The entrepreneur, who is the world’s richest person, made the comments during an online interview when asked which electric vehicle start-up company had most impressed him.
“The company making the most progress besides Tesla is VW, which is not a startup but could be viewed in some ways as a startup from the electrical vehicle standpoint, so VW is doing the most on the electric vehicle front,” he told the FT Live event.
He then turned his attention to praising the competition coming out of China, which is the world’s biggest car market and where Tesla has a manufacturing plant in Shanghai.
“I think there will be some very strong companies coming out of China, there is just a lot of supertalented hardworking people in China who strongly believe in manufacturing,” he added.
“They won’t just be burning the midnight oil, they will be burning the 3am oil, they won’t even leave the factory type of thing, whereas in America people are trying to avoid going to work at all.”
Mr Musk did not mention either American rivals, Lucid or Rivian.
Meanwhile, VW sold the most electric vehicles in Europe in 2021 and has already sold out of electric cars in Europe and the US for 2022.
Last week the company said that it had a backlog of 300,000 orders in Western Europe alone.