Tesla CEO Elon Musk said during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call that the company won’t release any new models this year, and isn’t currently developing a $25,000 car.
In his opening remarks, he said that the continuing chip shortage would make it impossible to release new model vehicles without resulting in fewer total vehicles being delivered.
“If we had introduced say a new car last year, we would — total vehicle output would have been the same because of the constraints — the chips’ constraints particularly.” He continued, “So, we will not be introducing new vehicle levels this year. It would not make any sense.”
Without a Cybertruck electric pickup truck to sell this year, Tesla risks ceding ground to Ford, which is poised for deliveries of the fully electric F-150 Lighting pickup in the first half of this year. Ford also recently said it plans to triple production of its Mustang Mach-E, a would-be Tesla Model 3 and Y competitor, expecting the Mach-E will surpass 200,000 units per year by 2023.
Another likely competitor, the GMC Hummer EV, first rolled out to customers In December 2021. General Motors fully electric take on the truck is the first to incorporate the company’s Ultium platform, motors and batteries, which GM developed in-house and plans to use as the foundation for its new electric vehicles to come.
Later, in response to a question about a lower-priced Tesla for mainstream consumers, Musk said that project is not currently underway.
“We’re not currently working on the $25,000 car,” Musk said. ” At some point we will. We have enough on our plate right now. Too much on our plate, frankly.”
Musk has repeatedly suggested a $25,000 Tesla is possible. He said in 2018 it would take Tesla about three years to develop, though he didn’t provide a timeline for when it might happen. And, in 2020, Musk suggested at the company’s shareholder’s meeting that Tesla would launch such a car within the next three years.
“About three years from now, we’re confident we can make a very compelling $25,000 electric vehicle that’s also fully autonomous,” he claimed in 2020. Musk is notorious, however, for being overly optimistic with his predictions.
Bernstein Senior Analyst Toni M. Sacconaghi Jr. followed up, asking, “If there is no $25,000 vehicle being worked on is it really realistic to think that you can sell more than 3 million vehicles with 2 very high volume cars and Cybertruck in 2024?”
Musk peevishly replied, “I mean, it is apparent from the questions that the gravity of Full Self Driving is not fully appreciated.”
The CEO then suggested that Tesla’s driverless vehicle tech, still in development, would become so good that it would make the company’s cars even more appealing over time, resulting in the anticipated high volume of sales with or without adding new models at lower price points.
Despite saying Tesla has too many fish to fry to make new model vehicles in 2022, Musk talked up plans for the company to develop not just robotaxis, but also a humanoid robot, nicknamed Optimus, which could be put to work handling parts in factories.