07 June 2018 | The 20 Biggest Stories And Reaction From Tesla Shareholder Meeting 2018
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It’s Thursday 7th June 2018 and this is your EV News Daily. Good morning, good afternoon and good evening! Wherever you're listening around the world, a very warm welcome from London, UK. Here is today’s news about electric cars and the future of transport. My name is Martyn Lee and I go through every EV article online so you don’t have to.
The background to the shareholder meeting was a $785million loss in the first quarter of this year alone. Model 3 production is good, and behind expectations.
Mission: "To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
Thank you to everyone who I follow who attended and posted pictures, from a few thousand miles away I felt very close. Thank you Dennis Pascual who had great pics of the white Roadster on show, albeit without an interior so not a working model. A reminder to those with a spare $250,000 kicking around, you can put you deposit down now. The deposit being the full amount!
1.ELON GETS EMOTIONAL
Elon started off emotional, almost walking on stage with tears in his eyes and steadying his voice. It was quite personal anything with some shareholders wanting him removed as Chairman, which was never a realistic proposal. Shareholders gave Elon and the board a full vote of confidence. It was visceral how much he cares, and how deeply invested he is on a personal level. Invested in the financial success, the quality of cars and above all, the safety of his workforce.
"At Tesla, we build our cars with love. At a lot of other companies, they're built by marketing or the finance department, and there's no soul. We're not perfect, but we pour our heart and soul into it and we really care."
WORKER INJURY RATE REDUCED
Safer Employees was the title of this slide. Zach from Clean Technica says: "Tesla’s factory worker injury rate is now approximately 6% below the auto industry average and 50% what it was when GM and Toyota were last building cars in the NUMMI factory. Last year, Tesla’s factory worker injury rate was a bit above the auto industry average. Tesla’s long-term goal is to get it to 50% of the industry average, or 25% of what it was when GM and Toyota were running the factory."
TESLA ARE IMPROVING QUALITY
Tesla Model 3 repairs reduced rapidly from Sep 17 to January 18, and have stabilised now at a much lower level.
BATTERY PACK AND CELL COST REDUCTIONS
In the Q&A section, I thought some of the most interesting comments came when Elon and JB were chatting about battery cell prices. Below $100/kWh is the holy grail for cost parity with combustion engines and some analysts put that at 2020, others I’ve seen only last week said if couldn't be done before 2023. BNEF, hugely respected and knowing a lot more than I do, say 2025.
Elon said...by the end of this year at cell level. That took my breath away to be honest. He said it depends on commodity prices, and it's cell level not pack level, but $100 by the end of the year? Even if you account for ElonTime and add 6 months (make it 12!) and it would be huge news. Pack level $100/kWh within two years, and even Elon joked that wasn't ElonTime, that was realistic time. He specifically talked about improvements to the chemistry, vertical integration at Giga, and production of anodes and cathodes. If i was an analyst today or at BNEF I’d be going back the calculator sharpish and revising my estimates so not to seem out of touch. As the battery pack is always the most expensive part of an EV, which reduces Tesla's costs and increases their margins.
MODEL 3 IS TOP SELLING PREMIUM SEDAN
It's hard with Tesla to focus on the stories that matter, such can be the chaos of media attention around them. Partly brought on by their own success, the half a million Model 3 reservations, and the bold claims they make about their ability to produce them.
But they ARE making a lot of cars, and rates are improving. So much so that Model 3 is now the best-selling mid-sized premium sedan in the U.S. on a monthly basis, now outselling Daimler's popular Mercedes-Benz C-Class, according to Tesla. More than the Audi A4, more than the BMW 3Series, more than the Lexus IS.
Tesla expects to produce more than half of the world’s EV batteries in Q3 2018, including Chinese production. Without any sort of fact check, that was the stat which struck me as intriguing. There are a LOT of Chinese cars, trucks and buses being produced with rates on the rise, from the likes of BYD, BAIC etc.
Oh and don't try to take a quick trip around the Gigafactory, Elon says it takes 2 hours if you don't stop, to see it all. And he & JB said it was only one third built. When finished it will easily be the biggest building on planet earth. That won't be complete for another 4 or 5 years.
1GWh OF ENERGY STORAGE
As I talked about on yesterday’s podcast, if you missed it you might want to download that one we discussed more in detail the JB Straubel quotes, but Tesla didn't miss the chance to reiterate the news Tesla’s energy storage production has now reached 1 GWh worldwide. And they want to deploy the next 1GWh within a year, more of that phrase 'exponential growth' from EM. And talking energy, Elon dropped in how he happened to have bought a house opposite where he lives - not sure whether that's to live in or whether that's what you do as a billionaire - but that he had the Solar Roof put on it, and he's so happy with how it looks and works. It doesn't get the headlines but you could see how much Elon wants the Solar Roof to be the default choice of roof covering in the future, and he talked about it wanting to last 50 years.
This was never meant to be the forum for major announcements about any of those things but inevitably we heard snippets of info. There was a new silhouette image of the Model Y, just the front, but the fanboys and fangirls loved it. He reiterated Twitter claims of a model Y reveal date of March 2019, with production commencing in H1 2020.
The surprise of the Roadster unveil at the Semi event took the air out of the room at the time, but it gets better. There was laughter when Elon called the car he revealed last year the "base Roadster" and said “it’s gonna have a SpaceX options package.” So that's an improvement on 0-60mph in 1.9 seconds, Top Speed of 250mph and 620 mile range. I also thought it was interesting, and this doesn't get reported because Elon often says a 'thing' which gets all the headlines, but the sentence he says next can be more powerful. He said combustion technology has a halo effect on all ICE cars because it still owns the records, but he wants the Roadster to be the best, full stop. The fastest accelerating, the quickest, the best on the track, and the longest range between adding fuel. He said once an electric car bests combustion for everything then it's game on. Or rather, game over for gas.
Elon did say the semi would get a redesign, where in Europe we have to use the cab-over-engine design to meet regulations on total length of truck. He also said the range would be beyond what anyone thinks is possible. He confirmed the finalised, single design would work in North America, Europe, China, and the rest of the world.
MODEL 3 TEST DRIVES
If you're lucking enough to live in an area with a Model 3 on display, you're already doing better than most, and certainly better than here in Europe. But Elon announced he wanted a Model 3 at every Tesla store, and next some cars for test drives. That's in the next two months. What model do you think they would put out for test drives? A basic 35k model, a fully spec'd model, a dual motor (let's call it the 3D) or the full beans performance P3D model? Either way I don't think just anyone will get a test drive, either existing S and X owners, or even just Model 3 reservation holders, to dissuade them from cancelling.
I love how an innocent question can be huge news. Will there be a compact-sized Tesla? One to take on the VW ID range, the Golf buying market? Oh yes says Elon, within 5 years. So watch out Golf, or Ford Focus, or Vauxhall Astra, or Audi A3.
ELON WANTS TO GET BETTER AT 'TIME'
“I do think I have an issue with time. This is something I’m trying to get better at. I’m a naturally optimistic person. I’m trying to recalibrate these estimates as much as possible.”
He said he has been up until 1am last night testing Autopilot. Isn't that a fascinating insight? Autopilot features were said to “exponentially” improve over the next six-twelve months. He even confirmed that Tesla plans to bring back free Autopilot trials.
Domenick at InsideEV's described it best when he pointed out: "Tesla service centres will double over the next year, Musk mentioned that they will be adding Tesla body shop repair locations. These would be attached, mostly, to existing service centres, with the top 10 metro areas in the US getting one by the end of the month. Saying that this would create a huge improvement in both time and cost of body repair claiming, incredibly, that they would be able to achieve same-day repair in a lot of cases."
35K MODEL 3 DELIVERED FIRST QUARTER OF 2019
We will honor that obligation” to deliver at that price, he said, “and we would do so now if it was physically possible.”
MODEL 3 AND THIRD ASSEMBLEY LINE
He said the third general assembly line in its Fremont, California, plant will come online soon, ensuring production will hit 5,000 cars per week by the end of June. "All Model 3 production lines have demonstrated capability of producing 500 cars per day". If you remember 5,000/week was the target for end of 2017 but it's now looking like it might actually happen by the end of Q2, the end of June is 23 days time. Line 3 was confirmed to be more efficient than Lines 1 and 2.
9,969 Superchargers Globally Today, a whisker away from 10,000. The Supercharger V3 will be ready by the end of the year, and when ready, the expansion rate will be increased to get more of the V3's out there. Elon said the plan is to put them at all the right places so you can drive around the world only on Superchargers. Long term they're working on charging ratios, which was a new term to me, with a charging time ratio on long trips of 6:1, later 8 or 10:1 (currently around 4.5:1). On the earnings call, but not in my notes from yesterday, was the charge rate of 200-250kW.
CASH FLOW POSITIVE
I was watching the live stream, which was super late here, on Ben Sullins YouTube channel, he was live streaming it but also had himself picture-in-picture in the corner of the screen offering some commentary. And when this came up, i think he punched the air. Or at least clapped. Cash. Flow. Positive. Something Tesla has claimed in the past would happen but never did, however Elon carefully chose his words to say they'd be cash flow positive and GAAP net income positive in Q3 & Q4 of 2018. He was careful to say "expecting" which backed off the word "definitely" he's used previously. Elon also said he doesn't expect to raise any capital during the year through debt or equity.
I got the feeling they weren't meant to talk about China, but it happened! They confirmed Shanghai as the rumours suggested for Giga there, and all operations under one roof. From raw materials in, to complete cars out. It follows the very recent news that China is now allowing EV makers to build facilities there without needed a joint venture with a domestic company. Tesla's revenue in China has risen from $319 million annually in 2016 to over $2 billion in 2017, with a presence there they will soon avoid import tariffs. Oh and not to forget Europe, they're deciding the location. And in total, they see a need for 12 worldwide Gigafactgories.
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