Ex-Tesla factory worker to pay US$400,000 to end feud with Elon Musk

Tesla fired Mr Martin Tripp when the company found out he was the source of the information. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - A former Tesla employee who locked horns with chief executive officer (CEO) Elon Musk has agreed to pay the company US$400,000 (S$535,700) for telling reporters about production delays at its Gigafactory in Nevada, according to a court filing.

The payment is part of a proposed settlement of a lawsuit Tesla filed in 2018 that accused Martin Tripp of illegally divulging trade secrets about the production of Tesla's Model 3.

As part of the accord, Mr Tripp admitted to violating trade secret laws and confidentiality agreements and promised to pay Tesla US$25,000 for continuing to reveal information about the company, despite being ordered to stop by a judge.

Mr Tripp was a process technician at Tesla's Gigafactory from 2017 to 2018. While still at the company, he sent emails to reporters saying that it would be unable to reach Mr Musk's publicly stated goal of producing 5,000 Model 3s a week.

Tesla fired Mr Tripp when the company found out he was the source of the information. Subsequently, he and Mr Musk publicly traded insults.

Mr Tripp countersued Mr Musk for defamation, but the federal judge handling the case threw it out, ruling that the technician had failed to show that the CEO had acted with actual malice.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.