Electric-car maker Tesla Motors' (NASDAQ:TSLA) second-quarter financial results were underwhelming, if not disappointing. As the company doubles down on its longer-term growth ambitions while simultaneously falling short on its near-term goals, both Tesla's words and its actions are sending investors a mixed message. Despite Tesla's recent execution challenges, its second-quarter earnings call was sure to bring some more wild, future-focused talk.
Here's what Tesla CEO Elon Musk had to say in the company's recent earnings conference call about some of the company's future product plans. Take them with a grain of salt.
Autonomous Tesla vehicles
In Tesla's recent update to its Master Plan, the company revealed that it's working on eventually launching a ride-hailing service made up of fully autonomous vehicles. Owners will be able to deploy their vehicles into the fleet when they are not using them and earn extra cash, the plan said. Knowledge of Tesla's plans for an autonomous ride-hailing fleet pushed analysts during Tesla's second-quarter results to inquire about how fast the company anticipates achieving full autonomy.
"[F]ull autonomy is going to come a hell a lot faster than anyone thinks it will," he said. "And I think what we've got under development is going to blow people's minds. It blows my mind, so."
Next-gen energy storage
Currently, Tesla offers its Powerwall and Powerpack energy storage products for residential and commercial customers. With the company making its first foray into energy storage in May 2015, the new Tesla segment is still in its early stages. Currently, energy storage likely represents less than 2% of Tesla's revenue -- and the company is still production-constrained as it is working on streamlining energy storage manufacturing.
But Tesla's energy storage segment is about to see a huge boost, according to Musk. A "next generation of stationary storage," which he believes will trump all competition, will soon be unveiled. "[I]t's a going to be head and shoulders above any company that -- it's better than anything I've heard anyone even announce that they will do in the future, and we will do it in the present."
Demand for Tesla's Model 3, or the company's lowest-cost vehicle yet, shocked everyone. The company garnered 373,000 deposit-backed reservations for the vehicle in just over two weeks after it was first unveiled. With Tesla planning to begin the new vehicle's deliveries in late 2017, Tesla expects Model 3 will help it ramp deliveries from around 80,000 units during this year to about 500,000 units during 2018.
Despite what a significant -- and borderline unbelievable -- jump in production and demand this implies, Tesla believes it can duplicate this blockbuster level of demand with its next vehicle launch: Model Y.
[T]he priority vehicle development after the Model 3 would be the Model Y, I guess, the compact SUV because that's also a car that where we expect to see demand in the 500,000 to 1 million units per year level. So it's the obvious priority after Model 3.
Tesla has said Model Y will be the company's next lower-cost vehicle. It will likely be priced slightly higher than the Model 3, which has a starting price of $35,000.
No matter how interesting these quotes may seem, Tesla investors should still file them as speculative. Given how far into the future some of these product plans are, it's important to view them in the light of the obvious risks associated with future plans. Tesla could face production, capital, and even design hurdles as it works on bringing next-generation autonomous vehicles, energy storage, and the Model Y to market.