There is a lot that’s happening around Tesla lately and the last month was quite an action packed. From Musk detailing the plans for Solar Roof to the production of Model 3 and to the more recent news of Tesla CFO quitting, here is the piece of information that you need to know.
A self-driving Tesla car soon?
Well, all the three Tesla cars are fully equipped hardware wise for being self-driven, they just need a software update to work. That’s where the problem is, the software isn’t completely ready for the roads yet. Musk acknowledged some challenges in the transition from Mobileye to Tesla software.
He further added that the software was rather ready and it could have been released three months ago, but he feels that vigorous testing is required before implementing it in the entire fleet. Tesla plans to increase the speed for both Traffic-Aware Cruise Control and Auto Steer to 85 miles an hour by next month from their current speed of 80 mph and 50 mph respectively.
Self-driven cars need a special insurance, too
The autonomous cars need a different insurance policy considering the better safety they offer and their insurance premium should reflect this. Tesla is already offering insurance policies customised for their cars in Asia and plans to bring it to other countries as well, including the USA. The policy was designed taking the added safety features that Tesla cars offer and their maintenance cost. Tesla further plans to offer a single price for the car that includes the insurance and maintenance costs.
The Q4 2016 financial report wasn’t so sweet
Tesla gave better than expected numbers for revenue but that wasn’t the case with losses. The Wall Street Journal anticipated the revenue to be $2.201 billion and Tesla went past it with a revenue of $2.284 billion. The Q4 for Tesla ended with a loss of $0.78 per share which was expected to be $0.13. Though, Musk said that the company had enough cash in hand to roll out the Model 3. The cash increased by $300 million from $3.1 billion in Q3 to $3.4 billion in Q4 2016.
Model 3 is on track and Tesla is targeting 10,000 cars every week by 2018
During the investors meet, Musk confirmed that the Model 3’s production is on track and would begin in July this year. The ‘budget’ car is currently in its testing phase and will go under initial production after that. Tesla wants to make a modest number of cars initially and will go for a full-scale volume production by September this year.
The company expects to make as many as 5,000 Model 3 units every week at some point in Q4 2017 and the number will be gradually increased to 10,000 by 2018. Talking about the overall capacity, Tesla aims to make 500,000 units of all their cars and further increase it to a million by 2020.
The abrupt exit of the CFO
Just a day before the investor meet, Tesla saw its CFO resigning from the post. Jason Wheeler has been serving the company as a CFO since 2015 and will continue to do so until April this year. That’s what Musk said during the financial announcement and he would be replaced with Deepak Ahuja, who had served in this post from 2008 to 2015 before Wheeler took over.
Wheeler joined the company in November 2015 after working at Google. Musk said that Wheeler chose to resign to “pursue opportunities in public policy” and no other information was provided by Musk or Wheeler. After him, Ahuja will be entitled to a base salary of $500,000 and an equity grant of $15 million.
Solar is the future, but neither seems bright for Tesla
The company was recently renamed from Tesla Motors to Tesla Inc. to probably not limit itself to a mundane business of making self-driving cars running entirely on battery power to achieve a maximum speed of 155 mph. Tesla wanted more and invested a sum of $2 billion in a SolarCity.
Tesla deployed about 201 megawatts of solar units compared to the guidance of 250 megawatts. The reason? Tesla wants to “prioritize cash preservation over growth of megawatts deployed” and that’s just before when the company plans to start installing the Solar Roof later this year.
A shift from leasing the solar energy systems towards selling them is being seen as the company as 28 percent of the total solar capacity deployed in Q4 last year was sold compared to 13 percent in Q3 and less than 4 percent in Q4 2015. Tesla is also trying to cut customer acquisition cost by reducing their advertisement spending and selling the solar products in Tesla stores.