Tesla shareholder meeting 2023

  • Tesla held its 2023 annual shareholder meeting in Austin, Texas on Tuesday.
  • Among other things, shareholders voted to add Redwood Materials CEO JB Straubel, formerly Tesla’s CTO, to the company’s board as an independent director.
  • CEO Elon Musk also revealed that the company will conduct third-party audits of its cobalt supply chain to ensure there is no child labor.

In an aerial photo, Tesla’s headquarters is visible on January 3, 2023 in Travis County, Texas.

Brandon Bell | Getty’s paintings

Tesla CEO Elon Musk addressed shareholders at the company’s annual meeting on Tuesday, predicting the economy would recover after 12 months and promising the company would deliver production Cybertrucks later this year.

Highlights in the set:

  • CEO Elon Musk said Tesla will deliver its first Cybertrucks this year and should be able to deliver between 250,000 and 500,000 a year once production begins. He said he would drive the Cybertruck every day.
  • The economy will stagnate for the next 12 months and many companies will go bankrupt, but Tesla will be in a good position in the long run.
  • Model Y will be ‘world’s best-selling car this year’
  • Tesla may reconsider its long stance on traditional advertising: “We’ll try some advertising and see how it goes.”
  • Tesla plans to produce a new type of power unit that Musk says will require less silicon carbide than previous powertrains and contain no rare earth elements. Tesla will also switch to a new low-voltage architecture in its cars, which should require less copper.
  • JB Straubel, former Tesla CTO and current leader of e-waste recycling company Redwood Materials, has been elected to the board as an independent director.

The stock was up about 1% after hours during the event.

During a question-and-answer session, a participant dressed as a robot in a cowboy hat asked Musk if Tesla would build an RV or RV. Musk said the company has no plans to build an RV at this time, but the upcoming Cybertruck could be converted into an RV or RV.

Responding to a question about the $44 billion acquisition of social networking site Twitter, Musk said it was a “short-term distraction” and said he needed to undergo “major open-heart surgery” to ensure his survival, noting that he was excited the fact that Linda Yaccarino, NBC Universal’s former advertising director, joined the company and became its new CEO.

Another participant asked Musk if he could reconsider Tesla’s longstanding stance on traditional advertising. Historically, the company has relied on word of mouth marketing, influencer marketing, and other non-traditional marketing and advertising to communicate about its products and their best features.

Musk said on Tuesday, “We’re going to try some advertising and see how it goes.”

Previously, shareholders voted to add former chief technology officer JB Straubel, who is now CEO of Redwood Materials, to the automaker’s board of directors. Redwood Materials recycles electronic waste and batteries, and last year made a multi-billion dollar deal with Tesla supplier Panasonic.

Following the shareholder vote, CEO Elon Musk kicked off his part of the meeting with a commitment to conduct an external audit of Tesla’s cobalt supply chain, namely to ensure that none of Tesla’s cobalt suppliers employ child labor.

Cobalt is a key ingredient in the production of batteries that go into Tesla’s electric cars and back-up batteries used in homes and industrial-scale energy projects. “Even for the small amount of cobalt we make, we will make sure that no child labor is used for the six weeks through Sunday,” Musk said to the cheers of current investors.

Later in his presentation, Musk boasted about the company’s energy storage business and said that the growth in sales of “big batteries” was faster than growth in the company’s main automotive segment.

In 2017, Musk unveiled the “next generation” Tesla Roadster at an event to announce the Tesla Semi, the company’s Class 8 electric truck. On Tuesday, it said the Roadster, which was originally scheduled to be produced and delivered in 2020, could enter production in 2024.

Musk was also optimistic about the humanoid robot being developed at Tesla, called Optimus. Optimus should be able to run on the same software and computer that Tesla uses to enable advanced driver assistance systems in its cars, Musk said.

The CEO said he believes “most of the long-term value” at Tesla will ultimately come from Optimus.

Since the electric vehicle maker’s last annual meeting in August 2022, Tesla’s largest retail shareholder, Leo Koguan, has criticized Musk for selling Tesla’s billion-dollar stake to fund a $44 billion Twitter buyout.

Koguan, who is a billionaire and founder of the IT services company SHI International, summoned the board of directors to “conduct shock therapy to bring stock prices back”, namely through a share buyback late last year.

Some Tesla institutional investors have chastised Musk for being too distracted while serving as Twitter CEO to optimally operate at Tesla’s helm, but Musk said Tuesday he expects to spend less time on Twitter than he has in the past six months. They also criticized Tesla’s board, led by CEO Robyn Denholm, for failing to rein it in and protect shareholder interests.

One attendee asked Musk about rumors he was thinking of leaving Tesla. Musk said that “it’s not like that.”

He added, “I think Tesla will play an important role in AI and AGI, and I think I need to oversee it to make sure it’s good,” speaking of artificial general intelligence, which is the idea behind a hypothetical intelligent agent. Musk then stated that Tesla has “by far the most advanced real-world AI” of any tech company today.

Tesla stock closed at $228.52 on October 28, 2022, after Musk officially acquired Twitter. It closed at $166.52 on May 16, 2023 as the meeting kicked off, and was up about 1% after hours.

At last year’s shareholder meeting, Musk predicted an 18-month recession, teased the possibility of a share buyback and told investors that the electric vehicle industry aims to produce 20 million vehicles a year by 2030, which he believes would require a total of a dozen factories with each producing 1.5 million up to 2 million pieces per year.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.

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