Tesla shareholders assembly: no succession plan, a co-founder returns and two EVs teased

Tesla held its annual shareholder assembly in Austin on Tuesday, an occasion that Tesla has now taken to calling its Cyber Roundup.

There have been 5 proposals on the agenda, together with one which pushed Tesla’s board to provide you with a public succession plan for CEO Elon Musk and different “key individuals” whose conduct and loss might create a danger for the corporate and shareholders.

Whereas Tesla will publish the official vote tallies later within the week, the board really useful shareholders vote in opposition to the important thing individual danger proposal, so it seemingly received’t go.

“At a time when Tesla’s technological management must be on show, the funding neighborhood largely sees us as adrift, with administration targeted on all issues not-Tesla, watching as Tesla’s model favorability dropped by 15 factors final yr, one thing that prices us margins,” mentioned Karen Robertsdottir, a shareholder in Reykjavik, Iceland, through the occasion.

“When folks have a look at this firm…they see the corporate as a synonym for its CEO, and the dialogue turns to all the things apart from the place it must be targeted.”

With out explicitly saying it, Robertsdottir nodded to considerations many buyers have had with Musk’s controversial on-line presence, in addition to his potential distraction away from Tesla after buying and taking on the social media platform Twitter. Musk has additionally been criticized for repeatedly promoting shares of Tesla to fund the Twitter buyout.

When Musk formally purchased Twitter in late October, Tesla shares closed at $228.52. On Tuesday, they closed at $166.52.

Musk mentioned Tuesday that he has no intention of stepping down as CEO of Tesla.

“I feel Tesla’s going to play an necessary function in AI and AGI and I feel I must oversee that to ensure it’s good,” he mentioned.

AGI refers to “synthetic normal intelligence,” the idea that an AI can be taught to perform any mental job that people or animals can carry out.

Shares of Tesla remained considerably flat after the assembly, rising solely about 1% in after-hours buying and selling. That lackluster response from buyers is likely to be a response to many of the assembly merely rehashing highlights from the final 12 months, quite than sharing a lot information.

That mentioned, Musk did present Cybertruck and Roadster updates, teased two new electrical automobiles, mentioned Tesla may shift its promoting technique and shared his macro-economic expectations for the following yr. Tesla additionally introduced JB Straubel as a board member.

JB Straubel again at Tesla as a board member

Tesla shareholders elected JB Straubel as an unbiased board of director. Attendees of the shareholder occasion cheered the return of the previous Tesla CTO and co-founder. Straubel can also be the founder and CEO of battery recycling startup Redwood Supplies.

Shareholders additionally elected three administrators to function a three-year time period. Tesla nominated Musk, Straubel and present chair Robyn Denholm.

Straubel will take over the spot vacated by Hiromichi Mizuno, the previous chief funding officer of Japan’s $1.5 trillion pension fund.

The brand new board member joined Tesla again in 2004 and was CTO for 14 years. Straubel was behind Tesla’s battery know-how and led the development and idea of Gigafactory Nevada, in addition to the manufacturing ramp of the Mannequin 3 sedan. Straubel left Tesla in 2019 and was changed by Drew Baglino, vice chairman of know-how.

Musk teases two new EVs

In the course of the occasion, Musk teased two new electrical automobiles that can be a part of Tesla’s lineup. The CEO mentioned Tesla was within the means of constructing one and designing one other, however he wasn’t clear if he meant that Tesla was constructing a prototype or a manufacturing car.

Musk mentioned he didn’t need to get into specifics of the brand new automobiles, which might require their very own launch occasions, however Tesla did show a silhouette of one of many automobiles. Based mostly on the scale, it’s doable that Tesla was teasing the $25,000 hatchback that Musk talked about again in 2020 through the firm’s battery day.

Each of the brand new automobiles which might be coming to Tesla’s lineup are anticipated to be inexpensive automobiles that promote at a lot greater volumes.

“Elon’s guess is that we’ll in all probability make in extra of 5 million models per yr of those two fashions mixed,” mentioned Musk.

Cybertruck updates

Musk mentioned Tesla will ship its first Cybertrucks later this yr and may be capable to ship 250,000 to 500,000 per yr as soon as manufacturing has began.

Tesla first introduced the Cybertruck in 2019, however car manufacturing has been repeatedly delayed. On Tuesday, Musk apologized for the delays and promised the product can be higher than expectations.

In July final yr, the CEO mentioned Tesla goals to start manufacturing for the Cybertruck in summer time 2023.

Musk famous through the shareholder assembly Tuesday that the Cybertruck may have loads of attachment factors in order that third events can develop attachments to reinforce the truck and “flip it right into a camper.” Final week, throughout Tesla’s groundbreaking ceremony of its lithium refinery plant in Texas, Musk drove a Cybertruck full with a roof rack accent. Musk has additionally mentioned that the car will probably be “waterproof sufficient to serve briefly as a ship.”

Subsequent-gen Tesla Roadster manufacturing delayed, once more

“We anticipate to finish the engineering and design of the next-gen Tesla Roadster this yr and hopefully begin manufacturing — this isn’t a dedication — hopefully begin manufacturing subsequent yr,” mentioned Musk.

Musk referred to the Roadster as “the cherry on the icing on the cake,” which means he doesn’t anticipate it to be an enormous income contributor.

“It will likely be a modest contributor to profitability, however it will likely be sick,” he mentioned.

The second-generation Roadster, an electrical sports activities automotive that made a shock debut in November 2017, was meant to come back to market in 2020 however has been repeatedly delayed because the high-priced automotive took a backseat to different Tesla merchandise just like the Mannequin 3 and Mannequin Y.

‘Don’t have a look at the markets for the following 12 months’

Musk speculated that the following yr will probably be a troublesome one for the economic system because of a wide range of elements. Increased rates of interest, he mentioned, may have an enormous impact on the affordability of automobiles.

“The overwhelming majority of individuals purchase automobiles based mostly on the month-to-month cost, so it’s like how a lot is the month-to-month cost?…Can they afford to pay the cost because the rates of interest improve and credit score tightens?”

Musk famous that almost all banks are struggling simply to remain alive within the wake of the disaster sparked by the Silicon Valley Financial institution collapse, which implies that “growing the auto mortgage portfolio will not be the very first thing on their minds.”

On a macro international financial stage, Musk expects the following 12 months to be troublesome for everybody, Tesla included. He expects to see plenty of corporations go bankrupt, however mentioned that Tesla is in a great place to climate the storm and “emerge stronger than ever.”

“It necessary to do not forget that there are good instances and there are darkish instances, however then the great instances observe the darkish instances,” mentioned Musk. “So my recommendation can be, don’t have a look at the markets for the following 12 months. If there’s a dip, purchase the dip, and I feel you’ll not be sorry.”

Tesla to strive conventional promoting

Tesla, an organization that has lengthy eschewed typical promoting, goes to “check out slightly promoting and see the way it goes.”

Tesla doesn’t pay for conventional promoting like different automakers. And it hasn’t actually wanted to. The corporate has turn into extremely standard by way of different strategies of selling, like emails and referral packages that incentivize current house owners to draw clients, and, in fact, Musk’s many tweets.

Now, Musk appears prepared to shift that line of pondering as the corporate goals to advertise new automotive options and promote the affordability of its automobiles.

“There are superb options and performance about Teslas that folks simply don’t learn about, and though there’s clearly lots of people that observe the Tesla account and my account…it’s preaching to the choir, and the choir is already satisfied.”

We don’t but know what a Tesla promoting marketing campaign would appear like, however already many are speculating that Twitter will probably be house to Tesla’s first adverts.

‘Tesla may have a ChatGPT second’

Nary a Tesla occasion goes by wherein Musk doesn’t wax lyrically concerning the prospects of the automaker’s AI — Musk mentioned Tuesday that it’s “by far probably the most superior real-world AI.”

Right now, this AI manifests in Tesla’s superior driver help system, confusingly dubbed Full Self-Driving (FSD). The newest model of FSD can deal with driving duties each in city areas and on highways, but it surely nonetheless requires a human to remain alert and take over management of the car as wanted. Roughly 400,000 Tesla house owners in North America have bought the $15,000 beta software program.

The opposite approach Tesla’s AI will manifest is within the firm’s humanoid robotic, Optimus. Tesla displayed new movies of Optimus growth and testing on the shareholder occasion.

“As full self-driving will get nearer and nearer to generalized real-world AI, that very same software program is transferrable to a humanoid robotic,” mentioned Musk.

“My prediction is that almost all of Tesla’s long-term worth will probably be Optimus,” the CEO continued, reiterating a degree he has made earlier than.

After the shareholder occasion, Musk joined CNBC’s David Faber for an interview that coated a broad vary of subjects, from Tesla to Twitter, content material moderation to free speech, the ethics of AI and Musk’s early funding in OpenAI, the startup behind the wildly standard conversational AI mannequin ChatGPT.

“Tesla may have a ChatGPT second if not this yr then no later than subsequent yr,” mentioned Musk, referring to the know-how’s swift exponential breakthrough. “Abruptly 3 million automobiles will be capable to drive themselves with nobody. After which 5 million after which 10 million.”