that Tesla car manufacturing and deliveries are as erratic as Elon Musk himself. The whole operation has always felt like it was flying by the seat of its pants, what with exploding cars, fatal crashes, and embarrassing PR stunts hitting Tesla in the face.

If there’s one thing the stock market has taught investors, though, it’s that momentum and speculation will never go away no matter how poor a company’s fundamentals are.

This article was edited by Gerelyn Terzo.

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