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Tesla CEO Elon Musk pours cold water on fans waiting for Model S, Model X refresh

Key Points
  • On Monday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company is planning "a series of minor ongoing changes" for its older Model S and Model X vehicles, not a major refresh.
  • Musk's declaration follows the departure of Tesla's former vice president of production, Peter Hochholdinger, who helped the company scale production of the Model S during his tenure there.
  • Tesla employees previously told CNBC a Model S refresh was in the works, with the company aiming to deliver a 400-mile range battery. 
Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors.
Yuriko Nakao | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter Monday night that the company is planning "a series of minor ongoing changes" for its older Model S and Model X vehicles, but not a major refresh.

Musk's declaration follows the departure of Tesla's former vice president of production, Peter Hochholdinger, who oversaw Model S and X manufacturing during his tenure there. Hochholdinger has joined Lucid Motors, a would-be Tesla competitor that plans to ship its first electric vehicle next year. Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson was previously the chief engineer of Tesla Model S.

In May, Tesla employees told CNBC the company was then planning a Model S refresh that would potentially include a 400-mile range battery -- a goal that Musk later nodded to during a shareholders' meeting, although he didn't say it would be for the Model S -- and could use Model 3 seats. They also said Tesla was rejiggering its Fremont, California, factory to make way for the refresh and for production of its upcoming Model Y crossover.

While plans for the Model S refresh have been reined in, changes at the Fremont plant are underway, according to a passel of new filings with the City of Fremont.

Specifically, the filings reveal that Tesla aims to overhaul its body-in-white and paint facilities and equipment in Fremont before embarking on its next phase of electric vehicle production.

Musk promised that Tesla would deliver between 90,000 and 100,000 vehicles for the second quarter of 2019, and this time, his forecasting was right on target with Tesla reporting deliveries of 95,200 cars to customers for the second quarter.

A Tesla Model S is displayed during the London Motor and Tech Show at ExCel on May 16, 2019 in London, England.
John Keeble | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Waxing optimistic about demand in its production and deliveries report last week, Tesla stated:

"Orders generated during the quarter exceeded our deliveries, thus we are entering Q3 with an increase in our order backlog. We believe we are well positioned to continue growing total production and deliveries in Q3."

However, the company did not specify if "orders generated" included those for vehicles besides their Model 3, S and X. Tesla has already begun taking orders for its Model Y, which is a crossover SUV, and for its electric Semi. It has a Roadster refresh and Tesla pickup in the works, as well.

None are in commercial production yet.

On its existing lines, Tesla produced a record 87,048 electric vehicles during the second quarter of 2019. Tesla's earlier record was in the fourth quarter of 2018, when it produced 86,555 vehicles.

Company executives have repeatedly stated that Tesla expects to deliver at least 360,000 vehicles to customers in 2019, meaning they have to deliver 201,650 to hit their own guidance in the second half of the year.

That will require production to ramp significantly beyond previous levels.

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Elon Musk says Tesla will have 'robotaxis' on the road by 2020