Tesla's investor meeting and 'Battery Day' kicks off in front of an unusual crowd of people watching Elon Musk from inside Tesla cars

  • Tesla's delayed shareholder meeting and 'Battery Day' kicked off on Tuesday afternoon outside the company's Fremont, California factory. 
  • Following a short formal portion of the meeting, CEO Elon Musk gave a review of the company's progress over the last year with heavy emphasis on software and manufacturing. 
  • Those attending the event looked on from inside their Tesla vehicles, with honking taking the place of applause.
  • Musk touted new battery improvements that can make manufacturing cheaper and provide more power. 
  • We'll update this post with all the important developments. Check back for updates. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Elon Musk and other Tesla executives kicked off an unusual, outdoor version of the company's annual shareholder meeting and a "Battery Day" presentation on Tuesday afternoon in Fremont, California. 

The delayed event had severe attendance restrictions in place due to COVID-19. A few randomly selected shareholder attendees are watching the proceedings from long rows of parked Tesla cars. Those attending the event responded with honks instead of applause.

Tesla's vice president of legal, Al Prescott, called the first part of the afternoon to order around 1:50 p.m. local time. There are seven items on which shareholders will vote, including the election of three directors, executive compensation, and ratification of its outside accounting auditor. Four other proposals, including one about Tesla's forced arbitration policies, are not expected to pass and were opposed by the company's board of directors. 

The formal stockholders meeting adjourned shortly after 2 p.m., and was followed by a year in review by CEO Elon Musk. He touted Tesla's sales growth this year as it scaled up a new factory in China, as well as new improvements to "Autopilot," its driver-assistance software. 

A beta version of the software's "full self-driving" capabilities will be released soon, Musk said. "It took us quite a while," to rewrite the entire code-base, he said: "It's awesome." 

Musk also touted improvements to Tesla's manufacturing ability, a theme he's said previously is underappreciated by many people: "the difficultly of designing the machine that makes the machine is vastly harder than the machine itself," he said.

Shares of Tesla jumped about 4% in after-hours trading during the event. The stock sank as much as 5% Tuesday following Musk's tweets. 

The main event: Updates on Tesla's battery technology 

Tesla's highly anticipated "battery day" presentation kicked off about 2:40 p.m. local time, with Drew Baglino, senior VP of powertrain and energy engineering joining Musk on stage. 

"The three parts of a sustainable energy future are sustainable energy generation, storage, and electric vehicles," Musk said. "So we intend to play a significant role in all three."

But in order to get there, the world needs to produce 10-terawatt-hours worth of energy per year, Musk said. That's 100-times more than Tesla's current production level. 

"Today's batteries can't scale fast enough, they're just too small" Musk said. In order for electric cars to continue their growth against gas-powered counterparts, they'll need to continue to get cheaper, he added. That's where Tesla's plan to halve the cost of producing every kilowatt-hour with continuous cylindrical cells as opposed to those with tabs comes in. 

The new battery architecture can result in five-times more energy, a 16% range increase, with six-times the power output, Musk said, noting that production is already beginning at a pilot plant. At the same time, costs can be reduced. 

"It will take about a year to reach the 10 gigawatt hour capacity," he said, with help coming from a recent acquisition. The next goal is to improve manufacturing processes to the point where assembly lines are continuously moving.

By 2030, when all the innovations in chemistry and manufacturing are complete, Tesla says it will be able to produce three terra-watt hours every year. 

We'll be updating this post as the event progresses. Check back for updates. 

Watch live below: 

https://www.youtube.com/embed/l6T9xIeZTds

 

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