Electric-car maker Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk will take the stage tomorrow in Detroit, speaking at the Automotive News World Congress at 4:45 p.m. EST.
It's been two years since Musk has spoken in the auto state. Last January, Tesla's vice president of worldwide sales and service, Jerome Guillen, announced during a press conference at the Detroit auto show that Tesla had delivered 6,900 vehicles during the fourth quarter, a big jump over its guidance for "slightly under 6,000 Model S vehicles." While there's no certainty investors will be served a similar platter of hard data on the company's most recent quarterly sales this year, there will probably be a handful of key areas the CEO will cover that are important to investors. Here's some background on some of the potential hot items Musk may talk about.
What's taking the big auto companies so long?
"Mr. Musk is expected to criticize larger auto makers for not responding to Tesla even more aggressively," said Wall Street Journal writer Mike Ramsey regarding Musk's scheduled address on Tuesday. "He denounces the rest of the industry as only halfheartedly trying to produce battery-powered cars for the masses, not just early adopters."
As time continues to pass without any viable competition to Tesla's fully electric models, the CEO seems increasingly baffled at the big auto companies' snail pace to respond to Tesla's Model S. The fast-growing market for fully electric cars continues to provide more demand than Tesla can handle.
"I thought the big car companies would be coming out with electric cars sooner," Musk said in a GQ magazine interview in November. "Crazy thing is, it's now seven years since we unveiled the Roadster, and yet there's still not a single car for sale without a Tesla badge that has a 250-mile range. That's mind-blowing."
General Motors showed off its new Chevrolet Bolt concept on Monday. While the electric car may please Musk, the Bolt looks mostly like catch-up. GM's electric car will be capable of driving 200 miles on a charge and won't be available until 2017. Tesla already has its own fully electric Model 3, which Musk says will drive more than 200 miles on a charge, set for a 2017 launch.
Still, General Motors' Bolt concept EV is a major endorsement for fully electric vehicles.
Dual motor is a hit
Tesla's October-announced dual-motor all-wheel drive system for its Model S is off to a running start. Musk said in the November GQ interview that Tesla was already "seeing a very high proportion of orders for all-wheel drive." The initial demand was large enough for Musk to predict that "70%-plus of our cars will be dual-motor."
With Tesla's flagship dual-motor Model S, the P85D, the auto company has its greatest marketing tool yet. With the vehicle's zero-to-60 time of 3.2 seconds, 691 horsepower, and max torque from zero mph, impressive YouTube drag videos showing the car take on the world's fastest gas-powered cars are popping up everywhere.
Look for an update from Musk on orders and production for Tesla's new dual-motor-configured Model S.
The latest update investors had on Tesla's fully electric SUV was when the company reported third-quarter earnings in November. Tesla said it was delaying the first Model X deliveries to Q3 2015, a few months later than stated in the last update on Model X launch timing.
This wasn't the first delay for Tesla's Model X. The SUV was initially supposed to begin production on the Model X in late 2013.
Could Tesla delay the vehicle again? Look for an update on Model X production and delivery timing tomorrow.