CEO Elon Musk said the scope of the next-generation vehicles will advance Tesla’s technological prowess while severely cutting costs.
The new platform launches at the Texas Gigafactory (pictured above) rather than Fremont, California, because Musk wants engineers based at the Austin headquarters “to be living on the line.”
Musk said Tesla is the world’s leading robot maker, “because the car is just a four-wheeled robot.”
Production of Tesla’s next-generation electric vehicle platform will commence with Model 3 and Model Y production at the Texas Gigafactory in the second-half of 2025, Elon Musk told investors and Wall Street analysts during the company’s fourth-quarter and full-year 2023 earnings call after the New York Stock Exchange closed Wednesday.
But the tech/automaker’s CEO warned investors, analysts, and reporters listening in to take that with a grain of salt. “I don’t want to blow your minds, but I’m often optimistic in terms of timing,” he said.
Musk said the scope of the next-generation vehicles will advance Tesla’s technological prowess while severely cutting costs in the manner that General Motors expects of advances in Ultium and Ford Motor Company expects for its second- and third-generation dedicated EVs in the coming years.
Tesla’s next-generation technology will be “heads and shoulders above any manufacturing technology in the world,” he said.
Tesla’s investor deck says the company is between two major growth waves, with global expansion of the Model 3/Y platform behind it and the next-generation compact platform furthering the global expansion and reducing costs significantly into the future.
The new platform launches at the Texas Gigafactory rather than Fremont, California, because Musk wants engineers based at the Austin headquarters “to be living on the line.”
Musk touted Tesla’s takeover of the Fremont plant (which was obtained for free when the NUMMI partnership dissolved between GM and Toyota after GM’s 2009 bankruptcy).
The plant was in shambles, he said, and Tesla’s takeover saved not just the building, but the community surrounding it and built a record of nearly 560,000 vehicles there last year. NUMMI built 430,000 in its best year under GM and Toyota.
Tesla executives said the Cybertruck is nearly sold out for 2024, “a production, not a demand-constrained situation,” Musk said, adding that the company could raise the price but that would not be fair to customers.
He did not answer the question as to how soon the truck’s customer queue would be fulfilled, but added, “I could see maybe a quarter-million Cybertrucks a year in North America, maybe more.”
Musk also addressed recent news that he wants his control over Tesla to grow to 25% while still holding about 13% of Tesla stock before it grows to become a leader in robotics and artificial intelligence.
Musk said he is concerned “if I had so little influence I could be voted out” by activist shareholders while working on ethically troublesome technology. The world’s richest man added that “if we could have a dual-class stock, that would be ideal. I’m not interested in economics.”
Dual-class stocks assign more votes per-share to the special class. For example, the Ford family has maintained control over Ford Motor Company with Class B shares since the automaker went public in 1956, despite holding less than 50% of total shares.
Musk said Tesla is the world’s leading robot maker, “because the car is just a four-wheeled robot.” Together with Tesla’s Optimus robot project, “I do think it has the potential to be the most valuable product of any kind. Ever. By far.”
This could make Tesla the world’s most valuable company—not just the world’s most valuable car company, a superlative it has claimed for several years.
Tesla stock closed down $1.31 per share, or -0.63%, to $207.83 per share Wednesday. That makes for a market cap of $660.7 billion. Apple and Microsoft have been neck and neck for first in market cap lately, with Apple worth $3.007 trillion and Microsoft worth $2.992 trillion at Wednesday’s market close.
In its earnings report, Tesla’s gross profit dropped 15% in 2023, to $17.66 billion, though total revenues were up 19% to $96.77 billion.
Also, Tesla claimed its Model Y was the world’s best-selling vehicle of any kind last year, with 1.2 million delivered. “For a long time, many doubted the viability of EVs. Today, the best-selling vehicle on the planet is an EV,” the company’s investor deck says.
Musk first made the claim during Tesla’s first-quarter 2023 earnings call, though we could find no breakout in its sales report delineating the 412,180 Models Y and 3 sold. Toyota sold 740,561 Corollas globally in the first quarter.
We do not have the global total for the Toyota Corolla for all of 2023 yet, but we will update this post when available and try to figure out whether Musk is as optimistic about sales as he is about product launch timing.
Do you see any other EV makers gaining enough momentum to challenge Tesla for the EV sales crown within the next five years? Please comment below.