Elon Musk teases new electric cars - Tesla to start advertising
Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting was held yesterday at Giga Texas, and Elon Musk, in his usual manner, sent the world into a tailspin when he confirmed Tesla is working on two new “products.” Elon Musk took to the stage to further explain the Master Plan Part 3 and reiterated Tesla’s commitment to a sustainable future.
Musk confirmed Tesla is working on two new products, which he later referred to, as “new models.” As he was forecasting 5 million units per year to be sold of the two new models alone, an image was displayed alongside him. It is possible that what we saw, was the Tesla Model 2, which is rumored to be manufactured at the new Giga Mexico.
The second product was quite vague, Musk did not share any details of it at all. It may be a van that we saw for the first time during Investor’s Day a few months back. Tesla is increasingly looking into expanding into the commercial vehicle market, and Semi is just a start.
Of course, Optimus made an appearance, and it is astounding how much progress has been made in the short few months since we saw the humanoid last time. Optimus walks around now on its own, learns its environment, and learns manual tasks from humans. Musk is confident that Optimus will be capable of taking over the majority of labor jobs much sooner than we expect.
Tesla’s next-generation drive unit has been confirmed as well, it uses 75% less silicon carbide and no rare earth materials. It needs half the factory space for assembly, and Tesla claims it costs less than $1,000 - that’s a huge deal. Musk confirmed the 12V battery is on the way out, and the company is replacing it with 48V systems.
The controversial CEO made a fair point about Tesla’s use of cobalt, the majority of battery packs used by the company are iron-based, some use nickel, and cobalt is used marginally. Musk made a quip that mobile phones use cobalt-based batteries, and in fact, we should start complaining about that to the phone companies. Taking into account how many mobile phones are out there, he’s got a point.
Tesla will go ahead with an external audit of its mining operations, and Musk even suggested “putting a webcam on the mine” for the whole world to see Tesla’s mining partners are above board and child labor is not an issue.
Yet another valuable point made by Musk was the comparison of Tesla to other EV manufacturers. While BYD claims to be the world’s largest electric car maker, the company includes plug-in hybrids and EREVs in its sales numbers. Last year BYD sold nearly half a million fewer battery-powered EVs than Tesla, but this year that number will change. The point Musk was making was profitability. The other manufacturers may be catching up to Tesla when it comes to sales, but none of them is profitable - BYD just keeps its head above water thanks to the hybrid cars.
Possibly the biggest news though, was a confirmation that Tesla will explore traditional advertising. The company never advertised any of its products, and this is a huge change. Tesla doesn’t have a marketing department and until now it relied on its customers, but as the company grows and turns into a mass-production automaker, it realizes the value of traditional marketing. It will be interesting to see what the first Tesla advert looks like.
And finally - FSD. There is no Tesla event without the FSD being talked about and without assurances that it is just around the corner. But taking all the delays aside, Musk had a good point - once the FSD finally goes live, the value of Tesla vehicles will increase overnight. The value of the company will go through the roof because the implications of a multi-million vehicle fleet capable of full autonomy are immense. Is Elon just trying to rally up the investors, or has he got an actual point here?
When can we have functional automatic wipers?
- 18 May 2023