In just a few hours — on Tuesday, September 22, at 1:30pm Pacific Time — Tesla will kick off Battery Day. I’ve seen a ton of articles making predictions about what Tesla will unveil on Battery Day, but I haven’t seen many about what to watch for, both at the event and after it.
Tesla has built up an incredible amount of buzz about this event. It really shows the power of Tesla as a brand. For instance, GM keeps trying to show how many exciting things it has for the EV market, and trying to convince investors and analysts that their its EV business should be valued much higher than it is currently. But GM gets almost no mainstream attention for any of its EV brands, so when it held EV Day back on March 4, I didn’t even know about it until I saw coverage on our site.
In case it isn’t obvious, I watch the EV market carefully. If I didn’t realize it was happening until it was over, that should be a big red flag. If I’m going to be honest, I think that part of it is due to the fact that GM can’t overly promote its battery advancements without potentially impacting sales of current vehicles, so GM doesn’t want to tell people too loudly that it is doing this, potentially starting the process of making people hold off on purchases. If GM’s EV day was supposed to drive investor interest, however, it was a huge failure.
What To Watch For On Battery Day
Here’s my hopefully handy, four-part guide for watching Battery Day. And, if you want to see my actual reactions, I’ll be reacting live to the stream here on CleanTechnica in a liveblog, so stop back and follow along with me if you’d like!
Don’t Expect To Get Everything
Managing expectations is something that I feel Tesla doesn’t do a great job at. By being so close-lipped about what is coming, it allows people to hypothesize about what to expect and raise expectations to completely unrealistic levels. One example — I’ve heard Jim Cramer say that he is excited for the million-mile battery, because it would allow you to go potentially weeks without charging it. In other words, it seems that Cramer expects to get a battery you only need to charge once every million miles, which is clearly not what Tesla will unveil.
I expect Tesla to share with the world a lot of different things, but there will be things it can’t deliver on.
Don’t Jump to Conclusions
It’s been a trend with the last few Tesla releases, but I fully anticipate the news will not be met with as much excitement immediately following it. There is a financial saying “buy the rumor, sell the news,” and it seems Tesla follows this until people have really digested what it means. After Autonomy Day on April 22, 2019, the stock basically closed flat and then went down for a bit afterward. After the Cybertruck reveal on November 21, 2019, the next day Tesla [TSLA] shares traded down, and stayed down for a couple of weeks before further analysis.
Tesla has this habit of not trotting out someone smooth like Idris Elba or Margot Robbie to promote the company’s stuff in “traditional” ways, instead choosing to trot out Andrej Karpathy or Franz von Holzhausen to awkwardly speak authentically about what they are doing and why.
It’s always difficult for an expert to dumb down their communication about a topic they are intimately familiar with to an audience that is new to that topic. I fully expect that trend will continue, and we’ll have a few days before people start to really understand the breadth of what Tesla is doing.
In fact, as an aside, I think that this lack of understanding fully what Tesla is doing is what the majority of the financial media has been missing. As analysts begin to better understand the breadth of Tesla’s goals and how they all fit together, the company’s value has increased, yet we still see many examples of pundits who say, “but, they’re just a car company.” The stock price moves when someone believes they found value, and often that value is identifying ways to expand the market.
In my case, my last major investment in the company came after the unveiling of the Cybertruck, when I broke down for myself (and anyone else who wanted to see it!) the price point that batteries had to be at to deliver the Cybertruck with profits at the specs that Tesla unveiled, and I determined a conservative battery cost estimate would allow Tesla to produce the Semi as well as immediately take over electrical peaking plants at a cheaper rate with a better product.
Expect A Surprise
Tesla likes to unveil unexpected things at these events, and I expect there will be at least one thing unveiled that people aren’t expecting. Tesla is incredible about not letting things leak — both the Roadster and the Cyber ATV were completely unexpected when they were unveiled — so this could be nearly anything.
But this is a point that Tesla doesn’t always deliver on. Autonomy Day really didn’t have any surprises, nor did the subdued Model Y unveiling, so it’s not a lock. I expect a surprise, but I expect it to not be as flashy as the Roadster or Cyber ATV.
Expect it to Start Late
To manage your own expectations, come here, join the livesteam, and expect it to start at least 10 minutes late. I’m certain that some of this is from Tesla waiting to ensure everyone who wants to watch the stream is in, but sometimes the lateness becomes a bit frustrating. Autonomy Day started 40 minutes late, so don’t expect to sit down and start watching right at the start.
I’m really, really excited for Battery Day. I’ve told a few friends that I expect Battery Day to be the day that we find out how Tesla is going to change the world, but we won’t understand just what we saw until we have the benefit of hindsight. I’ll be here doing my best to break things down in real time, and then writing more in-depth articles after that. Hope to see you back here then!
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