Elon Musk says Tesla may consider buying idle General Motors plants

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In a wide-ranging interview on CBS' "60 Minutes", Musk also reiterates his lack of respect for the SEC.

Speaking with 60 Minutes Overtime presenter Lesley Stahl, he said, "We think it's the most serious problem that humanity faces".

"I do not smoke pot", Musk said.

Robyn Denholm, an Australian telecommunications executive, was appointed chairwoman of Tesla's board last month, replacing Musk as part of as part of a securities fraud settlement with USA government regulators.

Musk, who owns about 20 per cent of Tesla, gave up the chairman role under a settlement with the Securities Exchange Commission, which had charged the CEO with misleading investors in August with a tweet that said he had "funding secured" for taking the company private.

But Musk said "it's not realistic" to expect Denholm to watch over his actions because he remains the electric auto company's largest shareholder.

Elon Musk, who founded Tesla in 2003, dismissed claims that Robyn Denholm had been installed to watch over him like a babysitter.

"Well, I guess we might make some mistakes".

"I want to be clear", he says.

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I mean that's not realistic because I am the largest shareholder in the company and a very high percentage of the shareholders support me and the company.

Musk's explanation: "I'm just being me".

The SEC settlement would allow Musk to return as chairman after three years, subject to shareholder approval.

I think there was like literally one week [during the Model 3 production push] where I actually worked 120 hours and just didn't leave the factory.

Somehow, Musk managed to squander a lot of the public's goodwill, which might have something to do with Tesla and Musk's reputed hostility to unions or maybe even that time Musk baselessly called a rescue diver a paedophile.

Musk said the long-awaited $35,000 version of the Model 3 will "probably" be available in five to six months.

"Well, I mean punctuality's not my strong suit".

The possible plant closures present an opportunity to Tesla.

But GM's downsize could be a windfall for Tesla, with the CEO saying the carmaker might consider buying at least one plant if the opportunity came up. "Some people use their hair, I use Twitter", he said.