Tesla Motors Inc surprised Wall Street on Tuesday by claiming it will meet its delivery guidance for 2015 despite the problems it’s having with the roll out of the Model X. That wasn’t the only good news the firm had to share, however. Elon Musk made some awesome claims about the future of the Model S, and the rest of the firm’s cars, on the conference call.
Shares in Tesla Motors hopped up by more than 10 percent after the firm revealed its earnings numbers for the three months through September. The headline was shipment guidance for the three months through Septemebr, which Tesla sees hitting 17K-19K. Elon Musk fans, who always have an eye on the distant future, may also be interested in some of the CEO’s other hopes for the future of Tesla Motors.
Tesla Motors will make a one million mile car
Consumer Reports may have taken its benediction off of Tesla Motors because of reliability issues, but Elon Musk reckons he’s already solved most of the problems with the Model S. Mr. Musk says that the drive unit in the car now lasts around 200,000 miles, but he wants it to last much much longer.
On the call Mr. Musk said “We changed the goal of the drive unit endurance from being approximately 200,000 miles to being a million miles – just basically we want drive units that just never wear out.”
The issues with the drive units in early builds of the Model S was simple, says Musk. The firm had humans putting grease on the parts, and humans were bad at the job. Some of the older units simply didn’t have enough grease applied to the spline, but Tesla has “transitioned to automatic grease injection into the spline of the large drive unit.”
A one million mile car is an incredible idea, and it’s something that may only be possible in an EV. The lower number of moving parts in EVs mean that they should have lower wear and tear, and be easier to maintain.
That hasn’t quite been true of Tesla Motors cars thus far, but the firm’s automation appears to be making better and better outcomes possible. Speaking of automation…
Tesla Motors keeps getting better at RoboCars
Tesla Motors only rolled out its Autopilot self-driving software a few weeks back, but Model S owners have already noticed that the cars are getting better at driving themselves.
On the call Elon Musk said “The system is getting better with each passing week. He went on to say “I think it will start to feel quite refined within a few months.” That’s an awesome claim, and it shows the power of the OTA updates that Tesla Motors has imbued the Model S with.
Mr. Musk did agree with some Tesla Motors critics who have claimed that the use of the tech has been irresponsible. On the call he made reference to “some fairly crazy videos on YouTube” and said “we will be putting some additional constraints on when Autopilot can be activated to minimize the possibility of people doing crazy things with it.”
Despite those users who aren’t taking proper care with the power that Tesla Motors added to their Model S, Tesla Motors is going to make the system better and better. A Model S bought in 2017 could be a completely different animal, in terms of Autopilot, than one driven today, but the entire fleet will gain from the changes.
Tesla Energy is ramping up, and Gigafactory is buzzing
Tesla Energy was the most talked about part of Elon Musk’s concern after being revealed earlier on in 2015, but there hasn’t been much info out there on the project since then. In the earnings call Mr. Musk said that demand for the power storage modules was strong, and he’s setting Australia up as a major target for the tech.
On the call Musk said “we are seeing very strong demand for Tesla Energy products globally, and particularly in Australia.” The powerwall project was designed as a way to soak up some of the batteries that Tesla Motors will be building in its massive Reno Nevada Gigafactory. Elon Musk had some good news on that front in the call too.
Mr. Musk said that the Gigafactory is already up and running right now. He said that in the early part of the fourth quarter Tesla Motors “relocated production from Fremont to an automated assembly line at the Gigafactory.”
Even the most optimistic Tesla Motors followers on Wall Street weren’t hoping for the firm to start building power packs in Reno until the start of next year.
Stifel’s Jame Albertine, in a report published at the start of September said that the plant would start making power packs in Q1 2016. He added that “As they dig deeper on potential cost efficiencies related to battery cell/pack production more investors will agree that TSLA’s competitive advantages appear to be growing not fading.”
Tesla Motors will make a Chevy look like a horse
Tesla Motors made some big claims about its future on the call, but one thing the firm said loomed over all others. Jokingly Mr. Musk said “So I actually think at the point at which cars being made that have full autonomy – that any cars that are being made that don’t have full autonomy, will have negative value.”
He likened the place of a car without those power in the future to the place of a horse in today’s world. “It will be like owning a horse or not – you’re really owning it for sentimental reasons,” he said.
Horses are still used for work, and sometimes transport, in many areas of the world today, but in the West, they’re mostly kept either as pets or for sport. Elon Musk appears to see a future where cars that can’t drive themselves are still around, but they’re not kept for practical reasons.
Tesla Motors is going to be at the forefront of that change if Elon Musk can keep the firm’s fortunes on the up. The firm, right now, likely has best self-driving car you can buy, and as Mr. Musk said in the call it’s only going to get better.
Those with stock in Tesla Motors won’t be able to wait for a time when the Model 3 makes a Ford F150 look like a horse, but we’re likely a long way off right now.