Musk says Tesla to be driven by energy storage, fully self-driving when China firms are highly competitive
Jan.25,2024

Asia Tech Wire (Jan 25) -- Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk said Wednesday that the automaker will be driven by energy storage and fully self-driving at a time when Chinese firms are highly competitive.

In a conference call for Tesla's fourth-quarter and full year 2023 financial results, Musk summarised and looked ahead to the company's work. He said the Tesla team did a great job in 2023, achieving record production of more than 2 million units, in line with expectations.

With more than 1.2 million units sold, the Tesla Model Y became one of the best-selling vehicles of all categories in 2023 globally, as well as the best-selling vehicle of the year in the U.S.

Tesla's energy storage business is strong and will continue to grow, with the business unit delivering nearly 15 gigawatt-hours of batteries in 2023, up from just 6.5 gigawatt-hours the year before.

Despite reporting record R&D and capital expenditures, Tesla's free cash flow remained strong in 2023 at $4.4 billion, Musk said. Looking ahead to 2024 and beyond, the automaker will see its major growth driven by energy storage, and possibly fully self-driving.

Tesla has released vision-based Full Self-Driving (FSD) v12 software update, replacing 330,000 lines of code with neural networks, but it's currently only available to employees and a handful of customers, which will be available to all U.S. users who request it, potentially more than 400,000 in the coming weeks.

Musk said on the conference call that Tesla is probably the most efficient company in the world for AI inference.

In terms of the next generation of affordable electric cars, Musk said Tesla has made a lot of progress and could bring them into production by 2025. The top production location for the cars is the gigafactory and headquarters in Austin, Texas, with a second set for Mexico.

Musk concluded that Tesla is taking an easy shortcut down a very tough road and could one day become the most valuable company in the world.

During the question-and-answer session on the conference call, in response to a question involving humanoid robots, Musk said that their potential far exceeds the value of all of Tesla's other products combined. Meanwhile, Tesla's vision technology in car design translates well to humanoid robots, since a car is a robot with wheels.

Musk claimed that he hopes to change people's perception of Tesla not only as a car company, but also as an AI robotics company.

When talking about Chinese electric car competitors, Musk said that Chinese car companies are the most competitive in the world and will achieve extraordinary success outside of China.

"If there are no trade barriers established, they will pretty much demolish most other car companies in the world," he said. "They're extremely good."

Musk's comments came just as China's BYD overtook Tesla as the world's best-selling electric car company in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Musk also said that he is very happy to offer a supercharging network to any electric car company as well as licensing FSDs, which can help advance the sustainable energy revolution.

When it comes to artificial intelligence, Musk is very confident, claiming that once the AI chips in thousands of Tesla vehicles are working at the same time, Tesla will have more computing power in the future than all other companies combined.

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