Elon Musk’s Tweet Raises Stock Prices
Tesla shares rose by over 4 percent this morning after chief executive Elon Musk tweeted out a teaser for his new “masterplan”.
The tech giant announced his plans to issue a follow-up to his original vision for the electric car company, though he did not divulge what exactly this follow-up would describe or how.
Tesla’s stock prices have been in turmoil over the past few weeks due to major hiccups in the company’s general plan. One of its cars crashed while in autopilot mode, and Musk released plans for a very unpopular merger with solar panel provider Solar City, another company headed by Musk that has yet to turn a profit. The tech giant was also forced to confirm its inability to hit its car production target yet again, leading many to wonder when exactly they will be receiving the Model 3’s that they have put down substantial deposits to pre-order.
“There’s a lot of very enthusiastic Tesla fans that look for a reason to buy this stock,” stated Wall Street analyst at S&P Capital Efraim Levy. “The fact that there will be- at least in their minds- potential upside from a new masterplan… is contributing to the rise in valuation today.”
“But on a fundamental basis,” Levy continued, “I think it’s an expensive stock.”
The original plan set down by Elon Musk was published a decade prior to this upcoming follow-up. The 2006 write-up stated that Musk planned to create a low-cost family car that would be eco-friendly and much greener than any petrol-based alternative. This car was ultimately revealed as the Model 3 in April of this year, and the company has since received over 400,000 pre orders for the affordable, all-electric vehicle model.
While Musk may be keeping the details of his new plan a secret, he has posted multiple tweets defending Tesla’s autopilot feature, a software that allows cars to automatically steer, change lanes and adjust their speed based on traffic while driving on the highway.
This past May, Tesla revealed that Joshua Brown, the late owner of a Model S equipped with the autopilot feature, died in a car crash when the Model S’s autopilot software failed to recognize “the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky,” when the vehicle drove across the Model S’s path in Florida.
The car manual posits a warning that autopilot is in “beta” and cannot always detect every detail on the road.
“Use of word ‘beta’ is explicitly so that drivers don’t get comfortable. It is not beta software in the standard sense,” Mr. Musk tweeted recently.
“Point of calling it ‘beta’ was to emphasize to those who chose to use it that it wasn’t perfect.”
Musk also stated that it would likely be another six months before the autopilot system had reached over one billion miles of use outside of Tesla’s labs:
“1B needed for min statistical sample size. More software mods and data may be needed beyond that.”
The fully electric automaker has since denied that the autopilot feature had caused a second car crash in Pennsylvania:
“Based on the information we have now, we have no reason to believe that autopilot had anything to do with accident,” it said in response to the occurrence.
Musk has been under fire for a variety of reasons, but perhaps his most unpopular recent decision has been to publicly plan to combine Tesla and SolarCity. Given that Musk is the chairman of the solar panel firm and one of its biggest shareholders, his refusal to vote on the merger means little in terms of ascertaining that he not be a driving force behind the action.
Investment manager Jim Chanos has expressed scathing skepticism of the idea, stating that it was “shameful” and would severely stress out both businesses. Musk defended the idea, stating that it would enable the creation of “a seamlessly integrated Tesla battery and solar panel product that looks beautiful.”
These issues as well as ones holding up the creation of the factory that will then itself create the batteries necessary for the hundreds of thousands of pre-ordered Model 3’s that Tesla must create spell out the troubling times that Tesla is currently facing. Perhaps now is the perfect time for Musk to present a new “masterplan”. Now is a moment when Tesla will either move forward or be destroyed, and it may be time for a reiteration of the company’s brand and market stance in its second decade.