2013 Tesla Model S on Chilcotin Highway, Canada [photo: owner Vincent Argiro]Enlarge Photo
Tesla Motors held its annual shareholder meeting yesterday afternoon, and as always, a few nuggets of news emerged from CEO Elon Musk.
You can read a complete transcript here, but here are some quick bullet points on items that struck us as newsworthy:
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk at Tesla Store opening in Westfield Mall, London, Oct 2013Enlarge Photo
- Tesla electric cars have now covered 344 million miles, and despite some serious crashes, no one has been killed in a Tesla accident
- Tesla has more than 100 Supercharger DC fast-charging locations in operation today, and expects that number to double by the end of 2014
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- Software updates that will roll out later this year will, according to Musk, let a Model S "[learn] your behavior and just automatically [adjust] to what you want," specifically including things like "traffic-based directions, and calendar integration, and anticipating where you are going--alerting you if there is traffic along the way and an alternate route may be better--and that kind of thing"
- The traffic information will come from "cars operating collaboratively as a network, sort of a cloud sourced intelligence as to the traffic information," and the quality of that information will improve the more Teslas there are in a given area
- The underbody shields built into all Model S cars assembled from March onwards, and offered as a free retrofit to any owner who wants them, "aren't really necessary, but sort of...will be helpful, so that you can drive over concrete block and be okay," in Musk's words
Tesla Model S added battery shield - front deflector from front, looking toward rear of carEnlarge Photo
- Tesla Motors continues to be constrained by production capacity, with its supply of lithium-ion battery cells the major limiting factor
- That will improve steadily over the next year, and the company will continue ramping up production as it does
- Tesla expects the average price of a Model S purchase to fall slightly, from more than $100,000 now to roughly $95,000
- The first right-hand-drive Tesla Model S cars will be delivered in London this weekend, and Musk plans to be there for that event
- As for the Gigafactory, Tesla is "getting quite advanced in the planning" and continues to anticipate a 30-percent cost reduction for lithium-ion cells built there--a number that, Musk said, its cell partner Panasonic is now comfortable with
- However, while the company had expected to break ground on a first Gigafactory site this month, site selection and groundbreaking will not happen until the end of this year, Musk said
- Musk also suggests that Tesla will begin preparatory work on multiple sites in "two or maybe three states, all the way to creating a foundation and creating the plans and getting approval"--with the final choice of the first factory coming by the end of 2014