Tesla reports fourth-quarter earnings Wednesday after the market close. It should be a big deal.
Elon Musk, who skipped the call in October, has said he’ll be back to give an update on the company’s product roadmap. Guidance on deliveries for the year ahead will be top of mind.
Here are five topics to look out for:
Musk made an at-the-time-outlandish pitch to investors in May 2019 that autonomy would be “transformative” and a fundamental driver of Tesla becoming a half-trillion-dollar company. The latter prediction now seems quaint, with Tesla having well exceeded Musk’s envisioned market capitalization. But customers are still waiting for the year of the robotaxi that Musk over-optimistically said they were in store for in 2020. Whatever the CEO says about plans to make Full Self-Driving beta features available to more owners who paid thousands of dollars for them could have important implications for revenue and margins this year.
Austin and Berlin
Tesla is about to open two new factories in Austin, Texas, and near Berlin. Austin appears to be slightly ahead of Berlin-Brandenburg. Will Musk use the call to announce Tesla has started making the Model Y in the Lone Star state? Or to give a date for the opening party he’s promised?
Cryptocurrencies have come under enormous selling pressure in recent weeks. Since its all-time high of $69,000 in November, Bitcoin has tumbled more than 50%. Tesla disclosed in February 2021 it had invested $1.5 billion in Bitcoin, then revealed in April that it had sold 10% of its holdings. What does Tesla disclose this quarter about its “digital assets?”
Musk unveiled the Cybertruck over two years ago, in November 2019. Americans love pickups, and the pressure is on: Rivian is out with its R1T, and the electric Ford F-150 just got a big write-up in the New Yorker. I’d expect the Cybertruck to be the main focus of product announcements. Its progress depends in large part on the bigger 4680 battery cells Tesla is working on making in-house and also planning to get from long-term supplier Panasonic. What’s the status of the California pilot plant that’s been trying to get 4680 cells into production?
How many cars does Tesla plan to make and deliver in 2022? The company sold more than 936,000 vehicles in 2021, a roughly 87% rate of growth. This far exceeds the 50% average annual expansion Tesla has predicted over the course of several years. With the new plants coming online and seemingly no trouble generating demand — both from consumers and companies like Hertz and new car-subscription startup Autonomy — will Tesla forecast deliveries of 1.5 million vehicles this year, or more?
What else will you be listening for on the earnings call today? Holler: email@example.com.
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