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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Musk's chief engineer takes a break as Model 3 production pressure grows

Senior vice president is taking time off to recharge and spend time with his family, and hasn’t left the company

Tesla Model 3 Fremont factory's production line in California. The firm has struggled to hit targets for the new saloon. Alexandria Sage/Reuters
Tesla Model 3 Fremont factory's production line in California. The firm has struggled to hit targets for the new saloon. Alexandria Sage/Reuters

Tesla’s engineering chief is taking a break from the company, weeks after Elon Musk took over production responsibilities during the rocky ramping up of the Model 3 saloon.

Doug Field, a senior vice president, is taking time off to recharge and spend time with his family and hasn’t left the company, a spokesman said.

Separately, Tesla also lost Matthew Schwall, its primary contact with US regulators. He is joining the safety team at Waymo, the self-driving-car company started by Google, it was confirmed on Saturday.

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Mr Musk had asked Mr Field about a year ago to manage both engineering and production to better align the two departments, the CEO wrote in a tweet last month. Mr Musk was responding to a report by The Information that said he had taken direct control of production. He confirmed this, tweeting that it was “better to divide & conquer”.

In another tweet, Mr Musk wrote that he regarded Mr Field as “one of the world’s most talented” engineering executives. He’s one of only four executive officers named in the company’s recent proxy statement.

Mr Field, 52, made headlines in March with an email to workers that urged them to “prove a bunch of haters wrong” by boosting Model 3 output. Tesla came up short of a target to build 2,500 of the cars in the final week of that month. On April 3, the company reported that it produced 2,020 in the previous seven days.

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