Updated May 3, 2018

Musk tells off analysts and says the Model 3 is on track

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Call him erratic: Tesla CEO Elon Musk eagerly told analysts he's on the right path, refused to answer questions he called "boring," and told off a broker whose clients, he said, can't tolerate market volatility.

Why it matters: By the time Tesla's first-quarter earnings call was over Wednesday evening, its share price had dropped by 4.5%.

Musk — under a cloud for production failings of his vaunted mainstream Model 3, along with a 22% plummet of Tesla's share price since September — is left with his old problem in place, and now a new one:

  • He's still not making enough Model 3s
  • And he has angered analysts responsible for rating his shares (here is the exchange).

Much of the market thinks that Musk will be forced in the second half of the year to raise cash to support Tesla's ramp-up. In the call, Musk reiterated that he has no such plans. But in the event the market is right, it won't help that he insulted a group of the folks who influence the success of equity sales.

Yet, Musk had a positive story to tell:

  • His Gigafactory in Nevada is producing 3,000 to 5,000 battery packs a week, a scale that will support his push to be producing 5,000 of the Model 3 electrics a week within the next couple of months.
  • Over the last three weeks, he accelerated the speed of battery pack production from seven hours to 17 minutes.
  • He has much-reduced the amount of expensive cobalt in his batteries, and "we think we can get the cobalt to almost nothing," he said. Technically, that would be a stunning achievement, since cobalt physically stabilizes the battery chemistry and, though researchers are trying, no one has discovered how to get so close to removing it for use in an electric car.
  • Producing of the Model Y crossover vehicle will begin in 2020.

In addition to his brusqueness toward the analysts, Musk lashed out at press coverage of a fatal March accident in California involving a Tesla Model S.

  • Musk said some press accounts had suggested that the Tesla was less safe than cars without autonomous capability, which he called "incredibly irresponsible." He added, "I'm really upset by that."

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Infections number tops 140,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now infected over 142,000 people in the U.S. — more than any other country in the world, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: COVID-19 had killed over 2,400 people in the U.S. by Sunday night. That's far fewer than in Italy, where over 10,000 people have died — accounting for a third of the global death toll. The number of people who've recovered from the virus in the U.S. exceeded 2,600 Sunday evening.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 721,584 — Total deaths: 33,958 — Total recoveries: 149,122.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 142,106 — Total deaths: 2,479 — Total recoveries: 2,686.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump says his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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World coronavirus updates: Cases surge past 720,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now more than 720,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 33,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.

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