Tesla’s (TSLA) Elon Musk promises increased production, Hyperloop


WEST PALM BEACH, July 17, 2013 — Tesla’s uber-innovative CEO Elon Musk is gaining renewed attention for his TESLIVE conference and his statements about his rapid transit system.

Earlier this week, Musk hosted TESLALIVE, the first users conference for Tesla owners, enthusiasts, and the interested observers.

On Saturday, the faithful were rewarded by an appearance from Musk, who provided still more insight into the plans of the company.  Musk told attendees, “The goal of Tesla is to accelerate the advent of sustainable transportation,” and added, “I think we can ship 800 cars a week by the end of next year.”

Currently, production is “above 400 a week” and the California factory employs 3,000 workers who handle two production shifts. The factory has a capacity of 500,000 cars a year.

Tesla is looking to increase production quickly and efficiently, but Musk wants to avoid “big company-it is.”

The Model S, which is attracting enormous attention, is the current focus of the company.  Tesla is already looking toward its third electric car platform, which it plans to produce in even larger numbers and sell for somewhere around $30,000, considerably less than current Tesla offerings.

Musk said another challenge for the company is producing the lithium-ion cells that are a key part of Tesla’s battery packs. He noted, “We’re working with Panasonic to ramp up production. We need a lot of battery. The sheer number of battery plants that needs to get built is quite staggering.”

Previewing future projects, Musk noted he is “quite keen” to build an all-electric truck.

During the presentation, Musk also addressed his plan for a “Hyperloop,” a rapid transit system.

Musk followed up conference comments on the Hyperloop on Monday, by tweeting, “Will publish Hyperloop alpha design by Aug 12. Critical feedback for improvements would be much appreciated.”

The Hyperloop is what he calls “a really rapid transit system,” as opposed to the plan for California’s high-speed rail, which Musk dubbed, “the slowest bullet train in the world.” His plan is to build a system that travels at 800 miles per hour, delivering passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 30 minutes.

In terms of the technology, all Musk has revealed is that it is “a cross between a Concorde, a railgun, and an air-hockey table.”

While Tesla has an incredible fan base, investors are less comfortable. The company is set to release quarterly results on July 25, and the stock has taken a beating over the last several days. Even analysts who are optimistic about the results are less positive on the stock, noting that better-than-expected results could prompt a short squeeze.

Regardless of the stock price, the faithful remain. TESLALIVE attendants gush about the company, the product and, of course, Musk. Sandy Grund of Los Angeles, said tearfully, “This is the greatest company in the world,” and added, “Elon, will you marry me?”

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Lisa M. Ruth
Lisa M. Ruth is Editor-in-Chief of CDN. In addition to her editing and leadership duties, she also writes on international events, intelligence, and other topics. She has worked with CDN as a journalist since 2009. Lisa is also President of CTC International Group, Inc., a research and analysis firm in South Florida, providing actionable intelligence to decisionmakers. She started her career at the CIA, where she won several distinguished awards for her service. She holds an MA in international relations from the University of Virginia, and a BA in international relations from George Mason University. She also serves as Chairman of the Board of Horses Healing Hearts, and is involved with several other charitable organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and AYSO.