Elon Musk sets Tesla’s course for renewable future, silent on new car models

Elon Musk sets Tesla’s course for renewable future, silent on new car models

Elon Musk said Tesla Inc’s next phase of growth will be built around a sustainable energy future, one that can serve the world’s vast population and can be achieved without major economic sacrifices.

The automaker’s Master Plan 3 three-hour presentation on Wednesday disappointed some investors who were expecting new-product information, including details of a future Gen 3 platform. Tesla shares fell 6.8% to $189 in extended trading.

Musk, 51, outlined his vision for a global switch to electric vehicles to spend $10 trillion to develop sustainable energy around the world. The company’s investor event was streamed live from Tesla’s factory in Austin, Texas.

“The Earth will move towards a sustainable energy economy,” said the Tesla CEO. “And it will happen in your lifetime.”

In its own drive for efficiency, the EV maker plans to reduce the footprint of future manufacturing plants by up to 40%. Chief Financial Officer Zach Kirkhorn vowed to cut production costs in half for Tesla’s next generation of vehicles.

One product Tesla could expand on is the heat pump. Musk and Drew Baglino, his senior vice president of powertrain and energy engineering, said heat pumps could dramatically cut home- and office-heating costs, calling them one of the low-hanging fruits of the transition to sustainable energy.

Tesla went to great lengths to introduce several executives who are largely unknown to investors. For example, Rebecca Tinucci, head of global charging infrastructure, took to the stage to talk about the company’s Supercharger network and the “Magic Dock,” which lets drivers charge other EVs at Tesla stations.

Musk bought Twitter in October, leading some investors to wonder whether he’s spread himself too thin. Having so many other executives sharing the limelight shows that Tesla has a deep bench of talent.

The company also touted its growing ability to scale up and run production facilities faster. Tesla said it has broken ground on a lithium refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, and aims to start producing battery-grade lithium chemicals within 12 months.

“That’s the goal,” Baglino said.

Attendees and online viewers didn’t hear when Tesla would unveil its next-generation vehicle, with management saying it would come at a “later date.” Tesla again said the Cybertruck is coming this year, with volume production expected in 2024.

The new corporate vision aims to drive the evolution of the US electric vehicle market leader from a niche player into a mainstream automotive manufacturer. Tesla’s two previous strategic plans were unveiled in 2006 and 2016.

Scores of investors flocked to Austin for the invitation-only event where Tesla plans to show off its “most advanced production line.” The company said management was due to discuss topics including long-term growth, next-generation vehicle architecture and capital expenditure plans.

Musk published his first master plan more than a decade ago, laying out Tesla’s go-to-market strategy for making an electric sports car, then a series of more affordable cars. The company has followed through on that vision with the Roadster, the Model S and then the Model 3 sedan — its cheapest vehicle which starts at around $43,000.

Ten years later, Musk released the master plan, part deux, as Tesla was acquiring SolarCity. Musk served as chairman of Solar-Panel Installers, which was headed by his cousin. That plan talked about solar roofs with battery storage, an expanded vehicle lineup and self-driving technology.

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