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Question 1 – Lithium-ion and Tesla’s 4680 batteries
One question an institutional investor submitted that received the most shares and votes related to Tesla’s 4680 battery cell.
“Proponents of alternative grid storage technologies claim that lithium-ion is unsuited to long-term (e.g., intra-seasonal) storage at scale due to vampire drain. Could 4680 address this limitation? Is the limitation even relevant for changing the energy equation?” asked the institutional investor.
During Tesla Battery Day, Drew Baglino—Senior Vice President of Powertrain and Energy Engineering—noted that the lithium-ion industry was only in its third decade of high volume production. “It has so far to go to achieve similar scale and simplicity,” said Baglino.
Question 2 – Tesla Gigafactory Berlin’s Model 3 production
Another institutional investor asked about any production improvements Tesla may apply to Giga Berlin’s Model 3 line.
“You’ve suggested that between a 5-10x improvement is achievable in automotive production vs. the first Model 3 line on a first-principles physics analysis. Where does Berlin sit relative to that limit?” the institutional investors asked.
Tesla investors may recall the Model 3 “production hell” the company experienced several years ago, which resulted in the construction of a production line housed in a sprung structure, GA4. Since those early days of Model 3 production, Tesla has notably improved the assembly of its more affordable sedan.
Question 3 – Tesla’s Urban Transport Vehicle
The last institutional investor question that Tesla may need to answer relates to Elon Musk’s mention of an urban transport vehicle in his Master Plan Part Deux.
“Master Plan Part Deux talks about an urban transport vehicle that is smaller than a traditional bus with greater areal density achieved by removing the central aisle (like a 21st-century Soviet marshrutka except with everyone seated!) Do you have any update to share on that goal?” asked the institutional investor.
In Master Plan Part Deux, Musk described a high-passenger-density urban transport designed without a center aisle. A fleet manager would operate the urban transport instead of a “bus driver.” Musk predicted that Tesla’s urban transport would minimize traffic congestion.
A few years later, Musk created Boring Company, a tunneling company, to address traffic congestion. The Boring Company’s first operational tunnel, the LVCC Loop in Las Vegas, will welcome its first riders in June. LVCC Loop visitors will ride inside Tesla vehicles through the tunnel. However, an urban transport—like the one Musk described in his Master Plan—might be a better fit for Boring Company.
Tesla will answer questions from retail investors and institutional investors during the Q1 2020 earnings call on Monday, April 26, 2021. Tesla will release an Update Letter after the market closes, and the earnings call will start at 2:30 pm Pacific Time or 5:30 pm Eastern Time.