What a great weekend here at Teslive. I can’t wait for 2014, have they picked a date yet?
There were many highlights, which I’ll share in no particular order (other than the best first).
It would be imprecise to say it was nothing short of awesome. Not so much a speech – he made a few opening remarks – but his presence. He was engaging, witty, introspective, spontaneous, adjective, adjective, adjective. He seemed to really be enjoying himself, and he knew he was in a room of friends and believers. A woman from New Mexico asked a question, gave him a bottle of wine, and then he opened and did a toast with her. Too cool.
He went on to offer the following during a long, and lively, round of Q&A that had people asking for jobs, expressing admiration, pressing investment topics, and asking for software updates. Highlights included:
. Tesla’s biggest challenge is scaling up, and the biggest constraint on that in the near future (next couple years) will be battery production. They are working with Panasonic on this.
. Currently producing at an annualized rate of more than 25K units (saw a flat panel on the factory tour that indicated 5,454 units produced in the 2nd quarter.
. He’s flabbergasted that there are still no pure EV challengers on the horizon. (So am I – what the heck, are those guys on an 18-month sabbatical? Have any of them driven a Tesla? Or have they just given up?) Thus, rather than have the modality change in transport happening from lots of angles right now, it’s only Tesla. So Tesla has to create competitive pressure on big automakers (translation – sell a lot of cars) to get them to reconsider changing their habits. While I agree with Elon, namely that I’d like to see other automakers adopt EV systems as a baseline offering, this is GREAT news for TSLA investors. Elon’s basically saying, ‘if you won’t start making EVs when you see how great the Model S is, then I’ll make you start making them by getting deeper into your pockets by selling a lot of EVs’. Prediction: Gen3 will be the grand slam to the Model S/X home run.
. Model X completing design in about 6 months.
. Something for Roadster owners next year.
. Vino Veritas (he really said that, watch the video)
. Primary point of emphasis early in the Model S design was safety.
. Lots of software enhancements scheduled – wifi, phone tethering, valet mode, etc. rolling out periodically as focus has been on the internationalization of what they have for the European roll-out.
. Battery pack step changes expected every 4-5 years.
He seemed very relaxed and was enjoying himself. My only disappointment was my son and I had bought a visor for our Model S and brought it for him to sign, and despite the fact we were sitting right in front of him, there really was no chance for an autograph. However, the event organizer, took it from us and is getting him to him to sign it – how cool is that, a real SIGNATURE car!
Here’s the video:
. Lots of automation, the robots are crazy cool.
. They are running two shifts/day, 5 days per week.
. Hundreds of European Model S’ in production, lots of signature reds.
. Motor Trend award sits on Elon’s desk, right on the factory floor.
. Parking sensors are in the European cars, I would expect that option soon for the US. Don’t know about retrofit.
. As reported above, I saw a TV screen that said 5,454 cars produced in the 2nd quarter (why don’t Wall Street analysts go on factory tours?!?) The question is, how many of those are European and Service Center loaners.
Teslive Factory Party
Very fun, in big open area adjacent to the production lines. George Blankenship was there, everyone was abuzz after a full day of sessions and keynotes. They had the Model X prototype that was in Detroit earlier this year, Model S Alphas, a Roadster ‘Mule’, lots of beer and wine and a little food. A great way to cap a day, and a conference.