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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

31 mins ago - Technology

Facebook changes corporate name to Meta

Screen shot of CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company's "Connect" virtual event

CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said the social media giant is renaming its company Meta.

Why it matters: The effort is meant to shift its image from a social media platform to a “metaverse” company that focuses on building virtual work and social communities.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Filings show Sweetgreen isn't profitable, despite claims

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Restaurant chain Sweetgreen on Monday filed to go public, and revealed that it lost money in each year since 2014.

Why it matters: The company lied when it repeatedly told reporters it was profitable.

U.S. border cities again see low violent crime rates

Expand chart
Data: FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Reported violent crime in the United States rose in 2020 for the first time in four years, but violent crime rates in 11 of the largest communities along the U.S.-Mexico border stayed below the national average, an Axios analysis found. 

Why it matters: Year after year, data showing low violent crime rates in majority-Mexican American and Mexican immigrant border communities dispels myths of the U.S.-Mexico border as a region filled with crime and chaos.