Published on August 19th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


Elon Musk Making $1 Tesla Salary, But $4.3 Million On Model X Planning

August 19th, 2013 by  

Here’s a fun fact: Elon Musk, the co-founder, CEO, and Product Architect of Tesla, has an annual salary of $1 at Tesla. However, that doesn’t tell the full story. The 21st century Renaissance man gets a bit more for meeting specific performance targets.

Tesla Model XIn quarter 2 of 2013, Tesla’s financial reports show that Elon earned $4.3 million in stock-based pay thanks to the progress he and the Tesla team made on the forthcoming Model X. The Model X is a beautiful electric SUV with falcon-winged doors that is set to become Tesla’s second mass-produced vehicle. Elon said on Tesla’s Q2 financial results Q&A that the Model X was still scheduled for its first deliveries at the end of 2014 (pushed back in March from the initial target of year-end 2013), but that there would be few deliveries then and to expect mass production of the electric SUV to start in early 2015.

On the Q&A call, Elon also noted that they were making the Model X even better than previously announced.

“We’re gonna push pretty hard to make it better than what people have seen,” Elon said. “I think there’s some exciting features that… that I love, hopefully other people like them, too.”

He also added that the rockstar electric car company had been pretty dumb at making cars, but that was improving.

“In the 4th quarter of last year, we were extremely dumb at making cars. In the 1st quarter, we were, maybe, still pretty dumb. (laugh) And [we were] slightly dumb in the 2nd quarter. And, hopefully by the 4th quarter, we will at least not be dumb…. This is not some super, you know, how do we get so super good, it’s like, how do we stop being so stupid. (laugh)”

Nonetheless, he didn’t mind chuckling a bit at BMW’s first electric car, the BMW i3.

Back to the money side of things, if you think Elon’s payment scheme is interesting, you may find other segments of Tesla’s financial system a bit “interesting,” as well. Autoblog Green, referencing a Bloomberg analysis, writes:

“Tesla reported that it had a $30.5 million net loss last quarter, but there were $16 million worth of adjustments (including the $4.3 million for Musk) that Tesla says help get the company to its actual number: a $26.3 million profit. From its adjusted profit figure, Bloomberg says, the company also excluded $16 million for its early DOE loan repayment and ‘$19.3 million related to the start of its leasing program.’ Math like this is apparently common in Silicon Valley, where Tesla is based, but unusual in the automotive industry as a whole, Bloomberg says.”

Hmm, interesting….

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • anderlan

    One word explains why well-heeled folks have weird ass personal income accounting: taxes 🙂

  • Marion Meads

    Voodoo math and creative accounting reigns supreme in Silicon Valley.

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