Tesla shares closed down 5.6% Tuesday after CEO Elon Musk sought to manage expectations ahead of the electric carmaker’s Battery Day presentation.
The New Type Of Battery
The annual Tesla’s Battery Day brought with it a number of important updates and developments on Tuesday, although CEO Elon Musk arguably didn’t touch on quite as many topics as originally expected. Nevertheless, a lot of news came out of the big event, so here’s a look back at the headlines you need to know:
Tesla ‘Biscuit Tin’ Battery
Essentially, the so-called biscuit tin is a new kind of battery cell that, while cylindrical in design and using lithium-ion chemistry, has very few similarities to previous cells. As Roadshow’s Kyle Hyatt reported, “The most significant change happens inside the larger cell canister and involves removing the tabs that act as the positive and negative connection points between the anode and cathode and the battery casing.”
Tesla says its new cell design should give its vehicles a 16% increase in range thanks to a 5x increase in energy. The new batteries will reportedly be cheaper to produce, as well.
The only thing beyond Ludicrous is Plaid— Tesla (@Tesla) September 23, 2020
Model S Plaid Details
The long-awaited, range-topping Model S Plaid was finally announced during the event and, man, its specs are impressive. Musk said the Plaid will have a range of over 520 miles, a top speed of 200-plus mph, a 0-to-60-mph time of under 2 seconds and a quarter-mile time of less than 9 seconds. Hot damn.
The Model S Plaid is now available to configure and order on Tesla’s website. The first deliveries are expected to begin in late 2021.
Half A Million Cybertruck Preorders
The big, brutish Tesla Cybertruck that debuted last November will enter production in the not-too-distant future, and apparently, a lot of folks are interested. Musk said the truck has roughly 600,000 preorders, which backs up an unofficial, third-party estimate from March.
Now, keep in mind, these are just preorders — $100 fully refundable deposits from people who are potentially interested in a Cybertruck. How many the company will actually end up selling right off the bat obviously remains to be seen.
Musk’s company is expected to announce on Tuesday afternoon details about a new type of battery cell it has developed. Analysts had hoped the technology could help Tesla maintain its edge over rivals in the electric vehicle space, but Musk dampened such hopes Monday when he cautioned about hurdles to reaching mass production.
“Important note about Tesla Battery Day unveil tomorrow,” Musk tweeted, often his go-to for communications about the company. “This affects long-term production, especially Semi, Cybertruck & Roadster, but what we announce will not reach serious high-volume production until 2022.”
Musk said Tesla would increase battery cell purchases from suppliers Panasonic, LG and CATL but warned “we still foresee significant shortages in 2022 & beyond unless we also take action ourselves.” Tesla has built a prototype manufacturing line for battery cells at a lab in Fremont, California, near the company’s U.S. car plant.
Tesla shares fell over 6% in after-hours trading as a result Monday, after closing almost 2% higher at $449.39. Still, share prices are up over 400% year to date on the back of a stock split and optimism around the possibility of Tesla’s entry into the S&P 500.
Full Self-Driving Beta
Despite what the name of the Full Self-Driving option suggests, none of Tesla’s products are self-driving cars. But Musk is working to unlock the full potential of his cars’ Autopilot technology, and says a private beta test of the Full Self-Driving suite should be available in the coming months.
“We had to do a fundamental rewrite of the entire Autopilot software stack… We’re now labeling 3D video, which is hugely different from when we were previously labeling single 2D images,” Musk said. “We’re now labeling entire video segments, taking all cameras simultaneously and labeling that. The sophistication of the neural net of the car and the overall logic of the car is improved dramatically.”
Musk sums up his impressions clearly: “It’s profound.”
$25,000 Tesla? Not So Fast
Remember the $35,000 Tesla Model 3? Yeah. Well. Anyway. Musk says an even cheaper, $25,000 car is being considered, and Musk thinks Tesla can do it thanks to reduced battery and manufacturing costs.
“We’re confident that long-term we can design and manufacture a compelling $25,000 electric vehicle,” Musk said. It’s expected to arrive in the next three years, and Musk even said the low-cost EV will boast full self-driving. Hmm. Of course, it’s also important to note that Musk himself hinted at a $25,000 Tesla EV coming in three years… back in 2018. Perhaps that last bit is one of the reasons why Wall Street reacted poorly to Battery Day, chopping $50 billion off its stock value. The company’s stock continued to decline Wednesday morning.
Tesla stock closed down 5.6% Tuesday.
Tesla is expected to announce details later in the day about a new type of battery cell it has developed.
But CEO Elon Musk cautioned about hurdles to reaching mass production.