Live Blog: Top Investing Takeaways From Tesla’s Battery Day

UPDATE: It is over! We hope you enjoyed our real-time Tesla Battery Day coverage, which you can view in its entirety below.

 

 

Latest Updates:


That's a Wrap!

[Tuesday, September 22, 7:36 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Over the last three hours we have watched a parking lot of beautifully arranged Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) vehicles honk in support of CEO Elon Musk and a slew of battery innovations. Here are the biggest takeaways investors should be aware of.

Pros:

  • Tesla did deliver on investor expectations for a new, affordable model. Plans for a $25,000 vehicle likely will support broader consumer adoption of electric vehicles and help Tesla address environmental goals.
  • The company also met investor expectations by providing a walkthrough of the battery process, going in depth with each step of innovation and how it will improve cost, range and output.
  • Consumers also got an update on a new — or slightly new — model thanks to the Plaid version of the Model S. Importantly, this model also is close to setting a speed record.
  • Tesla is undeniably making advancements in battery tech. Most notable is its announcement of 100% nickel cathodes for the Cybertruck, a new battery-recycling plant in Nevada and plans to increase production and reduce production costs of its battery cells.

Cons:

  • Many investors were hoping for a solid-state battery. This is tech that Musk has flirted with before, and it is top of mind thanks to recent news that QuantumScape will soon come public.
  • While Tesla did make many announcements about how its batteries will improve in the long term, it did not deliver on the coveted million-mile battery.
  • Tesla also did not unveil a brand-new vehicle — perhaps a disappointment because of its past announcements of the Cybertruck, Roadster and semitruck models. Investors have high expectations for Musk, and some audience questions included plans for mass transit vehicles and planes.

Tesla stock spent most of Tuesday sinking thanks to a tweet from Musk likely designed to dampen expectations. Now, at the end of the event and during after-hours trading, shares are down more than 6%. Is this a win for the bears? Perhaps. It is also possible that with time, bulls will check their expectations and celebrate the many innovations shared by Musk & Co.

There is no doubt that Tesla is the leading electric vehicle company.


Tesla Pushes Back on Vehicle-to-Grid Model

[Tuesday, September 22, 7:21 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

In the question-and-answer portion of the Battery Day event, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk pushed back against an audience question over vehicle-to-grid.

This model allows plug-in electric vehicles to to communicate with power grids. In this model, electric vehicles could also return power to the energy grid. Musk said that while Tesla is capable of embracing vehicle-to-grid, it is not a top priority. Here’s why:

  • Musk said this vehicle-to-grid capability was present in the initial Roadster model. However, early consumers were not fond of it and many did not use it.
  • The CEO also believes that consumers would prefer to have a stationary form of battery storage.
  • This ties into an early move by the company to slash the cost of its Powerpack, a a battery system for commercial and utility uses. Tesla also markets Powerwall, the equivalent system for households.

Tesla Will Boost Entertainment Offerings Through Tidal

[Tuesday, September 22, 7:20 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

  • CEO Elon Musk shared that vehicles will soon incorporate the Tidal music streaming system.
  • This update came in response to an audience question over future partnership opportunities for musicians. Tesla already has deals with Tencent (OTCMKTS:TCEHY), and Musk has advertised the ability to play video games in the car.
  • Musk shared that music — and other forms of entertainment — is an avenue for the company to explore.
  • Future autonomy advancements will correspond with entertainment offerings.

Tesla Team Outlines Goals for Mining Companies

[Tuesday, September 22, 7:04 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

  • Musk says that the fundamental constraint on Tesla is overall cell production. That is why the company focused today’s event on complete innovation and cost-reduction.
  • Musk says at the same time, he is conscious the company could overdo it by attempting to supply battery cells to other companies.
  • The CEO is calling on other car companies to make more efficient vehicles.
  • Tesla also said that mining companies should diversify on the cathode side. This is why Tesla is moving forward with 100% nickel cathodes for energy-intensive vehicles.
  • Team members say their model for vertical integration is something other companies should take inspiration from — something that “shortens the path from mine to cathode.”
  • Tesla is hoping to incentivize miners to diversify their focuses and form supply deals with Tesla.

Tesla Stock Falls 5% in After-Hours Trading

[Tuesday, September 22, 6:55 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Despite a litany of announcements from CEO Elon Musk and his team, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) stock is down almost 5% in after-hours trading. Here is what investors need to know:

  • Expectations were super high going into the event.
  • Many investors were hoping for a rollout of a solid-state battery or a battery with a million-mile range.
  • Musk damped expectations leading up to the event, leading to a selloff Tuesday.
  • Some experts believe that the rest of this week will see a rally in TSLA stock as investors process the long-term benefits unveiled at Battery Day, including massive reductions in battery costs and an affordable electric vehicle.

Tesla Unveils Plaid Model S Is Ready for Orders

[Tuesday, September 22, 6:48 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Investors were likely looking for a new product rollout, and they are getting it with the Plaid Model S.

  • CEO Elon Musk said the Plaid version of the Model S is available for preorder now.
  • Models should be ready by the end of 2021.
  • A recent test at the Leguna Seca shows the Plaid version of the Model S notching an all-time high speed of 1:30:3. This gives it a near record speed for four-door cars and and beats out models from other luxury makers.

Tesla Unveils Plans for $25,000 Electric Vehicle

[Tuesday, September 22, 6:40 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Thanks to these cost-saving innovations in battery production, CEO Elon Musk is targeting an electric vehicle that would cost $25,000.

  • Musk says this car could be in production three years from now.
  • This vehicle would be affordable at an initial price point. Its green focus will also reduce the overall cost of ownership.
  • Tesla says this $25,000 vehicle would also be fully autonomous.

Structural Batteries Will Improve Range of Tesla Vehicles

[Tuesday, September 22, 6:37 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

The next innovation is something called a structural battery. As its name implies, the battery will now be built into the general structure of the vehicle, as opposed to being added in later. Here is why that matters:

  • CEO Elon Musk said this innovation is inspired by fuel tanks in the wings of airplanes.
  • Structural batteries will reduce the overall mass of the vehicles.
  • This will reduce the overall number of parts needed and speed up production.
  • Importantly, it will also make a 7% reduction in the cost per kilowatt-hour.

Tesla Will Start Recycling Its Own Batteries

[Tuesday, September 22, 6:31 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

CEO Elon Musk says that the company plans to take over recycling its own batteries.

  • Tesla will start this process through a factory in Nevada.
  • Currently, Tesla and other companies rely on third-party providers for this recycling service.
  • The long-term plan will see Tesla create new batteries from old batteries, improving environmental impact.

Tesla Plans to Build Battery Cathode Factory in U.S.

[Tuesday, September 22, 6:29 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

The next part of Battery Day is a walk through battery cathodes — something CEO Elon Musk described as bookshelves. A handy graphic shows metals like cobalt, carbon or nickel surrounding the lithium in the battery. Tesla is flirting with moves to use more carbon and nickel instead of cobalt. Tesla also plans to build its own cathode plant in the U.S.

Here is why this matters:

  • Cobalt is the most expensive metal to use.
  • Musk has long flirted with a cobalt-free battery, asking nickel miners to come forward if they were interested in signing a long-term supply contract with Tesla.
  • The CEO is specifically interested in working with environmentally and socially responsible mining companies.
  • Cobalt mining also raises concerns over human rights violations, such as child labor in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Musk shared that the most energy-intensive vehicles like the Cybertruck and the semitruck models would use 100% nickel. Other vehicles would use a combination of nickel and other materials.

Tesla to Use Raw Silicon to Increase Range 20%

[Tuesday, September 22, 6:18 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

  • Silicon can store 9x more lithium than graphite, and it is the second-most abundant element in the Earth’s crust after oxygen.
  • Current approach would call to use a form of engineered silicon that is very expensive. Tesla uses this to an extent in its current vehicles.
  • Now the company wants to use a raw form of silicon that would reduce costs for battery anodes and also ultimately improve range.

Musk Announces Factory Innovations

[Tuesday, September 22, 6:16 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

CEO Elon Musk shared that he wants Tesla to have the best factories on Earth. Besides just giving him something else to boast about on social media, making innovative moves in his factories will also help ramp up battery production, embrace new tech and eventually make Tesla vehicles more affordable to a broader range of consumers. Here is what the company is trying to do:

  • Tesla is looking to move from a wet electrode process to a dry electrode process. This speeds up battery production by removing a complicated solvent step. Moving to dry electrodes also reduces overall footprint by 10x and energy needed by 10x.
  • Musk shared that the company is trying to embrace continuous production. Production lines are already 7x faster because of their early innovations.
  • Tesla is planning to produce 100 GWh by 2022 and 3 TWh by 2030 — on its own. The company will use this to supplement what it receives from suppliers like Panasonic (OTCMKTS:PCRFY).

Tesla Announces New 4680 Cell Design

[Tuesday, September 22, 6:05 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Tesla has goals to embrace terawatt-hour battery production and make cheaper battery cells. Both of these goals will make electric vehicles more affordable, and therefore should hopefully boost adoption across the world.

In order to fulfill these goals, Tesla has a plan to halve the cost per kilowatt-hour (KWh):

  • Tesla plans to bring 50% more energy into its battery cells.
  • To do this, Tesla is moving to its new 4680 cell design. Numbers refer to cell dimensions.
  • One of the key innovations on this cell design is that it is tabless. This tabless design should create a shorter path for the electrons to travel, making it easier for Tesla to increase the diameter of the battery cell and produce more power.
  • The tabless design also allows for more continuous production.

According to Musk, this innovation will lead to 5x energy improvements, a 16% improvement in range and a 6x boost to power.


Tesla Outlines Goal for Terawatt-Hour Scale Battery Production

[Tuesday, September 22, 5:53 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

CEO Elon Musk kicked off the Battery Day portion of the event with a reflection on the state of the environment — introductory video footage showed smoky skies in California, a result of widespread wildfires.

With this in mind, he dove into the first battery-related goal for the company. Tesla is planning for terawatt-hour scale battery production. For those without a science background, this is the equivalent of producing one trillion watts over one hour. Right now, its battery factories cannot scale fast enough to make this happen.

Musk said the company will need $2 trillion and 2.8 million people to make this happen.


Tesla Plans to Expand With Three New Factories

[Tuesday, September 22, 5:35 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Following up on a call from Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk to have a Gigafactory on every continent, Musk shared that the company will soon have three new factories on three new continents.

  • The Shanghai Gigafactory is already open, but will continue to expand.
  • Musk shared that the Berlin Gigafactory is making good progress, and will one day produce identical Tesla vehicles in a more effective manner.
  • Texas will be the home to the third Gigafactory.

Tesla confirmed a site for its Austin, Texas, Gigafactory in July. According to Electrek, the company shared plans for the new location just last week. Enthusiasts will likely note similarities to the originally outlined Gigafactory Nevada, which was never completed. Notably, this factory will be home to the Cybertruck, its futuristic pickup truck.

Note: Comments from Musk seem to allude to the later Battery Day event. He said that innovations at the Berlin Gigafactory will tie into battery tech updates.


Elon Musk Talks Up Tesla Accomplishments

[Tuesday, September 22, 5:25 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Elon Musk has taken the stage to talk up company accomplishments. There is never a shortage of news for the red-hot company, but here is what he is highlighting:

  • Four quarters of profitability.
  • “Consistent” cash flow generation
  • A successful launch of the Model Y vehicle.
  • An acceleration of production at the Shanghai Gigafactory.
  • Tesla rolled out what it calls the lowest-cost solution for residential solar in the U.S.
  • Improving safety statistics for Tesla autopilot. Musk shared that he hopes to release a beta for the full self-driving autopilot in the next month. Attendees honked their support.

Investors should note that despite notching four quarters of profitability, Tesla has still not made its way into the S&P 500. Many bulls thought that this profitability milestone would be the final hurdle, but TSLA stock was passed over in the latest rebalancing.

Perhaps hinting both to his earlier tweets and the upcoming Battery Day, Musk is using his presentation to reiterate how hard it is to ramp up production. Despite these challenges, he said the Model Y launch broke records for how quickly it went to full-volume production.

Additionally, he said the company will need to have a Gigafactory on every continent as it continues to grow, underscoring the need for expansion in Berlin.


Tesla Comes Under Fire for Human Rights Violation

[Tuesday, September 22, 5:14 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Chairwoman Robyn Denholm welcomed shareholders and enthusiasts to the annual meeting with a reminder that, at the end of the day, Tesla is all about making radical impacts on the environment. While its cars do a lot to reduce emissions and make roadways greener, stockholder-submitted proposals counter that things are all sunny in Fremont.

Stockholders submitted two proposals criticizing Tesla for a variety of allegations including:

  • Discrimination based on race and gender at its U.S. factories.
  • Unsafe worker practices during Covid-19, including retaliating against workers who spoke out against the company.
  • Using child labor in its supply chains, including for the mining of cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A preliminary vote count shows that shareholders voted in line with the board, therefore rejecting these two proposals.


Tesla Rejects Proposal to Embrace Paid Advertising

[Tuesday, September 22, 5:12 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

As the Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) event kicks off, shareholders rejected a proposal to embrace paid advertising. This preliminary vote follows a recommendation by the board to vote against this proposal.

What does this mean? Earlier in May, Bloomberg reported that shareholder James Danforth, who at the time held 850 shares of Tesla stock, submitted a proposal that would shake up its advertising model. Danforth recommended that the company spend at least $50 per vehicle to advertise its company.

Via Bloomberg:

“Advertising can increase brand value, product awareness and interest,” Danforth wrote in the proposal. “Tesla ads can help mitigate and dilute … misinformation campaigns sponsored by competitors and detractors worldwide and steer the narrative more favorably.”

CEO Elon Musk is notorious for criticizing traditional advertising models, instead choosing to invest more money in the products themselves. The company relies on social media — including Musk’s personal account — to announce new company updates. Tesla also benefits from its dominance in the electric vehicle space and the aesthetic appeal of its cars.

Danforth opted to not present his proposal live during the event.

Tesla will do a final count of the votes and release the results in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.


Tesla Kicks Off Its Festivities With Annual Shareholder Meeting

[Tuesday, September 22, 4:48 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) kicked off its annual shareholder event with a bang. Glamorous video welcomed car enthusiasts and stockholders alike, showcasing current models and factory work as well as the Cybertruck, Tesla semitrucks and the new Roadster.

Other noteworthy features in the montage include its solar panels, Powerpack and Powerwall battery systems, and the corresponding mobile app.

Why does this all matter? Besides being an engaging way to reel in all of its virtual viewers, snippets of the introduction seem to tie into earlier announcements. Just a few hours ago Electrek reported that Tesla had cut prices on its Powerpack battery system from $172,000 to $125,000, and yesterday, CEO Elon Musk tweeted that Battery Day announcements would have long-term ramifications for its futuristic vehicles including the Cybertruck and Roadster.

Note: Tesla made its debut in the public markets with an older version of its Roadster that it no longer offers. A new-and-improved model is slated to hit its product lineup as early as 2021.


Tesla Cuts Powerpack Prices Ahead of Battery Day Event

[Tuesday, September 22, 3:09 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

It looks like the fun is already starting ahead of the Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Battery Day event this evening. The electric vehicle company is offering up its first perk — slashing prices on its Powerpack battery system by 27%.

According to a report from Electrek, Tesla just slashed the price of its Powerpack from $172,000 — a figure that includes the price of a commercial inverter — to $125,000. Factoring out the cost of the inverter and adding in incentives, the price is even lower. This could make the Powerpack battery system, which uses lithium-ion batteries, even more desirable for businesses.

Tesla first unveiled the battery system in 2015 along with its sister product, the Powerwall. These energy storage systems target commercial and residential clients, offering the ability to form a microgrid and scale up design. The company specifically markets Powerpack for larger commercial or utility uses, although it recently rolled out a utility-scale battery system it calls the Megapack.

These battery systems, and especially Powerwall and Powerpack, are in the shadows of other exciting news from Tesla. What investors should know is that they are still in production, primarily at a facility in Reno, Nevada. It is also important to note that despite the rollout of Megapack, customers are still purchasing and installing Powerpack.

Another recent headline came from Electrify America, a subsidiary of Volkswagen (OTCMKTS:VWAGY) that runs an electric vehicle charging network across the U.S. Facing exorbitant costs to power its network, Electrify America has installed Powerpack systems at 60 of its locations. It plans to cover at least 100 locations by the end of the year.

Whether a randomly timed perk or a real part of Battery Day, this news is still worth keeping on your radar. That is especially true because CEO Elon Musk is so hard to predict.


Tesla Stock Slumps on Musk's Battery Day Tweet

[Tuesday, September 22, 9:56 am]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is just hours away from its Battery Day shareholder event and its stock is slipping lower. Why? CEO Elon Musk turned to social media last night with a cautionary message: Anything that came from Battery Day will take years to scale up in production.

Here is why this matters for investors:

  • Tesla stock has been making waves in the market ahead of its Battery Day event. Shares have gained more than 35% in just the last two weeks.
  • Investors are expecting Musk to unveil a long-lasting battery, hopefully one that can cover a million miles before needing to be replaced.
  • As the company looks to maintain its leadership in the red-hot electric vehicle space, any announcements from Battery Day can help give it an edge.
  • Tesla’s Battery Day will start after an annual shareholder meeting at 4:30 p.m.
  • For more, read the InvestorPlace.com brief on Tesla stock here.
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