Tesla’s shareholder meeting not only serves the purpose of voting on the proposals put forth by the company’s board but also acts as the biggest stage for CEO Elon Musk to talk about the challenges, as well as progress, of his electric automobile company.
The shareholders first voted on the five proposals presented to them, all of which were passed without any hesitation. They voted against the declassification of Tesla’s board of directors, which several critics believe is flooded with individuals who’re under the good graces of the boss. The shareholders have now agreed to an extended three-year re-election process, in contrast to the 1-year election period that was initially proposed. The request for a more independent board of directors was rejected.
But, as one would expect, the spotlight of the shareholder meeting was surely Tesla’s chief executive. Musk took center stage to answer Twitter, as well as shareholder, questions once the voting procedure wrapped up successfully. And he did shine a light on the upcoming ambitious projects, including the expansion of its Supercharger network, the Gigafactories and vehicle lineup. Let’s dive in and take a brief look at five key takeaways from the meeting:
Model 3 coming next month
Tesla finally plans to put an end to out wait for its most affordable mass-production electric vehicle, Model 3, the very next month. Musk announced on stage that the company, as reported earlier, is on track with the production of this sedan and will deliver their first production vehicle, along with its configurator, at the same time.
Musk mentions that the company made the Model X ordering process too complex by adding too many configuration options. The automaker is not looking to repeat the same mistake and will only provide consumers the options to pick the ‘color’ and ‘wheel size’ for their Model 3 sedans.
This will not hinder the initial manufacturing processes and will give Tesla time to top up the production, as well as configuration options. It will happen according to a scheduled timeline and further added that someone who orders the Model 3 today will only receive his sedan the next year. Such is the case because the company is currently planning to put together only 5,000 vehicles per week this year, increasing the same to 10,000 the next one.
Tesla Model 3, if you’re unaware, is the company’s cheapest all-electric sedan. Though the vehicle comes with a starting price tag of around $35,000, it is aimed towards masses across the globe. The base model will go from 0-60 in under 6 seconds and will be able to cruise for at least 215 miles per charge. The higher variants will feature higher acceleration and mileage per charge. Nearly 400K people have registered to purchase the Model 3, which is even expected to make an India debut this summer.
Tesla semi-truck launch
Unexpectedly, Tesla revealed back in April that it is planning to launch an all-electric semi-truck towards the end of September. It had earlier hinted that the automaker could expand its reach beyond cars and the huge trucking space seemed like the obvious choice for Musk.
We’re getting them closely involved in the design process, so the biggest customers of the heavy duty Tesla semi are helping ensure that it is specified to their needs, so it’s not a mystery.
We are currently completely aloof of the details of the Tesla semi-truck, except for the fact that Musk mentioned that it is taking help from potential customers to design the truck correctly. He further continues to talk about the design process and adds that Tesla hopes to achieve production scale for the heavy-duty semi-truck in the next couple years.
And while Musk didn’t shy away from showing off the teaser image of the semi-truck attached above, he also hinted that Tesla may have something more in store. He was questioned about the same and his answer was —
There’s a few other things I haven’t mentioned here. I just like, really recommend showing up for the semi truck unveiling. Maybe there’s a little more than we’re saying here. Maybe. Could be. Who knows?
We’ll now have to wait until the end of September to learn more about Tesla’s plans for the expansion of its vehicle portfolio beyond cars. It may also unveil new solar technology for charging trucks or portable power walls for storing the collected energy on the go.
Model Y teaser
Tesla already includes three all-electric variants in its portfolio — Model S, 3 and X, it is now planning to add Model Y to the said lineup. While we’ve previously only been greeted with murmurs of this all-electric compact SUV (a crossover vehicle), it has now been confirmed that the automaker is moving ahead with the same. Here’s a teaser image of the crossover vehicle, which you can read about in detail right here.
Autopilot’s progress & music curation feature
Earlier last year, Tesla and Israeli hardware company Mobileye, which is now owned by Intel, argued about who was at blame for the death of an individual — who passed away while riding the vehicle using Autopilot’s semi-autonomous capabilities.
This embroiling battle resulted in a fall out of the long-standing relation and Tesla had to get back to their design board to develop its own hardware, as well as software capabilities. The new and updated Autopilot has steadily been rolling out &catching up to its predecessor. Musk believes that Tesla’s vision (baked in HW2 vehicles) will soon be able to eclipse the power of Mobileye-powered vehicles.
Talking about the transition process, Musk in the shareholder meeting mentioned:
It’s definitely been a tough slog transitioning from the Mobileye Vision chip to Tesla’s internal vision system, but I think we’re almost there in terms of exceeding the ability of the hardware one cars.
Tesla is currently transitioning the software for HW2 vehicles and is expected to release the next variant of the software as soon as next week. Musk mentions that the progress will rapid once the current software exceeds the experience of hardware one vehicles.
Gigafactories & Superchargers
This is no secret that Gigafactory 1, which is being established in the middle of Nevada desert, will not be the only monstrous Tesla manufacturing units in the world. Musk has already expressed his intentions to start scouting and building three-four Gigafactories across the globe.
Yes, they all will not also be in the United States and India could be a prospective location — the Modi government is eager for the automaker’s Indian intervention. Musk, at the shareholder meeting, has reiterated his plans saying that batteries for the Model Y will be produced at the aforementioned Gigafactory whereas the vehicles will be manufactured at a new Gigafactory location. The chief executive also upped his ambitious goal saying that the company now aims to set up at least 10 Gigafactories, or as many as twenty in the near future.
As for the supercharger network, which is Tesla’s massive spread of fast-charging stations, is expected to be doubled to 10,000 by the end of 2017. The electric company has already announced its plans for the same, saying it will also gunning for around 15,000 Supercharger installations by the end of this year. This means Tesla took around five years to install the first 5,000 Superchargers but is now eyeing to double the same in just one year of time — a growth of over 150 percent.