Tesla announced Wednesday that it plans to cut the cost of its next generation of vehicles in half, largely by using innovative manufacturing techniques and smaller factories. CEO Elon Musk and other executives outlined the goals during a 3 1/2-hour investor day presentation at Tesla’s Austin, Texas, headquarters as they presented the company’s third master plan. The changes could bring the cost of a new generation of vehicles to around $25,000.
Many investors were hoping to catch a glimpse of the next generation of vehicles, but Musk said it wouldn’t be shown until a proper product unveiling. “We’d be jumping the gun if we answer your question,” about the new vehicles, he told an analyst. Shares of Tesla fell nearly 6% in after-hours trading during the presentation that ended just after 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Musk announced that Tesla plans to build a new factory in Mexico near Monterrey. He said it will not take production from any other factories, where Tesla expects to expand production. Company executives said the Mexican plant would build the next generation of vehicle, which also will be built at other factories.
Franz Von Holzhausen, Tesla’s design chief, said the company has to make another sharp reduction in costs in order to reach its ambitious electric-vehicle production target of 20 million vehicles per year. Tesla expects to manufacture 1.8 million this year. The company, he said, will build the cars in smaller modular units, then bring those units together. The system uses less space. Executives said as a result, its next electric powertrain factory will be half the size of the one Tesla just built in Austin, costing 65% less. “That also means we can build more factories at the same time,” said Tom Zhu, who leads Tesla manufacturing.
Chief Financial Officer Zachary Kirkhorn said the company cut costs in half between the early Models S and X and the second generation, Models 3 and Y. It’s planning to do that again for the next generation, but also will improve the cars at the same time, he said. “As we improve affordability, the number of customers who have access to our products increases,” he said.
Musk said demand for Tesla vehicles is large, but many who want one now can’t afford it. Executives said Tesla is unique from other automakers because all the people involved in vehicle design and manufacturing are in the same room. The company also designs and makes many of its parts and software while others rely on tiers of parts supply companies.
The company also said it has opened 10 of its supercharger stations to owners of other electric vehicles as of Wednesday. And it plans to offer a package of unlimited home charging for $30 per month in Texas using wind as the power source. Kirkhorn said the new master plan includes product advances, rapid volume growth and technology advancement.