The meteoric rise of Tesla’s stock has been one of the market’s top stories of 2020, highlighting a voracious appetite for high-growth companies that could benefit from a shift away from fossil fuels.
But for Tesla to maintain its edge in the increasingly competitive world of electric vehicle production, it will need to keep innovating. Enter Battery Day.
CEO Elon Musk has teased major announcements that could be unveiled the company’s flashy battery summit on Tuesday.
Any changes to battery efficiency, the cost of production or Tesla’s supply chain could be hugely significant for the company, given the importance of batteries in electric vehicle manufacturing and performance.
“Batteries are the hearts and lungs of the Tesla story,” Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives told me.
Ives said that Wall Street is looking for Tesla to start producing more proprietary battery technology so they can “own more of their ecosystem.”
Musk attempted to tamp down expectations on Monday, tweeting that “what we announce will not reach serious high-volume production until 2022.”
He added that the company will not reduce battery purchases from suppliers like Panasonic and LG, given that there could be “significant” battery shortages even with partners going at full speed. Tesla shares fell 4% in premarket trading.
But anticipation is still high. Tesla is the most valuable car company in the world, even though it produces a fraction of the vehicles churned out by other automakers. (In a recent email to employees, Musk said the company was on the verge of a record quarter for car sales. Its all-time high was the 112,000 cars it delivered to customers in the fourth quarter of last year.)
As competition heats up, Tesla benefits from having had a head start, according to Gene Munster of Loup Ventures. Through the first half of 2020, Tesla had roughly 80% of the US market for electric vehicles, as well as a 15% market share in Europe and 20% in China.
But it has target on its back. GM, which has pledged to spend more than $3 billion annually through 2025 to fund electric vehicle research and development, unveiled a competitive battery in March, while companies like Volkswagen are preparing to flood the market with EV models.