That’s the claim made by a new book titled Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, And The Quest For A Fantastic Future, set to be released by publisher Ecco in the US midway through next month.
The book says the carmaker was on the verge of bankruptcy, and that Musk reached out to Google co-founder Larry Page seeking a job and to sell Tesla.
Musk is said to have been keen to continue to oversee the Tesla project, and was willing to work with Google if need be to see the brand continue.
The combined US$11 billion deal included an eight-year clause that would see Musk in charge of a Google-owned Tesla, with a new pool of funds to continue the company’s expansion.
While the lawyers met to thrash out the paperwork over several weeks, Musk continued to work at securing Tesla’s future.
The financial troubles are said to have begun when Tesla failed to turn several pre-orders into sales, as buyers were turned off the 2012 Model S due to, among other things, rumoured door handle faults and a lack of features.
As the company’s financial woes unfolded, Musk is said to have quietly halted production at the Tesla factory for a short period in early 2013.
The CEO ordered his staff to contact those on the verge of buying a Model S and close the deal, while also sacking some senior staff and promoting keen juniors into their positions.
“I don’t care what job you were doing - your new job is delivering cars,” Musk reportedly said at a crisis meeting with his staff.
Musk also began what was to become Tesla’s guaranteed buy-back scheme, easing fears among early adopters that their EVs would be worthless against established luxury sedan rivals when it came time to sell.
Not long after the proposal, and still in 2013, Tesla announced its first-ever quarterly profit and the carmaker could begin to stand on its own.
While it’s still relatively early days for Tesla, which currently offers only one model, the carmaker announced a healthy 10,300 sales for the first quarter of 2015.