Elon Musk at Tesla shareholder meeting: 'It won't be long before we have a 400-mile range car'

Key Points
  • CEO Elon Musk spoke at Tesla's annual shareholder meeting in Mountain View, California on Tuesday.
  • Among other things, Musk said to expect Tesla to unveil its pickup truck this summer, and to determine a location this year for a European Gigafactory where it will make both cars and batteries. 
  • Tesla shares closed around $217 on Tuesday ahead of the meeting, down about 36% from the same time last year, when they were trading near $342.
Watch the highlights from Elon Musk speaking at Tesla shareholder meeting

Tesla CEO Elon Musk spoke at the company's annual shareholder meeting in Mountain View, California on Tuesday, telling investors, "It won't be long before we have a 400-mile range car."

He also said that sometime next year, Tesla drivers will be able to use self-driving features in their vehicles without intervention.

Musk said, "Every car made since October 2016 is capable for full autonomy with replacement of the computer alone." He also added, "We'll still need regulatory approval but the capability will be there. This massively increases the value of the car. In fact, I think it's basically financially insane to buy anything except an electric car that is upgradable to autonomy."

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during the unveiling of the new Tesla Model Y in Hawthorne, California on March 14, 2019.
Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

(It would be unprecedented for a car to appreciate in value near-term. It is rare when cars become a collectors' choice, and gain value over a longer time.)

When asked about Tesla's financial prospects for 2019, Musk said, "Profitability is always challenging if you're a fast-growing company." He said that Tesla is on target to grow its entire "fleet" by 60% to 80% this year, and said, "It's hard to be profitable with that level of growth." He said the company could be cash-flow positive while growing at that rate.

Tesla CTO and co-founder JB Straubel, who has rarely been seen in public in recent days, joined Musk on stage at the meeting to thank teams that built the company's battery tech and massive US battery plant, the Gigafactory. Tesla jointly owns and operates that factory with Panasonic, its primary supplier of cellsor its vehicle batteries today.

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Musk and Straubel also showed a picture of a green field in Europe, joking that this would one day be their Gigafactory in Europe. The company aims to establish a car factory on each continent, Musk said. By the end of this year, they intend to determine and announce the location for another battery-and-car plant in Europe.

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The execs were also joined by Drew Baglino, who has been with Tesla for 14 years and leads battery, power train and solar roof projects.

The electric vehicle and renewable energy company is on the hook to produce and deliver 90,000 to 100,000 cars to customers by the end of this quarter, per its earlier guidance, which has been reiterated by execs, including Musk and CFO Zach Kirkhorn, throughout the period.

Tesla is also trying to make and sell more cars with fewer employees in the US, having laid off hundreds in cost-cutting measures earlier this year. At the same time, it is expanding operations internationally, with a new battery plant and car assembly, known as Gigafactory 3, under way in Shanghai.

Musk also told shareholders that they should expect an unveiling of the Tesla pickup truck towards the end of the summer of 2019, and production of its larger electric Semi truck by the end of 2020.

Outside the venue where the shareholder meeting took place, the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, Tesla showed off prototypes of its forthcoming Roadster, Semi and Model Y, prompting fans and shareholders to post snapshots on social networks.

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The annual meeting marks the first for Tesla since Oracle founder Larry Ellison and Walgreens Boots Alliance executive Kathleen Wilson-Thompson joined the company's board of directors late last year. (Ellison was in attendance on Tuesday.)

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Tesla stock has been edging higher in recent days after favorable analyst reports and electric vehicle sales forecasts from the likes of Morgan Stanley and IHS Markit, respectively. Tesla shares closed on Tuesday at $217.10, down about 36% since this time last year when they were trading near $342.

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