- tesla announced it posted a profit of $16 million for the first quarter of 2020 even with complications surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
- musk said he believes that a vehicle equipped with tesla's full self driving will be able to drive from home to work most of the time with no interventions by the end of the year; he also announced a model 3 price drop in china.
- musk also continued to lambaste shelter-in-place orders, saying they go against people's constitutional rights and take their freedoms away.
despite its flagship fremont, california, factory being shut down since march 23, tesla announced it posted a $16 million profit during the first quarter of 2020. it's the first time the company has made a profit during the first quarter, which is traditionally a slow period. also, it was able to eke this out despite shutdowns at its shanghai and fremont sites. this and a few news nuggets were announced during an investor call on wednesday, april 29, including a new timeline for full self driving (fsd), an upcoming gigafactory announcement, and a model 3 price drop in china.
but the good news didn't stop ceo elon musk from continuing to rail against coronavirus-related shelter-in-place orders, something he began last night on twitter.
tesla's ability to make money during the pandemic is impressive. the company had to shut down and then spin back up its shanghai factory and has to deal with an essentially shuttered fremont during the last week of the quarter. but ahead of those events, it was able to produce 102,672 vehicles and deliver 88,496. how the pandemic will affect the second quarter is yet to be seen.
in addition to being cash positive, the ceo elon musk announced that a new gigafactory will be announced, if not by the end of may then within three months, saying the date is still unsure due to the coronavirus situation. the timing lines up with what musk said on the call about an upcoming battery event that is currently planned for the third week in may. that event will take place in california or texas, depending on shelter-in-place orders.
texas has been floated as the location of the next gigafactory and today's call prominently mentioning the state seems a strong indicator.
during the call, musk also talked about its most recently added new over-the-air update, a feature that brings vehicles to a stop at intersections with stop signs and traffic lights. the ceo also stated that the evolution of full self driving (fsd) continues and said he is "extremely confident that it will be possible to do a drive from your home to your office most of the time with no interventions by the end of the year."
fsd will be available as a subscription toward the end of this year, musk said. currently, the option costs $7000 and lasts for the life of the vehicle. a subscription could give drivers the potential to use the feature for a few months to see if they want to use it on a daily basis or just occasionally during road trips.
while most of the call was strictly business, musk did let his feelings through about the shelter-in-place orders that have impacted the fremont factory. "the extension of the shelter-in-place, or as i call it forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their constitutional rights, in my opinion is breaking people's freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong and not why people came to america or built this country . . . to say that they cannot leave their house and will be arrested if they do. this is fascist."
finally, for the china market, tesla announced that the starting price of the standard range model 3 will be lowered to help it qualify for subsidies, and he also said tesla's robotaxis could be on the road next year in some markets. musk earlier said that the technology for these autonomous taxis will be available this year.