Tesla Annual Meeting Brings News About Model Y, More Gigafactories, And The Solar Roof

Tesla held its annual meeting of shareholders yesterday. As usual, the biggest news of the day came from remarks made by Elon Musk during and after the meeting. The biggest structural news came when the shareholders approved a resolution permitting the company to continue electing its board members for three year terms.

Institutional investors in April called for one year terms, saying the move would make the board more accountable to stockholders. But Musk countered that longer terms promote better long term thinking. At the meeting, a majority of stockholders agreed with Musk, according to Bloomberg.

Tesla Model Y tease

Model Y News

The big news of the day was an announcement that the upcoming Model Y is now scheduled for production in 2019 and will not be built on the Model 3 chassis. Musk says he and Tesla learned their lesson by trying to cram the Model X into the Model S chassis instead of designing an SUV from the ground up. That happened because “I’m an idiot,” Musk says.

The Model X may be a great car, but is is only a so-so sport utility vehicle. Presumably, the Model Y will be larger than the Model 3, which has already been criticized for its limited cargo capacity. The Model Y will be built at a new dedicated production facility, whose location is still a secret.

Musk says simplifying the manufacturing process is now a top priority for the company. The Model 3 will have half as much wiring as the the Model S — about 1.5 kilometers worth. The Model Y’s wiring will be measured in meters, not kilometers.

Model 3

Musk told the audience that the Design Studio will go live at the end of next month, about the same time as the first production cars are rolling off the line at the Fremont factory. Those first cars will go to Tesla employees. At first, people will have a choice of colors and can pick from two available wheel and tire combinations. That’s it.

Dual motor all wheel drive will arrive sometime in 2019. Musk said getting the dual motors to work correctly is a challenge. One is optimized for urban driving and the other for highway travel. As the list of pre-orders grows, people who want to reserve one today may have to wait until 2019 to receive their cars, depending on where they live.

Musk expects demand for the Model Y to be greater than for the Model 3. He is talking these days about Tesla building several new factories and producing up to 6 million cars a year. If that turns out to be true, more than one legacy automaker will probably disappear entirely in the next few years.

Tesla Semi

Musk hinted that something special would happen at the first public showing of the Tesla Semi, currently scheduled to happen in September. The best guess is that perhaps a sneak preview of the Model Y might occur at the same time, but Musk refused to elaborate on his tease.

He told his audience that Tesla is working closely with potential customers. “We’re getting them closely involved in the design process, so the biggest customers of the heavy duty Tesla semi are helping ensure that it is specified to their needs, so it’s not a mystery. They already know that it’s going to meet their needs, because they’ve told us what those needs are. So it’ll really just be a question of scaling volume to make as many as we can.”

Production is slated to begin in 2 years.

More Gigafactories

The head of Tesla has said in the past the world will need 100 Gigafactories to meet its energy storage needs. “I hope I don’t have to build all of them myself,” he quipped at the time. He may not have to, but he is planning a good portion of them.

Musk announced that between 10 and 20 more Gigafactories are planned. People around the world are anxious to know where they might be located. Musk’s plans mean Tesla could control 20% of all battery production at some point in the future.

Solar Roof Simplicity

Tesla solar house
Lego Tesla House by Asher Field. Photo by Kyle Field

The audience was told that the new Tesla Solar Roof is designed for simplicity of installation. “It should go together like Legos,” Musk said. Ease of installation will help drive down prices for consumers. The idea of a Lego roof inspired the child of colleague Kyle Field to create a representation of a fully integrated solar home using Legos. The kid has a future!

Tesla now has the ability to deliver a full sustainable energy solution to consumers between its solar panels, Solar Roof, and residential battery storage systems. “It’s a fully contained energy solution that can scale for the world,” Elon noted.

Does any of this mean Tesla stock should be more valuable than the stock of General Motors or Ford? The simple answer seems to be — barring some unforeseen economic disaster — yes, it does.

Source: CleanTechnica, The Verge  Photo credit: Tesla

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.