Teslas Will Have Full Self-Driving by End of This Year, Musk Says

Tesla owners who have paid for the software allowing “full self-driving” mode onboard will get the download by the end of this year, CEO Elon Musk told investors and Wall Street analysts on the EV automaker’s call-in for its third-quarter financial results.

“It won’t have regulatory approval at the time,” conceded the world’s richest man based on stock valuation. But “it will take you from your house to work to a friend’s house to the grocery store without touching the wheel. … You’ll almost never have to touch the vehicle controls.”

Musk says he did just that, driving from a friend’s house earlier Wednesday on his way to Tesla’s Austin, Texas, headquarters for the Q&A call (to which reporters could listen, but not participate).

Tesla’s Cybertruck remains a big point of interest, and on this subject, Musk says “we’re still on track for early production next year,” with some “beta”—pre-production models, we used to call them—running around Austin. Note that he did not say “production early next

year,” and the hint is that a few may trickle out before December 31, 2023, with production ramp-up in 2024. This jibes with our story that the first units will hit the streets no earlier than December of next year before production ramps up in 2024.

But the Tesla all-electric semi comes first, Musk says. Production unit deliveries to Pepsi Co. are scheduled to begin on December 1. Production then ramps up through 2023 and reaches 50,000 units per year (a substantial number for big rigs) by 2024. In the Q3 call, Musk dismissed conventional wisdom that you need hydrogen fuel-cell electric semis to haul heavy loads. The Tesla semi will be able to haul a full load of Pepsi-Cola 500 miles on a charge, “on level ground,” he said. (West Virginia might want to go with Coke.)

Tesla believes it has sourcing lined up to meet the strict parts and materials requirements of the Inflation Reduction Act passed by Congress earlier this year. The $7500 tax credit on cars and SUVs priced up to $55,000 and trucks priced up to $80,000 requires 50% North American- or trade partner-sourced parts on vehicles delivered before January 1, 2024. The content percentages ramp up by 10 points per year after that.

Tesla seems “confident” it will have the required sourcing of those parts and materials as they ramp up, Andrew Baglino, the automaker’s senior vice president for production and energy engineering, told the Q3 analysts’ call.

Asked whether Tesla might vertically integrate its own rare minerals mining necessary for lithium-ion batteries, Musk said, “Whatever the limiting factor is, that we will do,” but he said he would rather buy the mined materials from a supplier that can do the job.

As for the Q3 financial results, Tesla reported a $3.33 billion net income on revenues of $21.45 billion. Earnings per share were $1.05. Analysts had expected higher revenues, of $21.96 billion, but lower EPS, of 99 cents per share, according to CNBC.

Tesla is on track for 50% growth per year, Musk said, noting the industry’s move toward EV development is helping his company along. Demand for Tesla’s vehicles will match supply for as far into the future as the company can see, he said, and the mercurial CEO predicted the company will someday soon exceed the market caps of Apple and Saudi Aramco—combined.

At the end of trading Wednesday, Apple was worth $2.312 trillion and Saudi Aramco was worth $7.862 trillion, for a combined $10.174 trillion (thank you, iPhone, for making these numbers easy to find). Tesla’s market cap was $695.8 billion. From a more down-to-earth perspective, General Motors was worth $49.03 billion.

Source: https://www.autoweek.com/news/industry-news/a41721712/elon-musk-says-teslas-full-self-driving-this-year/

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