I attended in person the almost four hour shareholders meeting in Mountain View, CA. This meeting was more of a Tesla history lesson than a shareholders meeting. At times I was very bored as I have been following Tesla since 2007, and a lot of the information was unnecessarily long. The large recognition of a variety of Tesla employees was nice to see as Tesla is not just Elon. There were a few interesting tidbits during the history lesson and the 30 minutes of Q&A.
Model 3 Supercharging Fees
Elon stated the Model 3 will have a fee to use the superchargers. The pricing model is unknown and could be a simple upfront fee or a pay per use model. The 60kWh version of the Model S had a simple $2,000 fee to enable supercharging.
Model X Regrets
Elon admitted that the Model X was over engineered. He regretted not launching a simpler Model X and following up future versions of the car with these new features. He also admitted to a lot of problems with the falcon wing doors, and that the remaining issues are software related for a various corner cases when the doors should or should not open.
I really liked that Elon acknowledged this mistake; I am much more comfortable with honest leaders who both recognize and publicly admit errors. I also think that if the Model X had a simpler base version with standard doors and standard seats, a lot more vehicles would have been sold.
Model S and X as Technology Leaders
The Model S and Model X will always be the technology leaders and will be continually improved.
Building the Machines that Build the Machine
Elon also demonstrated a huge amount of interest in building the machines that build the machine. He used the analogy of integrated circuit (IC) design to car factory design. When designing an IC, the designer and software make tradeoffs between speed, size, and power consumption of a chip. The process is very complex today as the individual components and wires are extremely small. During this analogy, Elon referred to both the slow rate that cars are leaving the factory and the number of layers in an IC. With these references, I can speculate that Elon thinks that there are ways the factory robotic process can be combined. Very simplistic ideas could be that multiple robots are working on a car at the same time; perhaps one robot is above the car, another below the car and a third on the side of the car.
The New Model S Nose
On display at front was an older Model S, a new Model S with the new nose, and a Model X. I don’t really have a strong opinion about the new nose. From all the Model Xs I have seen in California, I have found that the new nose looks better on some colors than others.