Tesla (TSLA -4.23%), the electric-vehicle (EV) kingpin, is understandably best known for its EVs. In today's news, however, the company's stock is inching up a modest 1.9% in 1:50 p.m. EDT trading for reasons that have little to do with EVs.
Let's begin with the bad news. As multiple news outlets have now reported, Tesla's giant Australian battery venture -- the "Victorian Big Battery" that provides backup electricity to Victoria state in Australia -- caught fire early Friday, local time. Or rather, one of the Tesla "megapack" batteries making up the power warehouse did.
No one was injured in the blaze, and its cause is unknown. Nevertheless, the incident represents at least a minor setback for Tesla, which has been working to make battery electricity storage a bigger part of its business.
At the same time, there's good news in addition to the bad. In a cryptic tweet Wednesday, which the media picked up late Thursday, Elon Musk announced that Tesla would hold an "AI [artificial intelligence] Day" on Aug. 19.
Tesla AI Day August 19th— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 29, 2021
It's worth pointing out that Musk didn't bother to explain in his tweet what precisely an "AI Day" is. Presumably, it refers back to a tweet mid-last-month promising to "go over progress with Tesla AI software & hardware, both training & inference."
But even in the absence of a clear explanation of what AI Day is, Musk's tweet sparked some 15,000-plus comments on Twitter, and nearly as many retweets. As usual, most were Dogecoin memes, leavened with a few questions about SpaceX -- but at least a few Musk devotees thought to ask whether Tesla's AI revelations might extend beyond Tesla, per se, to address other AI products that Musk has up his sleeve.
Will you go over examples of real-world AI applications (other than cars/trucks) which Tesla may get involved in?— Emmet Peppers (@EmmetPeppers) July 29, 2021
Granted, they received no response from the Tesla boss to these questions. Regardless, it seems clear that it will take more than a little fire in Australia to overcome the enthusiasm over Tesla's AI plans this week -- and that's why the stock is heading higher today.