Elon Musk, the co-founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, is very passionate about the electric vehicle company he runs. If ever there was any doubt, it was erased yesterday during the yesterday's shareholder meeting.
Now, this California upstart does many things differently than traditional automakers. For instance, unlike its competitors, it streams these events live, allowing anyone with an internet connection to view the goings on. And, unlike most shareholder meetings, they can actually be interesting to watch. Perhaps that's because the formal business portion is generally very brief, and the affair typically consists of Mr. Musk giving a relaxed presentation about the company's present position and future outlook, then taking a good number of questions from the stakeholders on hand. Considering the share price has rocketed from around $33.00 in January to as high as $114.90 recently (it's currently at about $95), this time he faced a rather amiable audience.
While there wasn't a lot of new information for those who follow Tesla closely – he reiterated that the Gen III Tesla will be in the $30,000 range (our take: expect the pre-tax incentive price to be north of $35,000) and likely offer more than 200 miles of range with the smallest battery option – Musk did give a rather large hint about what is planned for the fifth installment in its Adamsian announcement trilogy.
"There is a way for the Tesla Model S to be recharged throughout the country faster than you could fill a gas tank."
Scroll down below for more analysis and to watch the entire meeting on video.
Apparently, on June 20th he intends to back up a tweeted claim that "There is a way for the Tesla Model S to be recharged throughout the country faster than you could fill a gas tank." This will involve a live demonstration that should, at the very least, be impressive if it's as quick as he alluded. The company's charging technology was recently upgraded so that, not only can it now pump out the electrons at 120 kilowatts, it continues at that rate longer before needing to taper off the flow to avoid damaging the lithium ion cells. Whether it can top off a Tesla faster than a traditionally-powered vehicle can fill its gas tank remains to be seen.
Also regarding the Tesla Supercharger network , he embraced the idea of opening it up to other manufacturer's vehicles. There would have to be some cost sharing, he stated, so that the experience would still keep the free and easy approach for all users. Contrary to what some have claimed, he denied the network is meant to be a "walled garden". Such a collaboration could be a huge step forward for electric vehicle adoption, as today's so-called "fast chargers" can only operate at about a 50 kW rate.
Perhaps the most poignant point in the presentation came when Musk responded to a question about the efforts of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and several state dealer associations to deny Tesla from using its direct sales approach. He became quite emotional, and tears seemed to well up as he decried the dealers associations gloating about their recent legislative victories. He voice wavered as he declared, "I think it's outrageous that they would crow about a perversion of democracy, that's just wrong."
It was really quite a moment. You can see it for yourself (around the 49-minute mark) along with the rest of a refreshing presentation by clicking on the video below.