By TOM REYNOLDS | Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) Tesla Inc. chief executive Elon Musk said Wednesday that he would be willing to take on some responsibility if he is not personally involved in the engine development of the car.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Musk said he has been a longtime advocate of putting the company’s engineers in charge of the development of Tesla’s electric vehicles, but said he would prefer not to take any responsibility for that.
Musk, a self-described electric-car enthusiast, said he is currently reviewing the options for an internal engineering team to help make the car’s battery and electrical systems more efficient.
Musk has been outspoken about his support of the electric-vehicle industry, which he sees as a key driver in the future of the auto industry.
The CEO of Tesla, which has said it expects to sell between 200,000 and 300,000 Model S and Model X sedans in 2017, has also criticized a proposed federal tax incentive program for electric-cars, saying the incentive program is a giveaway to the wrong industries.
Tesla said Wednesday it is looking at potential alternatives to the federal tax incentives.
Musk has previously said the company will use its own resources to build its own battery technology.
The comments come as the company has been in talks with a group of battery companies to produce a new battery, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Tesla has previously signaled it is open to making a battery that can match or surpass the performance of its existing batteries, although the new battery is expected to be larger, faster and cheaper.
Musk said during a conference call in December that he wanted to make sure the company could “produce the most capable battery that will ever be made” and that he hoped the company would be able to do so.
The new battery would be the first of its kind for a new model of car, the company said.
The company said in December it would make a new lithium-ion battery with the first-ever production of that technology.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The automaker has already been investing heavily in battery technology and is currently working on its own lithium-air battery, which could be the most energy-efficient lithium- ion battery on the market.
Tesla has said the first battery will be ready in 2018, although it has not yet said how much it will cost to build it.