Tesla just completed its annual shareholder meeting. Like in meetings past, it was fairly long and covered almost every Tesla topic under the sun. To make it easier for people who couldn’t watch, wouldn’t watch, or simply want to go back to some of the topics in the meeting, below is a timestamped summary from Paul, who kindly stayed up late in Florida (just not as late as me here in Poland 😀 ) to put this together for the world. The summary notes are timestamped based on Eastern Time (pm), since they were made while the video was live. —Zach
5:35 — Picture of audience by General Counsel, Jonathan Chang
5:36 — Robyn Denholm (Tesla Chairman) gave a short intro and thanked shareholders for their internal fortitude.
5:41 — General Counsel Jonathan Chang starts official meeting and voting on all proposals. Board recommended for all their proposals and against the other proposals.
5:47 — All proposals passed that the company recommended except numbers 4 and 5. In the end, 99% voted for those proposals, but they didn’t get the required 66% of total shares represented, so they failed. Those proposals were:
4. A Tesla proposal to approve and adopt amendments to our certificate of incorporation and bylaws to eliminate applicable supermajority voting requirements (“Proposal Four”).
5. A Tesla proposal to approve an amendment to our certificate of incorporation to reduce director terms from three years to two years (“Proposal Five”).
5:50 — Elon Musk starts speaking. (Note: From here on, I’ll only include things I perceive to be news or highlights. Much is repeated from previous meetings, conference calls, or tweets.)
5:51 — The Tesla Model 3 was highest grossing car in the USA — the car which pulled in the most revenue — in the past 12 months. (We’ve reported on this for three quarters and were first to report on the Q3 milestone — see our Q3 2018, Q4 2018, and Q1 2019 reports.)
The Model 3 outsold its BMW, Mercedes, and Audi competitors — combined.
5:52 — Tesla is more efficient than competitors, much more efficient, and no competitors have exceeded the range of the 2012 Tesla Model S.
5:55 — There is “not a demand problem — absolutely not,” Elon emphasized. He also said that Tesla has “a decent shot at a record quarter on every level.”
Importantly, “90% of orders are coming from non-reservation holders — new customers. … 63% of trade-ins are non-premium cars.”
Fart app is “perhaps my finest work.”
5:57 — Full Self Driving will be feature complete by year end — will be able to drive from garage to work with no intervention (but still monitoring). It will then get better and better and eventually get legal approval.
5:59 — Tesla expects to have 1 million robotaxi-capable cars on the road in 2020, which will massively increase their value.
6:00 — Elon presumes you have to be mad to buy a gas or diesel car, because their value will drop quickly. Non-autonomous capable cars will also go down in value.
6:02 — The Tesla Model Y market segment is 2½ times as big as the market for Model 3. Tesla might be able to lower drag coefficient below that of the 3, which is surprising since crossovers usually have poor aerodynamics.
6:04 — JB Straubel (Tesla Chief Technical Officer) came onstage to help explain that Tesla decided it needed a Gigafactory because it knew it would need more batteries than worldwide production at that time. At 80% or so of capacity, it now accounts for half of global EV battery production.
6:08 — Gigafactory 3 (GF3) in China is quickly being constructed to serve the largest car market in the world. The company will be able to avoid import duties and reduce production costs with GF3.
6:09 — Regarding Gigafactory Europe, Tesla hasn’t yet selected a location. It will make a decision on the location sometime around the end of this year, 2019. Cars for sales in Europe will be more affordable if they are built in a factory in Europe.
6:10 — Tesla Energy is expected to see 2× growth in 2019 compared to 2018.
6:11 — The Tesla Solar Roof is being installed in 8 states. A tough problem is making it durable, low cost, and easy to install. Tesla has a shot at it costing as much as a comp shingle roof plus utility costs. Tesla is currently on version 3 of Solar Roof.
6:13 – Drew Baglino (VP of Technology, has been at Tesla for 14 years) was introduced and talked about the company’s solar goals, among other things.
6:15 — V3 Supercharger was mentioned.
6:16 — New maps for Supercharger deployment, including trans-Canada and Alaska, were also shown.
6:17 — Tesla is excited about its new mobile service vans. If your car breaks down, it will automatically send a notice to mobile Tesla service to immediately be dispatched to go fix your car. Tesla first trialled this in the Bay Area and has now extended it to the LA area and some other areas for tire repairs.
6:19 — Tesla is now adding bumper and minor collision repairs as features of these mobile service vans. Tesla just did its first bumper repair from a mobile service van. Elon noted this kind of repair can typically take weeks or months but it took less than an hour in this initial case.
6:20 — The Tesla Pickup unveiling is planned for this summer. It will be a totally Sci-Fi pickup truck. Elon thinks it is the coolest vehicle he’s ever seen, but he’s not sure yet how much others will like it — whether it will be a hit or not.
6:21 — Semi production is expected toward the end of 2020. “No reason to build more products if we don’t have batteries to supply them.”
So F’n sweet !! pic.twitter.com/1NKRCnq9d6
— Vincent 🚀🟠 (@vincent13031925) June 11, 2019
6:22 — “We might get into the mining business — I don’t know. A little bit at least.”
SAY crowdsourced questions:
6:23 — Elon & JB didn’t want to let the cat out of the bag, but they knew something.
6:24 — Elon will wait for the Battery and Powertrain Investor Day later this year to get into the Maxwell details, but he seemed ver enthusiastic about the potential from this acquisition.
6:27 — Insurance details coming soon. Waiting on a small acquisition and need to write some software.
6:28 — Elon wants the pickup to be great, more functional than the Ford F-150 and a better sports car than a basic Porsche 911.
6:29 — The antenna is a little big. Tesla will probably continue to use cell phone networks. The advantage of Starlink is for low-density areas. It is not ideal for high-density cities.
6:30 — Tesla is likely to just a coating to repel rain and snow. (Elon joked about tiny wipers.)
6:31 — Elon feels good about demand. Profitability is tough as a fast growing company, but expects to be steadily cash flow positive despite a continued high growth rate.
6:32 — Elon said it’s a good idea and Tesla will probably launch a supervised robotaxi/rideshare system until it is approved to run driverless robotaxis.
6:34 — Q1 — Energy transmission is a problem, could Tesla get involved in that?
Answer: Roofs solve that problem. You don’t need to transmit it anywhere. Just generate where you live. Storage also helps make existing transmission work better — was what a big Tesla Powerpack project in southern California was used for, at a substation to avoid the need for more transmission lines.
6:38 — Q2 — The China factory production target of 500,000 cars a year seems low. With no import fees, the demand should be very good. Is Tesla being aggressive enough in China? Why not 2 factories?
Answer: We can’t spend money too fast. But, yes, the factory may do a million cars a year eventually. Or not. Tesla may want to have two China factories in the long term so that vehicles are produced close to the customers (China is a big country).
6:42 — Q3 — A potentially new way to let people invest in Superchargers, so they can roll out faster, is via finance companies.
Maybe. Maybe not.
6:44 — Q4 — News on Tesla is so negative that people are afraid to buy a Tesla. Can you solve through some new communications strategies?
Answer: Yes, 200,000 gas cars catch fire a year in the US, while Teslas rarely catch fire. Elon is at a loss to solve the media problem. It is driven by a crazy disinformation campaign, something like Elon has never seen before (ditto for us). Elon and crew asked that people continue to share their own positive messages about the cars and company — that’s the best solution Tesla has. They also highlighted that safety is paramount at Tesla and that is evident in its record-safe vehicles.
6:50 — Q5 — Suggestion: Perhaps a joint discussion with Micheal Bloomberg or Arianna Huffington on your mission, in order to help stimulate better media coverage.
Answer: Elon said that the company does need to take action, and seemed to genuinely consider this idea.
6:53 — Q6 — Where are we on the Mission?
Answer: We have helped the auto industry make the decision to move to EVs much faster. The media situation has always been negative, but Tesla is having a strongly positive impact.
Tesla is also helping to take islands to 100% renewable with solar and storage.
6:58 — Q7 — Congrats on Steven Hawkins medal. What will the towing capacity of the pickup truck be?
Answer: Will meet or exceed a Ford F-150’s towing capacity.
6:59 — Q8 — Full Self Driving … more details?
Answer: Features will be coming from now till the end of year. With Elon’s version, it can drive from home to office, but still has interventions. Tesla must have a general solution. Progress is faster than it appears because Tesla can only release something when it works generally, not only when it works for one specific location. Previously, the system just looked for drivable free space, but it is now figuring out curbs and spaces you want to drive on, and not just ones you can drive on in an emergency.
7:04 — Q9 — Congrats from India. Nikola Tesla was always limited by funds. The questioner requested Berkshire Hathaway invest in Tesla.
Answer: Thanks for everything. Importing to India is difficult, rules are complicated, there are tariffs for importing. Confusing what you are allowed to do for sales and service. Tesla doesn’t need to add the complexity since it can sell everything it can make right now. But Elon will be surprised if Tesla isn’t in India next year.
7:09 — Q10 — PETA asked about the Model Y steering wheel — will it use leather?
Answer: Tesla has one option that works if it isn’t heated, but it still has durability issues. Elon is confident that the Model 3 and Y will be fully vegan by next year’s shareholder meeting. The Model S and Model X are available as vegan by special order.
7:11 — Q11 — Advertising and marketing — is it time?
Since Tesla can sell all that it can make, there’s definitely no need for it now. “Advertising would increase spending unnecessarily.”
Also, Elon has an aversion to ads because there is too much trickery in advertising. He could do it to counteract things like “our cars don’t catch fire,” but then people would probably be suspicious. But Elon isn’t against advertising forever.
7:14 — Q12 — Submarine car question — will Tesla build one?
Elon owns the one from the Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me — but it doesn’t work underwater. Elon thinks such a vehicle would have a small but enthusiast following. They have a design for one, but only so much time in the day and only so much money. Maybe Tesla will make a show car.