As expected, a shareholder proposal to remove Elon Musk as Chairman was voted down at the company’s recent shareholders’ meeting, as was an attempt to get rid of three board members that some see as not sufficiently independent.
Elon himself made a lengthy speech in which he addressed many of the current criticisms of the company, and answered some questions from Twitter and quite a few from the live audience.
Musk called the Model 3 ramp-up “the most excruciating, hellish few months I think I’ve ever had.” (It must have been hellish indeed if it was worse than what he and his team went through with the Roadster, Model S and Model X, to say nothing of the company’s 2008 near-death experience.) The company has made “a lot of mistakes” with Model 3 production, but it’s addressing the problems, and Musk is still confident that Tesla will achieve its goal of revolutionizing auto manufacturing.
Musk promised that the interim goal of 5,000 cars per week is within sight, and reiterated that the company expects to reach positive cash flow in Q3 and Q4, and doesn’t foresee a need to raise additional capital this year.
Model Y will probably by unveiled by March 2019 and go into production around the first half of 2020. Similar timelines apply to the Semi and Roadster, each of which will be even better than the versions that were unveiled. The Roadster we saw at the 2017 unveiling was “the base model,” said Musk to laughs and gasps. The production version will have a “SpaceX option package.”
What about the long-suffering loyal supporters who put down deposits on the $35,000 base Model 3? Elon promised that they will not be forgotten – they’ll receive their cars at the agreed price, and volume production should begin early next year.
There were a couple of minor revelations – Musk announced that there is a next-generation Supercharger in the pipeline, nearing the end of the design stage. It was also revealed that Tesla’s anticipated new Gigafactory will be located in Shanghai. At this point, all we know is that it will be a “next-generation Tesla factory,” and “the cars we will be building there will be incredible.” Details are promised by next month or so. Plans for a third, European Gig will be announced “probably towards the end of this year.” Musk says there will ultimately be 10 or 12 Gigafactories worldwide.
JB Straubel took the stage, and restated his confidence that Tesla has the best and cheapest battery cells in existence. If there’s anything better out there, he’s not aware of it, and he’s looking all the time. Elon said he hopes to break the psychologically-significant $100/kWh level later this year. “We think we’ve come up with some pretty cool breakthroughs on this front.”