FSD Beta numbers and everything else revealed at Tesla's Q2 earnings call

By Dan Burkland
Tesla produces its 2 millionth vehicle at Fremont/Nevada
Tesla produces its 2 millionth vehicle at Fremont/Nevada
Tesla

Yesterday Tesla held its second quarter earnings call. Although Elon Musk has previously said he wouldn't be on earnings calls in the future, he did make this one.

As with previous earnings calls, plenty of data and statistics were revealed relating to production, future products, and FSD Beta.

Below is a recap of the entire event, including the Q&A session. The recap was originally posted to dburkland.com.

You can also listen to the earnings call below. The call begins at the 11 minute mark.

Opening remarks from Elon Musk

  • Unique quarter for Tesla due to Shanghai shutdown
  • Production records achieved in Fremont & Shanghai
  • Set up nicely for record breaking 2nd half of 2022
  • Past years have thrown several force majeure at Tesla yet the team continues to overcome
  • Giga Berlin Production Ramp continues with 1000 cars / week in June, Giga Austin to follow with the same number in the next few months
  • Still making cars w/ 2170 cells in parallel and important to note they aren’t dependent on 4680s and will still hit their production numbers 
  • FSD Beta deployed to over 100,000 owners
  • 5-6 years ago they set out to be the best manufacturer in the world
    • Pro-manufacturing mindset has given them a competitive edge
  • Currently make the largest castings in the world
  • As a result of improved manufacturing processes in Berlin & Texas, Tesla has reduced body welding robot count by 70% per unit of capacity
    • Body shop is roughly 3x smaller as it would be otherwise
    • New vehicle bodies are lighter, cheaper, and quieter thanks to reduction in NVH
    • Another level of simplicity and improvements are coming with Cybertruck (as well as future products coming down the road)
  • Intelligent seat belt tensioning based on vision system recently released, first in the industry to do this
    • Can also adjust the airbag deployment as well
    • Delivered via OTA update
    • Will have profound impact on passenger safety
    • Compatible for all HW3-equipped Teslas
  • Cybertruck
    • Production still expected to start middle of 2023
    • “Best product ever” -Elon
  • FSD Beta
    • Planned to be released to all North American customers by end of 2022
    • FSD will then be released to other geos such as Asia and EU soon after pending regulatory approval

Opening remarks from Zach Kirkhorn

  • Made substantial progress in almost every area of the business
  • New production records reached in existing factories and new ones actively ramping
  • Highest solar production volumes in years
  • Temporary shutdown had noticeable impact to vehicle margin
    • Factory ramping also associated with negative impact on vehicle margin
  • Inflation, commodities, and logistics continue to be headwinds
  • Resource constrained on Powerwall and Megapack which should be resolved in the 2nd half of 2022
  • Austin & Berlin operating costs are going down as production ramps up
  • Tesla sold 75% of Bitcoin holdings 
    • They did so as they were uncertain when COVID lockdowns in China would end
    • As a result they wanted to maximize cash position
    • They are still interested in Bitcoin and have not yet sold any Dogecoin
  • Highest operating margins ever at 14.6%
  • Still targeting 50% of growth and still within reach

Q&A

  • Chinese EV Manufacturers & Software Innovation
    • Elon believes Tesla China is the best EV manufacturer in China
    • Chinese car companies will be a force to be reckoned with going forward
    • Tesla has respect for Chinese automakers but believes they have whats necessary to compete
  • Unified Vector Space
    • Unified Vector Space would be if instead of knitting together dynamic & static objects w/ C++ you knit them together at the NN level (meaning you no longer need to reconcile them in C++ heuristics)
    • Architecturally better way
    • Slight improvement in efficiency of FSD stack and something they want to get to
    • Nirvana situation would be to have surround video auto labeling for all static & dynamic objects as well as surround video inference w/ spacial memory
    • Elon believes they have a unified vector space by the end of 2022
    • Elon is also very confident that Tesla will improve the frame rate as they delete legacy NNs and further optimize the FSD software stack
    • The goal is to get FSD Beta to operate at 36fps for all 8 cameras compared to the current 24 frames which will reduce latency when reacting to a dynamic environment
  • Inflation & Future Price Reductions
    • They do not control so therefore Elon says take w/ grain salt but thinks inflation to decrease by end of 2022
    • Carbon, steel, aluminum, etc are trending down in cost which should see impact later in 2022, early 2023
    • Processing of lithium is insanely costly
    • Elon again encouraging entrepreneurs to enter the lithium business as there are, “software margins”
    • “License to print money” -Elon
  • Bitcoin
    • Cryptocurrency is not something Tesla thinks about a lot according to Elon
    • Main goal is production and addressing climate change by making sustainable energy & transport a reality
  • 4680s
    • Structural pack is a monumental step forward from a physics perspective and is the way to go
    • Gained perspective through entering production w/ structural pack Teslas which proved their hypotheses
    • Cost improvements are thanks to solving technical issues and scale
    • They have saved 4-5kg in mass from the early cast Model Y underbodies since their initial production
    • Plan is to reduce mass of castings and to include more parts (and to adapt vehicle to work better with castings)
    • Cybertruck will be another big step in this area
    • Making progress on 4680 production ramp but continuing to leverage supplier cells (2170s) to ramp Giga Berlin & Texas
    • Total production ramp of 4680 packs to 1000 per week by end of the year (preferably earlier)
    • Q2 @ Kato fully automated powder conveyance for the dry anode electrode tool there unlocking major improvements in production & yields too
    • Production as a result has increased 35% MoM since March and yields throughout factory are already at targets or trending towards them
    • Took learnings from Fremont cell & pack lines and built optimized lines in Giga Berlin & Texas
    • Cell design was revved to unlock higher performance and manufacturing simplicity
    • Lines were fully integrated and insourced additional content
    • As a result new challenges for ramping in Giga Berlin & Texas
    • Last quarter cell equipment was fully installed at Giga Texas and they have since produced their first commissioning car sets of 4680s cells
    • The target for Texas is to begin mass producing 4680 cells in Q3 2022 with the goal of being able to exceed the weekly cell production capacity of the Kato battery plant by end of 2022
    • Priority with 4680s initially is simplicity and scale, Tesla was not aiming to include all of the bells & whistles right off the bat
    • As manufacturing goals are achieved they plan to layer in new material technologies into their structural packs (and increase range as well)
    • Currently in regards to 4680s Tesla’s main focus is to remove low hanging issues that would prevent further production ramp
    • Dry electrode anode & cathode are included in the current 4680 process which makes things harder to ramp (yet they continue to achieve success here)
    • Once mass production achieved they plan to quickly iterate w/ an increase in energy density and overall performance soon thereafter
    • Tesla cell production will continue to compliment production volumes from suppliers
    • Fundamental rate limiter for transition to sustainable energy is rate of li-ion battery pack production
      • Not due to scarcity of raw materials, refining lithium in ultra high purity is quite difficult and requires massive amounts of machinery
      • Super difficult to create anode and cathode
      • Elon believes 2/3 of batteries in the future will be iron phosphate, maybe some with manganese
      • Tesla is actively working with suppliers to ramp as quick as possible
    • Tesla is taking action by building their own Cathode plant at Giga Texas as well as taking the plunge into lithium refinement
  • FSD Development Progress & Andrej Departure
    • While Andrej Karpathy will be missed (recent departure), Elon remains very bullish on current team of 120 people in software / AI group and believes that they will solve FSD by end of 2022
    • No major setbacks or delays in FSD timeline should occur as a result of Andrej’s departure
    • Elon believes they will raise FSD price just before they go to wide beta (targeted for end of 2022)
    • Value of FSD is extremely high and not well understood by most people, Elon thinks its ridiculously cheap if promises of performance materialize
  • Semiconductor Supply Chain Constraints
    • Tesla procures about 1600 unique pieces of silicon from 43 different companies
    • Supply chains are more stable w/ latest generation of chips
    • Chips from the analog & mixed signaling space still remain a challenge from a supply chain perspective
    • Supply chain line of sight continues to match planned outputs for both factories (no constraints)
    • Long term contracts already in place for key battery materials and so there are no concerns about future constraints
    • Tesla does not plan to manufacture their own chips however they continue to work with suppliers to ensure future product goals are achieved
    • Chip shortage forced Teslas to delete redundant chips and update software accordingly (big positive in hindsight)
  • Cybertruck
    • Deliveries to begin by the middle of 2023
  • Vehicle Demand
    • Vehicle demand not an issue for Tesla for the foreseeable future
    • No sizable macro impact on demand
    • Difference between value in money and affordability and why you can’t just keep increasing prices
    • Elon feels that they have raised prices to “frankly embarrassing levels”
      • Supply chain and inflation are main culprits for price increases
      • Elon is hopeful Tesla can reduce prices soon
    • Elon thinks its achievable to produce 40,000 vehicles per week by end of 2022
      • Teslas has already produced 30,000 vehicles per week many times, 40,000 vehicles per week is definitely in reach
      • Plan is to get Giga Berlin & Texas to ramp to 5,000 vehicles per week by end of 2022 and 10,000 vehicles per week by end of 2023
    • Elon reaffirms that Tesla does not have a demand problem but instead a production problem
  • Elon’s Role At Tesla
    • If there is only good news Elon won’t plan to join the future earnings calls
    • Elon is committed to working at Tesla as long as he can continue to help advance the company
  • AI
    • Elon didn’t want to steal thunder from AI day so he will save the news / updates regarding Dojo & Optimus for then

You can follow Dan Burkland on Twitter at @DBurkland.

Why Tesla Doesn't Need a Public Relations Department

By Kevin Armstrong
Does Tesla need a PR department?
Does Tesla need a PR department?
Tesla

Tesla is a regular in the news cycle; if it's not about the vehicle, it's about the CEO. It's no secret Tesla stock is down, and investors who are long on the stock have lost a considerable amount over the past month. One of those investors is Gary Black, the Future Fund managing partner, who said in August that Tesla is the fund's largest position. Black is calling on Tesla to hire a public relations department to inform the media and the public of the positives around the brand.

Oddly enough, at the shareholders' event in August, Black said, "the thing we worry about most is not PR; it's succession." Now it seems that is what Black is worried about. He recently tweeted: People can't complain about the media if TSLA refuses to correct articles that are wrong, or worse, won't maintain relationships with TSLA beat reporters and editors so they can get TSLA's POV out when needed. Strong PR will be needed to sell FSD safety. Think long-term.

Black's stance may be understandable to some, especially those who have watched their trading account shrink, but it's implausible because Tesla doesn't need a PR department.

Musk and the Mainstream Media Don't Mix

Musk is currently using his new company to hold mainstream media accountable. In case you missed it, he's releasing the Twitter Files, a detailed report backed up with real emails to show suppression of true stories.

The Tesla CEO also regularly calls out media outlets for false stories, misleading headlines and biased reporting. Musk will not hire a team to try to steer newsrooms, something he has so little respect for, and it's unlikely legacy media outlets will listen.

Media Biased Against Tesla

Bad news generates more views and clicks and keeps the advertisers paying. Even when the news isn't bad, take, for example, a recent Reliability Report by Consumer Reports. Most, if not all, mainstream media declared Tesla as the terrible one, even though Tesla moved up four spots from the previous year. It was hard to find a mention of the manufacturers that scored less. Those included Chevrolet, GMC, Volkswagen, Jeep, and Mercedes Benz. Yes, the expensive luxury brand was dead last in reliability. That is a story.

Reporters also picked up that electric vehicles scored low for reliability. Consumer Reports said it was because EVs are new on the market. However, scoring even lower were full-sized pickups. Those have been on the market for quite a bit longer.

Tesla, which also has not spent a dime on advertising, disbanded its public relations department in 2020. That's unheard of by a company its size, especially in the automotive sector. However, Tesla and Elon have something much better — you are reading it right now. Not a Tesla App is one of several blog sites that publish news about Tesla daily. Many of these websites have writers who own Teslas. The stories are much more accurate, positive and just plain better than anything readers will find in the mainstream. Who says bias must be negative?

Word of Mouth Advertising

Now add hundreds, maybe even thousands of loyal enthusiasts who defend and promote Tesla on social media platforms. Next, throw into the mix the hundreds of thousands of Tesla owners who quite often are spokespeople for the company whenever they get out of the car. I've been sure to add 10 minutes of travel time to my drives because I'm likely to get asked some questions at the grocery store or car wash.

This kind of advertising money cannot buy, and it's the kind of positive publicity media will not share. So while Black's concerns are legitimate, a PR department is not the solution. Instead, Tesla needs to keep doing what it's been doing and let the product, its fans and the Tesla-inspired websites do the rest.

More About Tesla’s WiFi Garage Door Support, Its Cost and Features

By Nuno Cristovao
How MyQ will be integrated in Tesla vehicles
How MyQ will be integrated in Tesla vehicles
MyQ

Tesla is getting ready to introduce WiFi garage door support to their vehicles through MyQ.

Since our article yesterday additional details have emerged about how MyQ will operate, which vehicles will be supported and whether there will be a cost to use the service. This information is based on a page that appeared briefly on MyQ's website but has since been removed.

Vehicles Supported

MyQ's website stated that support for their garage door openers would be coming to the Model 3 and Model Y. While this makes a lot of sense because those vehicles don't include a HomeLink module, we'd be surprised if Tesla didn't also add support for the Model S and Model X.

Cost

Let's get cost out of the way. Although MyQ does not charge a fee today to remotely open and close their garage doors, they do plan on charging a fee to use their devices in vehicles. This could be looked at similarly to how some services are free to use on a PC but require a subscription to use on your mobile phone.

The price posted on MyQ's website was a five-year plan for $179, which is still cheaper than Tesla's $350 installation cost for HomeLink.

Unfortunately, this removes a big benefit we thought MyQ would have over buying a HomeLink module for the Model 3 or Model Y. For Model S and Model X owners who already have HomeLink included in their vehicles, it may not make as much sense.

However, MyQ does provide some advantages over HomeLink.

Integration

The good news is that MyQ integration will be very similar to HomeLink, and better in some ways. What appears to be a rendering of the feature working in a Tesla was also posted to their website which shows off a screen very similar to HomeLink.

On the MyQ settings screen, you'll have a list of supported devices on the left side, such as garage doors, gates and possibly lights, but we haven't see any evidence of the latter yet.

On the right side, you'll see options pertaining to the device selected, such as its current state, whether the garage door should auto-open or close and the distance when the device should be triggered.

You'll also be able to have the vehicle fold in its mirrors when reaching the target location.

If you've used HomeLink, this should all look very familiar since it's almost exactly the same. However, there are a couple of differences that give the advantage to MyQ.

The first is that MyQ is a smarter system and it knows the state of your garage door. So if you're arriving home and the garage door is already open, it won't try to close it on you.

The other advantage is distance. Since MyQ works over the internet you'll be able to trigger the garage door or gate from further down the driveway, giving the door plenty of time to fully open before you arrive.

MyQ supports an array of devices, but it waits to be seen whether there will be support for these additional devices such as lights and door locks.

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Although we share official Tesla release notes, we are not affiliated with Tesla Motors. We are Tesla fans and supporters.

Tesla News

Upcoming Release

View the release notes for the upcoming version 2022.44.2.

Confirmed by Elon

Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.

Subscribe

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