Tesla plans to build another Gigafactory in the USA, possibly in Texas. Elon Musk indicated his considerations with a post on Twitter and US President Donald Trump had also hinted that Musk would build another factory in the USA.
On Wednesday, Musk had started a poll on the, which consisted merely of the words “Giga Texas? The possible answers are “Hell yeah” and “Nope”. For the Tesla boss, this “survey” almost amounts to an announcement, considering how reticent he was about the location of Gigafactory 4 in Brandenburg (until recently, several places in different countries were under public discussion).
Just last month, US President Donald Trump hinted that Musk could build a new factory in the USA. In an interview with CNBC Trump said he had spoken to Musk: “He’s going to be building a very big plant in the United States,” the US president recounted. “He has to because we help him, so he has to help us,” he added.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 5, 2020
Trump did not go into detail, nor did he explain how the US government had helped Tesla. The President obviously does not mean the tax rebates for electric vehicles running out at the end of the year whose extension he blocked, nor the lowering of pollution standards for cars.
Even if much remains unclear in the brief statements of Musk and Trump, the Tesla community is already delighted with the prospect of a Texas factory. One Twitter user even suggests calling the new site “Terafactory” because everything is bigger in Texas.
The rumours of another factory are also likely to drive Tesla share prices up further. The share price had already risen dramatically in recent weeks and is now even approaching the 1,000 dollar mark. Barely a month ago, Tesla shares still cost around 430 dollars.
Despite this phenomenal rise, shareholders have only minimally benefited from the rocketing prices: According to CNBC and other US news sources, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund sold most of its shares towards the end of the year. In the third quarter of 2019, the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) still held around 8.12 million shares, which corresponds to a share of 4.9 per cent. This would have been worth around seven billion dollars at the current price, had they not sold 99.5 per cent of their holdings in the fourth quarter of last year. At present PIF only has 39,000 shares left. The reasons for the quasi exit of the PIF are not known.
Moving forward not only on hardware but also on services, Tesla continues to plan a ridesharing service. Around the time of the publication of the Q4 earnings, Musk repeated the plan to build a “Tesla Network”. “I think it will probably make sense to enable car sharing in advance of the kind of robotaxi fleet because the car-sharing can be done before Full Self-Driving is approved by regulators. So it’s probably something that we would enable before a sort of robotaxi fleet is enabled,” Musk said in the conference call.
Musk and CFO Zack Kirkhorn also provided further details on the Tesla insurance policy that the company introduced in 2019. Currently, Tesla Insurance is only available in California, where it is up to 30 per cent cheaper than standard policies. The company is working on extending it to other locations, Kirkhorn said, although it would have to adhere to local regulatory processes. Musk added that the use of the Autopilot “on a larger scale” could further reduce insurance costs. But the two managers made no mention of a schedule for either the insurance rollout or the launch of Tesla Network.
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