An aerial view shows Tesla’s headquarters on January 3, 2023 in Travis County, Texas.
Brandon Bell | Getty Images
Speaking to shareholders at the company’s annual meeting on Tuesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk predicted the economy would pick up in 12 months and promised the company would deliver Cybertrucks into production later this year.
- CEO Elon Musk said Tesla will deliver its first Cybertrucks this year and should be able to deliver 250,000 to 500,000 a year once production starts. He said he will drive a Cybertruck on a daily basis.
- The economy will be in the doldrums for the next 12 months, and many companies will go out of business, but Tesla will be well positioned for the long term.
- Model Y will be “the first selling car on earth this year”
- Tesla may reconsider its long stance against traditional advertising: “We’ll try some advertising and see how it goes.”
- Tesla plans to produce a new type of powertrain, which Musk said will require less silicon carbide than previous powertrains and no rare earths. Tesla will also switch to a new low-voltage architecture in its cars that should require less copper.
- JB Straubel, former Tesla CTO and current head of e-waste recycling company Redwood Materials, was voted into the board as an independent director.
The stock rose about 1% after hours during the event.
During the Q&A, an attendee dressed as a robot wearing a cowboy hat asked Musk if Tesla would build an RV or an RV. Musk said the company has no plans to build an RV right now, but the upcoming Cybertruck could be converted into an RV or an RV.
In response to a question about his $44 billion takeover of social media service Twitter, Musk said it was a “short-term distraction” and said he had to do “major open-heart surgery” to ensure its survival, then noted that he was excited that former NBC Universal advertising executive Linda Yaccarino is joining the company to become its new CEO.
Another attendee asked Musk if he would reconsider Tesla’s long-standing approach to traditional advertising. Historically, the company has relied on word of mouth, influencer marketing and other non-traditional marketing and advertising to get the word out about its products and their best features.
Musk said on Tuesday, “We’re going to try some advertising and see how it goes.”
Straubel was added to the board, Optimus exclaimed
Earlier, shareholders voted to add former Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel, who is now CEO of Redwood Materials, to the automaker’s board. Redwood Materials recycles electronic waste and batteries, and last year hit one multi-billion business with Tesla supplier Panasonic.
After the shareholder vote, CEO Elon Musk began his portion of the meeting with a commitment to conduct a third-party audit of Tesla’s cobalt supply chain, namely to ensure that there is no child labor within any of Tesla’s cobalt suppliers.
Cobalt is a critical ingredient in the production of batteries that go into Tesla’s electric cars and backup battery packs used in homes and for utility-scale energy projects. “Even for the small amount of cobalt that we make for us, we will make sure for six weeks until Sunday that no child labor is used,” Musk said to cheers from investors who were present in person.
Later in his presentation, Musk boasted about the company’s energy storage business, saying growth in sales of “large batteries” was faster than growth in the company’s core automotive segment.
Back in 2017, Musk unveiled a “next-generation” Tesla Roadster during an event to announce the Tesla Semi, the company’s Class 8 electric truck. On Tuesday, he said the Roadster, originally slated for production and deliveries in 2020, could enter production in 2024.
Musk also became optimistic about a humanoid robot under development at Tesla, called Optimus. Optimus should be able to run on the same kind of software and computer that Tesla uses to enable advanced driver assistance systems in its cars, Musk said.
The CEO said he believes “a majority of the long-term value” of Tesla will be derived from Optimus eventually.
Since the electric car maker’s last annual meeting in August 2022, Tesla’s largest retail owner, Leo Koguan, has criticized Musk for selling billions of dollars of his Tesla holdings to finance a $44 billion buyout of Twitter.
Koguan, who is a billionaire and founder of IT services company SHI International, called to the company’s board to “conduct shock therapy to revive the share price”, namely through a share buyback at the end of last year.
Some institutional Tesla investors have admonished Musk for be too distracted during his role as Twitter CEO to perform optimally at the helm of Tesla, but Musk said Tuesday that he expected to spend less time on Twitter going forward than he has in the past six months. They have also criticized Tesla’s board, headed by chairman Robyn Denholm, for failing to rein him in and protect shareholders’ interests.
One attendee asked Musk about rumors that he’s thinking about quitting Tesla. Musk said “it’s not like that.”
He added, “I think Tesla is going to play an important role in AI and AGI and I think I have to monitor it to make sure it’s good,” referring to artificial general intelligence, which is the idea of a hypothetical intelligent agent. Musk claimed at the time that Tesla has “by far the most advanced real-world AI” of any tech company today.
Shares of Tesla closed at $228.52 on October 28, 2022, after Musk officially took over Twitter. They closed at $166.52 on May 16, 2023, when the session started, and rose about 1% after hours.
At last year’s AGM, Musk predicted an 18-month recession, teased the possibility of share buybacks and told investors the electric vehicle business aims to produce 20 million vehicles annually by 2030, which he believed would require a dozen factories with each producing 1.5 million to 2 million units per year.
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