Elon Musk is under duress this week–though, he wouldn’t say that. Musk’s reaction to media critics of the latest Tesla earnings call paint a concerning picture.
Here at Edgy Labs, we stay abreast to all of the latest Elon Musk News we can.
After news in late April of Tesla shareholders wanting to oust Elon Musk as Chairman, May has brought more spring storms for our favorite futurist.
While some fear that Musk’s rejection of media questions is a sign of declining potential, Musk spent this week defending his most recent media outbursts, saying that he was being provoked by short-sell analysts looking to undermine Tesla stock.
What’s the deal with things suddenly turning sour for Elon Musk’s future vision?
Self-Driving Controversy and Public Criticisms
Elon Musk has a history of criticizing the media, so his latest outburst comes as no surprise. Perhaps Musk is agitated after the death of a Tesla driver using autopilot sparked negative press about the vehicle’s safety.
In Tesla’s most recent earnings call, analysts asked pointed questions about the Model 3. As many reading this know, Tesla was not able to meet the production schedule. But Musk did not see fit to address this issue, telling one analyst: “Excuse me. Next. Boring bonehead questions are not cool”.
Musk insisted, despite stock losses, that the company would become profitable later this year.
Anheuser-Busch Supports Company Suing Tesla
Budweiser has been busy lately. Locally for us, the company recently purchased the decent-sized Houston brewery Karbach.
Budweiser is also going to make a massive shift towards electric freight. However, they’re not working with Tesla.
In fact, they bought 800 zero-emission, hydrogen-electric semi-trucks from Nikola Motor Company. This truck claims to have a 500 to 1,000-mile range with a leasing program starting around $5,000 USD per month.
This stands in stark contrast to the Tesla Semi, an electric truck that only has a 300-mile range and costs $150,000 to buy outright. But that isn’t where this electric, non-emission Elon Musk News train stops.
Nikola Motor Company is suing Tesla for allegedly copying their semi-truck design. In that same earnings call from earlier, Musk called the $2-billion USD lawsuit “laughable” and “absurd”.
But the Tesla Earnings Call News Ain’t all bad
Musk hasn’t been fazed by people naysaying his approaches and methods. Instead, he has stuck to his guns.
The Tesla Model 3 is selling well, performing well overall, and, according to Musk, even if Tesla sold more models, it would take them 2 years at 5k cars produced per week to meet current demand.
La la lahttps://t.co/rLQfmrcNO2
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 2, 2018
Musk also went further this morning explaining why he was so dismissive during the Tesla earnings call. He took to Twitter to explain his reasoning for calling certain questions absurd or bone-headed.
Musk described the short seller vs. investor mindset as what irked him most. He argued that Sanford Bernstein’s Toni Sacconaghi and RBC’s Joseph Spak can’t be true investors based on the questions they asked.
The reason the Bernstein question about CapEx was boneheaded was that it had already been answered in the headline of the Q1 newsletter he received beforehand, along with details in the body of the letter
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 4, 2018
However, CNBC indicated that Sacconaghi and Spak both have hold ratings on Tesla which suggests that they actually are in a long-seller position.
We’ve seen Musk get flustered with questions he deems “bonehead” before, and that didn’t stop him from creating the most successful private space company in the world.
Only time will tell if this scuffle between Musk and the media actually indicates a downturn in Musk’s business.