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."

Go deeper

Trump signs bill to prevent government shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel and President Trump arrives at the U.S. Capitol in March. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Trump signed a bill to extend current levels of government funding after funding expired briefly, White House spokesperson Judd Deere confirmed early Thursday.

Why it matters: The move averts a government shutdown before the Nov. 3 election. The Senate on Wednesday passed the legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 84-10.

Of note: While the previous measure lapse before Trump signed the bill, the Office of Management and Budget had instructed federal agencies "to not engage in orderly shutdown activities," a senior administration official told the New York Times, because of the OMB was confident the president would sign the measure on Thursday.

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

Updated 38 mins ago - Science

In photos: Deadly wildfires devastate California's wine country

The Shady Fire ravages a home as it approaches Santa Rosa in Napa County, California, on Sept. 28. The blaze is part of the massive Glass Fire Complex, which has razed over 51,620 acres at 2% containment. Photo: Samuel Corum/Agence France-Presse/AFP via Getty Images

More than 1700 firefighters are battling 26 major blazes across California, including in the heart of the wine country, where one mega-blaze claimed the lives of three people and forced thousands of others to evacuate this week.

The big picture: More than 8,100 wildfires have burned across a record 39 million-plus acres, killing 29 people and razing almost 7,900 structures in California this year, per Cal Fire. Just like the deadly blazes of 2017, the wine country has become a wildfires epicenter. Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma, and Shasta counties.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 33,880,896 — Total deaths: 1,012,964 — Total recoveries: 23,551,663Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 7,232,823 — Total deaths: 206,887 — Total recoveries: 2,840,688 — Total tests: 103,939,667Map.
  3. Education: School-aged children now make up 10% of all U.S COVID-19 cases.
  4. Health: Moderna says its coronavirus vaccine won't be ready until 2021
  5. Travel: CDC: 3,689 COVID-19 or coronavirus-like cases found on cruise ships in U.S. waters — Airlines begin mass layoffs while clinging to hope for federal aid
  6. Business: Real-time data show economy's rebound slowing but still going.
  7. Sports: Steelers-Titans NFL game delayed after coronavirus outbreak.