Elon Musk speaks at Tesla’s 2023 Investor Day on March 1.
Electric car manufacturer Tesla host 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 scale up in the face of increasing competition.
The presentation was long on vision and included a review of past achievements, but short on details about any new Tesla products or services.
Near the start of the presentation, Musk said, “There is a clear path to a sustainable energy Earth. It doesn’t require us to destroy natural habitats. It doesn’t require us to be austere and stop using electricity and be in the cold. Or whatever. ” He added, “In effect, you can support a civilization much larger than the Earth, much more than the 8 billion people that could actually be supported sustainably on the Earth.”
Musk was initially joined on stage by Senior Vice President of Powertrain and Energy Engineering at Tesla, Drew Baglino. They discussed a future where the company would play a role in “repowering the grid with renewable fuels” as they ramp up battery production, both for Tesla’s electric vehicles and for the company’s utility-scale energy storage systems.
Tesla’s goal is to produce 20 million electric vehicles a year by 2030, executives reiterated. The company reported full-year deliveries of around 1.31 million vehicles in 2022.
During a question and answer session after the 3-hour presentation, executives asked a question about how Tesla could increase its market share in China.
Elon Musk referred the question to Tom Zhu, who heads global production and has run China and APAC operations for Tesla for several years. “As long as you offer a product with value 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 big effect on demand.”
Zhu also announced that as of Wednesday, Tesla had produced 4 million cars in total.
Tom Zhu speaks at Tesla Investor Day.
“It took us 12 years to build the first million, and about 18 months to the second million. The third million, 11 months. Then less than 7 months to build the 4 millionth,” Zhu said, praising the company’s improved operational efficiency.
He said the company plans to build new car and battery cell factories, and also to produce more cars per year at its existing factories.
Tesla charging head Rebecca Tinucci said the company by 2022 provided 9 terawatt hours across charging methods, including home charging including 40,000 superchargers. (By comparison, the entire U.S. consumes about 4,000 terawatt-hours of electricity per year.) Tinucci also noted that about half of the company’s Superchargers in the EU are open to other vehicles, and that the company just opened 10 Superchargers in the U.S. to non-Teslas.
Tesla design chief Franz von Holzhausen and vice president of automotive engineering Lars Moravy took the stage to showcase a number of planned manufacturing changes intended to improve the efficiency of Tesla’s vehicle production. But von Holzhausen said Tesla would not yet reveal its “next-generation” vehicle.
The company’s vice president of powertrains, Colin Campbell, said Tesla’s next powertrain factory will be 50% smaller than the one in Austin, Texas, but will have the same capacity. He also said the company is working on a new type of drive unit that is compatible with all types of battery cells and an engine that will be built without any rare earth metals.
Ahead of Investor Day 2023, at a press conference on Tuesday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tesla had agreed to build a large factory in Monterrey, Mexico. He said Tesla agreed to use recycled water and take other initiatives to address water shortages in the region.
Musk confirmed the factory plans on Wednesday, saying production there would complement, rather than replace, any manufacturing at other Tesla facilities.
Tesla stock has rebounded from declines in 2022 and is up more than 60% for the year so far. However, the stock lost 1.43% on Wednesday before the event and 5% after hours.
Mizuho Securities analysts maintained a buy rating on Tesla shares ahead of Investor Day, seeing Tesla in a leading position in a growing market for all-electric vehicles. They wrote in a note earlier this week, “In the near term, we see continued strength in TSLA’s market share, but see the arrival of cheaper competitor EVs as potentially dilutive to TSLA’s share of the US EV market.”
Currently, the cheapest Tesla available is the Model 3 sedan, which starts at a price point of about $43,000, they wrote. Seven models from other automakers are currently priced below that, Mizhuo noted.
Musk’s ambitious master plan Part Two was published in 2016 and has not been fully met. It contained four main objectives:
- “Create stunning sunroofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage”
- “Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments”
- “Develop a self-driving capability that is 10 times safer than manual via massive fleet learning”
- “Make your car earn money for you when you’re not using it”.
— CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.