Elon Musk introduced Tesla’s latest vehicle, the Model S Plaid, as a halo product that proves the superiority of electric cars.
Elon Musk showcased Tesla Inc.’s latest vehicle, the Model S Plaid, as a halo product that proves the superiority of electric cars at an event to mark the start of deliveries to customers.
“Why make this really fast car that’s insanely fast?” “, Asked the CEO outside the Tesla factory in Fremont, California. “There is something that is quite important for the future of sustainable energy, is that we have to show that an electric car is the best car, hands down.”
The new flagship will likely give Tesla deliveries an additional boost, but the premium S and X models remain a niche business compared to its mainstream 3 and Y cars, Credit Suisse analyst Dan Levy with a neutral rating on the stock, said Friday in a research note.
“While the start of Plaid shipments is creating some excitement on the product front, we believe Plaid remains secondary to Tesla’s aspirations in the Model 3 / Y. “
Tesla shares fell 1% to $ 604.09 at 9:50 a.m. in New York. They fell 14% through Thursday’s close, well behind the 13% gain in the S&P 500 Index.
The eight-fold gain in Tesla’s share price last year made the company the world’s most valuable automaker and helped spur investor interest in the broader electric vehicle space. But the market leader in electric vehicles had a disappointing start to the year.
During Plaid’s debut Thursday night, Musk attempted to showcase Tesla’s technical prowess at a time when his company’s lineup faces competition from battery-powered vehicles, including Ford Motor Co.’s Mustang Mach-E and Ford Motor Co. Porsche Taycan.
It touted the sleek sedan as being able to go from zero to 60 mph in under 2 seconds, although that time precludes an initial lead, according to the company’s website. The car offers an estimated range of 390 miles, reaches a top speed of 200 mph, and costs $ 129,990 in the United States.
“It’s what I call engineering the limits of physics,” said Musk, wearing a black leather jacket with a plaid logo on the back.
The Model S was Tesla’s groundbreaking sedan, with initial deliveries starting in 2012. While the older Model S and X are eclipsed by the newer and cheaper 3’s and Y’s, the higher prices they charge contribute greatly. to the profitability of the company. The first 25 Plaid cars were released to customers on Thursday, and Musk said he expected the company to deliver 1,000 per week by the next quarter.
During a less than 30-minute presentation, Musk showcased improvements including a new battery, carbon-wrapped rotors, and a three-motor powertrain. The name Plaid is a reference to a high speed space travel scene from the 1987 comedy film “Spaceballs”.
Changes to the exterior design made the car more aerodynamic. Inside, the front seats are moved forward to increase space for passengers in the rear, which now has a second touchscreen.
Musk compared the in-car entertainment system to the performance of a Sony PlayStation 5 and said its 22-speaker sound system delivers a home theater experience.
“If you think about the future of the car, often on autopilot or autonomous driving mode, then entertainment is going to become more and more important,” he said. “You’re going to want to watch movies, play games, use the Internet. “
The event was missing a surprise “one more thing” regarding other vehicles in Tesla’s product pipeline, such as the Semi or Cybertruck. Musk also hasn’t provided any updates on new battery cells the company is developing in-house, nor has it discussed the decision to kill a longer-range Plaid + version of the Model S.
Tesla typically hosts one or two sensational events a year to keep customers excited and to make product deposits. They also serve an important promotional purpose, as the company avoids spending on traditional advertising.
(Updates with analyst comments from the third paragraph.)