2015 Shareholder Meeting

I attended today my first Tesla shareholder meeting. For somewhat bizarre reasons, I did not become a shareholder in Tesla till last year when I bought some shares.  The amount is quite small (far less than 1% of my net worth) and has no bearing on the honesty of my blog.

Unlike traditional dull shareholder meetings in the past, this meeting was quite enjoyable.  The business part was over quickly and included a warm thanks from Elon to the retiring CFO.  Elon gave a short overview speech and answered about 10-15 questions from the audience.

After the official meeting, I went to charge my car at the new supercharger located in the parking lot.  As I was chatting with a fellow shareholder I met at a supercharger in Oregon, I noticed the CTO JB Straubel talking to some owners.  I took the opportunity to join in the conversation and ask some questions myself.

Model S / Autopilot

Elon mentioned that Teslas (not 100% sure if Roadsters are included) have been driven 1 billion miles as of today June 9, 2015, and that the new 70D is about 1/3 of Model S sales.  Elon has been testing the autopilot features and will be released to Beta customers by or near the end of the month.

Model X

Elon did say the Model X is coming in 3 to 4 months and had a photo of it on the screen.  I think the following quote is quite telling:

“The Model X may be a better SUV than the Model S is a sedan”.

Powerwall

Both Elon and JB expressed dissatisfaction with the current information available about the Tesla Energy products.  Elon announced that the Powerwall now has a significant increase in power output making it a more usable solution for backup power in case of a power outage; a typical home can now run everything except air conditioning.  Price with install for an existing solar customer will be $4,000.  They are prioritizing deliveries to existing Tesla customers with solar.

I asked JB about the huge interest Tesla is seeing for the Powerwall as my return on investment with existing solar is 18 years.  He said there are very specific markets:  Germany, Australia, and South Africa where the economics make sense. He also mentioned the large interest in the Powerpack product for utilities. If they need to expand, they can add Powerpacks to existing substations.  This advantage saves physical space and wires.  JB mentioned keen interest among specific utilities.

Superchargers

The new Mountain View supercharger was opened up.   I charged at my 86th supercharger today.

New Supercharger Cable

New Supercharger Cable

Tesla had representatives hanging around to talk to the customers.  The only real difference now is that the charging cable is liquid cooled, flexible, thinner and lighter.  The cable is the same width as the one we use at home.  In California and warmer climates, the existing supercharger cables work fine, but in colder climates the existing cables can get very stiff.

These cables will support more voltage than today’s cables.  So eventually we will be able to charge above 120V.

Elon clarified that superchargers are really for long distance trips.  He acknowledged that there are some people using them for daily driving, and mentioned that a few are getting notes to that effect.  An owner can technically and legally use only superchargers for daily driving.

Elon did say that eventually all superchargers would be powered from renewables.  Where possible and appropriate they will have solar panels, or they will buy electricity from other renewable sources.

Battery Swap

Tesla does not think there is much interest in battery swapping.  The initial 200 people that were invited to the Beta of the station at Harris Ranch, only 4 or 5 swapped their batteries and only did it once.  Tesla has now invited all the owners in California, and they are receiving about the same amount of interest as the initial group.

Space X

A shareholder asked Elon if SpaceX will ever go public as he wanted to own the trifecta of Elon’s companies (including Solar City).  Elon said that wall street lives quarter to quarter and that model does not work with long times for launching rockets.  He said that “Space X will go public once they have regular flights to Mars”.

Conclusion

The shareholder meeting was quite an enjoyable event.  Listening to Elon and his clear vision of “sustainable transport” and a few interesting tidbits was well worth the short drive.  The extra treat was to be able to ask a couple of questions directly to the CTO.  Just being around two very intelligent people doing interesting and valuable things is inspiring.

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “2015 Shareholder Meeting

  1. Thanks for the post. I lived vicariously through your tweets and post. Someday i’d like to make one of these but like you my stake in TSLA is low and I’m a long way from CA.

    I did want to know where you got this from:
    “An owner can technically and legally use only superchargers for daily driving.”

    Its always been my opinion that Tesla has not restricted SC use:
    http://teslaliving.net/2015/03/06/can-you-use-superchargers-for-your-daily-needs/

    But here they seem to think they can change that and chase some people.

    I’ve recently been supercharging a lot, but for 1,000 mile weekend trips to see a sick family member. I’d hate to think they could just decide to take it away at some point as its abuse. Its what I need the car for, not to save a few bucks.

    • There is no restriction on supercharger use — so they can’t come after someone legally or technically. But Elon did say they were sending notes to a few people who were clearly using them for daily charging.

      No, what you are doing is the intent for the superchargers – to enable long distance driving. I hope your family member recovers soon.

      I was a bit surprised about the “note” comment myself. Its a note not anything legally enforceable. I got the impression it was more to encourage folks to at least charge a bit on some 110V or level 3 charger now and then. But I am making assumptions here!

  2. Is he clarifying or changing the terms? I think Tesla may be shortsighted on battery swapping and I hope they’ll lead, not just follow customer interest. Once EVs become a significant percentage of cars on the road – which may not take all that long in CA – swap stations will quickly show their value.
    But customers may have to give up on the idea of “their” battery and look at it as a service, not an owned item.

    • I am not exactly sure what Elon’s intent was on the “notes” to folks who use the same supercharger over and over again. I can only speculate.

      I do want to try the swap station. I think there is a lot of complexity with them as you need to return to the same place in a reasonable time to get back your old battery.

      • Returning to pick up your old battery would be a logistics nightmare with significant numbers of drivers.
        And I know many would argue that they don’t someone else’s crappy battery but if swapping is a service, all you’d have to do is swap again.

        Better Place’s plan may have failed but their swap stations worked and the details of the service were well thought out.
        As they planned to offer a money back guarantee for people who would have had to swap “too” often, whatever that means, they would be no incentive for them to have a lot of substandard batteries in the system – especially when they can be repurposed as stationary storage for the swap stations or some other commercial purpose.

      • And today, the only battery swap is in Coalinga. So you have to go through there and back again. So is it really a valid test of the concept?

      • Im worried that they can change the terms/rules at any time and what that means. I love Elon, but a lot of what he says in these areas is grey and the Tesla site never backs up anything with solid paperwork either.

        On the swaps (no chance of them out here in the Northeast) one of many issues is the need to book your swap time. Thats just not how travel works. I’d love to see a blog post from you if you manage to pull it off. Not sure i’d be brave enough to subject my car/battery to it.

      • I think in many ways (mostly good but not always) Tesla is acting like a technology company. So yes, the rules may change along the way.

        I agree on the swap thing. The appointment thing is not the way a road trip works generally. Also Harris Ranch is in the middle of a very very boring drive. Not really a leisure trip say to Lake Tahoe. If there was one in Vacaville or Roseville there would probably be a lot more interest. I think most people who are able to buy a Tesla are more likely to fly to LA.

        I think I will find a way to do a swap hopefully in the next couple of months.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s