More and more details have been slowly trickling down since Tesla’s investor event at the Gigafactory last week following the start of battery cell production at the plant. We already reported that the company confirmed the start of battery cell production at the event and that Tesla CEO Elon Musk made an interesting comment about the Trump administration at the event.
But now we get our best look at the event through pictures and a recording of a Q&A session with Musk and CTO JB Straubel.
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Investor Whitney Tilson shorted Tesla’s stock from ~$35 to ~$205 from early 2013 to early 2014, an experience that he described as “traumatic” and something he lost a lot of money on.
He was recently tempted to try to bet against the company again, which is why he decided to come visit the Gigafactory and get a better look at what he would be betting against.
Tilson came out of the event impressed with Elon Musk and JB Straubel, and what Tesla has been doing at the Gigafactory in general. He has now given up the idea of shorting the stock and gave us the best look at the event through a letter he sent out to his investors.
Below are pictures Tilson took at the event and a record of the Q&A session with Musk and Straubel:
The focus was on manufacturing and Musk’s preferred approach of physics first principles. You can see that through the slide presentation which focuses on the raw material used to make the batteries.
Musk said that Tesla is investing in vertical integration. He half-jokingly said that the “best case scenario” would be to “put the factory over a mine and out comes a car”.
He compared the concept of the Gigafactory’s vertical integration to Ford’s effort 100 years ago at River Rouge Complex, the largest integrated factory in the world at the time. Musk said that the Gigafactory will go further in integration than River Rouge.
Here are pictures of the slides from the presentation:
Musk reiterated that he is not aware of anyone focusing on manufacturing like Tesla does by looking at the velocity of the product output. The CEO had previously compared compared a factory to a computer chip and the output of battery cells to bullets out of a machine gun even though the former will be many multiples faster.
Here’s the Q&A: