“While we’re making cars at full speed, the global chip shortage situation remains quite serious,” he told investors. “For the rest of this year, our growth rates will be determined by the slowest part in our supply chain,” adding that there are a wide range of chips that will serve as that brake on growth.
And Tesla and Musk did give cautious outlook about a number of other plans and products it has promised.
Tesla repeated its earlier guidance that it expects to complete construction of factories near Austin, Texas, and in Berlin and start limited production of the Model Y SUV at those plants later this year.
But it’s not just a chip shortage dogging the company. There is also a shortage of the cells used to make the large batteries each vehicle needs.
“Cybertruck and Semi, actually both are heavy users of [battery] cell capacity,” said Musk. “So we’ve got to make sure we have the cell capacity for those two vehicles. We are looking at a pretty massive increase in cell availability next year.” But he said that increase won’t all be available at the start of 2022 but will “ramp up through the course of next year.”
Challenges for Cybertruck
Musk also acknowledge that the pickup’s unusual design will make the launch a challenge.
“It’s such a new architecture. It’s going to be a great product. It might, I think, be our best product ever,” he said. “But there’s a lot of fundamentally new design ideas …. So there’ll probably be challenges because there’s so much unexplored territory.”
In a tweet recently he said Tesla will open up its supercharger network to electric vehicles from other automakers later this year. While he still didn’t have details, he said the plan to do that will lower charging costs for Tesla customers. And he said it’s in keeping with the company’s overall mission to convert the world from gasoline powered cars to EVs.
“Our goal is to support the advent of sustainable energy,” he said. “It is not to create a walled garden and use that to bludgeon our competitors, which is sometimes used by some companies.”
While Musk thinks full-self-driving subscriptions will produce significant revenue starting next year, “right now … does it make sense for somebody to do FSD subscription? I think it’s debatable.”
Small loss on bitcoin holdings
“While supply chain issues remain, it appears to be moderating heading into the next six to nine months,” said Ives. He said the report should confirm those expecting Tesla to hit full-year sales of 900,000 vehicles, up from the 500,000 it sold in 2020. It sold 386,000 cars in the first half of this year, more than double what it sold in the first half last year.
“The automaker benefited from record sales and reduced internal costs to overcome rising material costs and a $23 million bitcoin ‘impairment,'” said Karl Brauer, executive analyst at iSeeCars.com. “Tesla’s numbers, beating estimates by a healthy margin, confirm strong global demand for EVs continues, enough to more than offset Tesla’s near-term challenges.”
One of his last quarterly calls
“If I’m doing interviews and I can’t do actual other work,” he said. “I only have so much time in the day.”
“I’ll do the annual shareholder meeting, but I think going forward, I will most likely not be on earnings calls unless there’s something really important that I need to say.”