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Tesla stock drops as investor day lacks detail


Electric vehicle maker Tesla held a 2023 Investor Day presentation in Austin, Texas on Wednesday. CEO Elon Musk took the stage to share his “Master Plan 3” and to discuss how Tesla plans to grow in the face of growing competition.

The presentation was long on vision and included a review of past accomplishments, but few details on new Tesla products or services.

Near the start of the presentation, Musk said, “There is a clear path to a sustainable energy Earth. It does not require the destruction of natural habitats. It doesn’t require us to be austere and stop using electricity and be out in the cold or anything. He added: “In fact, you could support a civilization far larger than Earth, far more than the 8 billion humans could actually sustainably be supported on Earth.”

Musk was first joined on stage by Drew Baglino, senior vice president of powertrain and energy engineering at Tesla. They discussed a future in which the company plays a role in “refueling the grid with renewable fuels” while increasing battery production, both for Tesla’s electric vehicles and for battery storage systems. scale enterprise energy.

Tesla’s goal is to produce 20 million electric vehicles a year by 2030, executives reiterated. The company announced full-year deliveries of around 1.31 million vehicles in 2022.

During a question-and-answer session after the three-hour presentation, executives answered a question about how Tesla could grow market share in China.

Elon Musk escalated the question to Tom Zhu, who has led global production and led China and APAC operations for Tesla for years. “As long as you offer a valuable product at an affordable price, you don’t have to worry about demand,” Zhu said. “We try everything to reduce costs,” he added, “and pass that value on to our customers.”

Musk then added, “Demand is a function of affordability, not desire.” He said: “Even small changes in price have a large effect on demand.”

Zhu also announced that as of Wednesday, Tesla produced 4 million cars in total.

“It took us 12 years to build the first million and about 18 months for the second million. The third million, 11 months. Then less than seven months to build the 4 millionth,” Zhu said, touting the company’s improved operational efficiency.

He said Tesla plans to build new car and battery cell factories, as well as produce more cars per year at its existing factories.

Rebecca Tinucci, Tesla’s charging chief, said that in 2022 the company delivered 9 terawatt hours for all charging methods, including home charging, including 40,000 Superchargers. (For comparison, the entire United States consumes about 4,000 terawatt hours of electricity per year.) to non-Teslas.

Tesla design chief Franz von Holzhausen and the company’s vice president of automotive engineering Lars Moravy took to the stage to show a number of planned manufacturing changes intended to improve the efficiency of the production of Tesla vehicles. But von Holzhausen said Tesla would not unveil its “next generation” vehicle yet.

The company’s vice president of powertrain, Colin Campbell, said Tesla’s next powertrain plant will be 50% smaller than Austin’s but have the same capacity. He also said the company was working on a new type of drive unit that would be compatible with any type of battery cell and a motor that would be built without rare earth metals.

Ahead of Investor Day 2023, at a Tuesday press conference, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tesla had agreed to build a large factory in Monterrey, Mexico. He said the company has agreed to use recycled water and take other initiatives to address water scarcity in the area.

Musk confirmed plans for the factory on Wednesday and said production there would supplement, rather than replace, any manufacturing at other Tesla facilities.

Tesla shares rebounded from 2022 declines and are up more than 60% for the year so far. However, the stock fell 1.43% on Wednesday before the event and 5% after hours.

On Thursday morning, Tesla shares fell further, down 8% in premarket trading.

Analysts at Mizuho Securities maintained a buy rating on Tesla shares ahead of the investor day, seeing the company in a leading position in a growing market for fully electric vehicles. They wrote in a note earlier this week: “In the short term, we see continued strength in TSLA’s market share, but we see cheaper competing electric vehicles coming to market as potentially diluting TSLA’s share. in the U.S. electric vehicle market.”

Currently, the cheapest Tesla available is the Model 3 sedan, which starts at a price of around $43,000, they wrote. Seven models from other automakers are currently priced lower than that, Mizhuo noted.

Musk’s ambitious “Master Plan, Part Deux” was released in 2016 and hasn’t been fully realized. It had four main objectives:

  • “Create stunning solar rooftops with seamlessly integrated battery storage”
  • “Expand the range of electric vehicle products to address all major segments”
  • “Develop autonomous driving capability 10 times safer than manual driving through massive fleet learning”
  • “Allow your car to earn you money when you’re not using it”

Michael Bloom, CNBC contributed.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.