"Tesla has grown and evolved rapidly over the past several years, which has resulted in some duplication of roles and some job functions that, while they made sense in the past, are hard to justify today", Musk wrote.
The cuts will not affect people working on production lines such as its Model 3 vehicle, which has struggled to scale up since deliveries began past year. It's not clear which departments will be most affected.
Tesla, which also operates SolarCity, is only laying off salaried employees.
Tweeting pictures of an email he said had been leaked to media, Musk said that the cuts were part of a simplification of Tesla's management structure promised last month.
Tesla employed more than 37,000 people at the end of previous year.
"What drives us is our mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable, clean energy, but we will never achieve that mission unless we can eventually demonstrate that we can be sustainably profitable".
Tesla Inc. has followed through on a restructuring announced last month by cutting about 9 percent of its workforce, as Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk seeks a first annual profit for the electric-car maker.
Tesla has already started to notify employees, a company spokesman said. The firm has a sector weight rating and a $300 "fair value" price target on Tesla shares, which were up about 4% in pre-market trade Tuesday. The majority of Tesla employees working at Home Depot will be offered the opportunity to move over to Tesla retail locations.