Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk has launched the next stage in his plan for world domination at Tesla Investor Day 2023. Live streaming from the Tesla ‘Gigafactory’ in Austin, Texas, Musk fronted the first Investor Day, designed to reveal phase three of the company’s “Master Plan” which is, legitimately a thing that they have and talk about with a straight face.
The plan will see Tesla greatly expand its output, its resourcing, and its areas of expertise as it strives to transform transport away from fossil fuels and towards an electric future powered by renewables.
However, big-ticket announcements were few and far between, with the Tesla share price dropping 5% over the course of the more-than three-hour presentation. The long-awaited ‘cheap’ Tesla model was nowhere to be seen, although we did get a few hints with a graphic showing two vehicles under white sheets.
What we did get was an announcement about the opening of a new ‘gigafactory’ in Mexico, the first one outside of Tesla’s operations in the US, China, and Germany. The company also said they would be halving production costs during the manufacture of their next-generation fleet.
Musk was joined on stage by Drew Baglino, Tesla’s Senior Vice President of Powertrain and Energy Engineering and the pair discussed their plan to accelerate the creation of a “sustainable energy future” through investment in renewable technologies and efficiencies.
Tesla’s purpose is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy
Today, we’re unveiling Master Plan 3—the path to a fully renewable energy future for 🌎 pic.twitter.com/fsJ7qDpdqF
— Tesla (@Tesla) March 1, 2023
“Our economy is dirty and wasteful,” read one slide. Telsa stated that 80% of global energy comes from fossil fuels, but only a third of that is converted into actual useful energy. The sustainable future Tesla is driving towards will only require half of the energy that the current one does, they claimed.
“There is a clear path for a sustainable-energy Earth with abundance,” Musk said. “Most of the smart people I know don’t see this clear path.”
Musk said that it would take just USD $10 trillion to achieve this sustainable energy economic future. With that, Tesla said that the world will need to create 240 terawatt hours (TWH) of battery storage and 30 TWH of renewable power generation. Doing so would only require “0.2%” of the land on Earth for wind and solar power generation, something Musk said was not a big ask and far less than the current land usage of farming.
Tesla’s vision of the future is for all forms of transport, even rockets, to become fully electric and autonomous, something that they have said they will support with the sustainable powering of planes, boats, and other aspects of international shipping.
Already one of the largest and most profitable car manufacturers in the world, Tesla’s Cheif Financial Officer Zach Kirkhorn stated that the company plans to create 20 million vehicles annually by 2030, roughly 10 times what they currently do. The cost of this would require a six-fold investment in manufacturing, totalling roughly USD $175 billion.
Much of the presentation felt a lot like some kind of PhD thesis presentation. Lots of talk about mining, fossil fuel use, and the fact that Earth is a “muddy rust ball,” but not a massive amount of detail about what exactly Tesla is going to be doing next.
A string of Tesla execs and specialists took to the stage to discuss pretty in-depth technical details about manufacturing processes and even financial constraints. One of the more interesting sections was led by Rebecca Tinucci, Tesla’s Senior Director of Charging and the only woman to speak in the presentation.
Tinucci said that the cost of installing Tesla chargers is roughly 75% less than the market standard owing to the fact that they manufacture all of their own charging equipment and are now making their Superchargers virtually plug-and-play by assembling them in-house. Scaling charing is a big challenge of EV uptake and Tesla noted that they will soon be making their chargers available to be used by other manufacturers.
One of the weirder moments was when Musk gave us an update on Optimus, his own fleet of humanoid robots similar to those created by Boston Dynamics. The last time we saw them, they weren’t looking too flash, but now they appear to be able to manufacture new versions of themselves, according to a video that was shown. Musk theorised about what an economy, and a planet, would look like if there was infinite cheap labour input from robots.
While it was all very shiny and exciting (kind of), Musk didn’t seem as engaged as you might expect. While investors have been concerned that his takeover of Twitter has distracted him from Tesla, Musk decided to go off and tweet about unrelated topics while he was off-stage at the Tesla Investor Day presentation. It’s not a great look and one that may have contributed to that drop in share price.