Tesla’s 2023 Investor Day disappoints

Since 2003, electric vehicle (EV) company Tesla has earned a reputation as an innovative and progressive brand.

Tesla’s 2023 Investor Day disappoints
Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk speaks onstage during a delivery event for Tesla China-made Model 3 cars at its factory in Shanghai, China January 7, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

The backstory: Since 2003, electric vehicle (EV) company Tesla has earned a reputation as an innovative and progressive brand. But, recently, it’s on shaky ground. As other companies adopt electric and hybrid car tech into more affordable vehicles, Tesla’s own EV sales could stumble. On top of that, there’s the Elon Musk issue. Joining the company in 2004 (no, he’s not the founder), CEO Musk brought his reputation with him and definitely made Tesla his own. Some say he’s a genius; others say he’s an idiot. And he’s more controversial than ever now that he’s bought Twitter and started making major changes to the platform.

More recently: A few months ago, Tesla announced its Investor Day for 2023. People have been anticipating the company’s next-gen EV platform, among other plans keeping investors interested. Tesla’s backers hoped to see the company unveil its newest US$25,000 model – which Musk has been hinting about. With Teslas usually costing between US$40,000 and US$120,000, this model would make Teslas more affordable and open up the brand’s market.

The development: On Wednesday, Tesla hosted its 2023 Investor Day. But the reactions are that the event was mostly hype. There were a few pieces of key news announced – Tesla confirmed its new factory in Mexico that will be important for its next-gen platform. But there wasn’t any timeline revealed for that project. And Tesla’s engineers and scientists shared info about how new models will be designed to save on production costs. But no new model was unveiled.

Apart from that, there was more talk about transitioning to a sustainable future by powering the grid with renewable energy, boosting EV use and cutting mineral extraction. This plan isn’t just about cars but the whole energy system. So, the event ended up being more big picture than anticipated, and Tesla’s stock dropped afterward, with the company erasing US$50 million from its market value.

Key comments:

"Today is not just for investors of Tesla, but anyone who is an investor in Earth," Musk said at the event. "Earth can and will move to sustainable energy, and it will do so in your lifetime."

"If you listen to any of the earnings calls of Tesla you would have already known 99.9% of this stuff. The details were all regurgitated," Kevin Paffrath, a money manager, said on his YouTube channel after the event. "Did we really learn anything here? No. This was a boring waste of time."

"Tesla had a very, very strong year," said Vince Palomarez of S&P Global Mobility. "They have produced a product that is attractive to a consumer ... They lowered their price. They're also getting access to the [EV] tax credit again."