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Elon Musk’s $46 billion told-ya-so: love for ‘incredible’ shareholders, dunks on New York investors, and the promise of a 110x increase in value

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Elon Musk walked out on stage and did a celebratory jumping jack. His arms stretched wide over his head as he hopped in jubilation. 

The galvanized Musk had just been re-granted his $46 billion pay plan that a Delaware judge had previously voided. Tesla shareholders voted to reinstate the package, which the company’s board had lobbied for them to do, and signed off on moving its state of incorporation to Texas. 

“I just want to start off by saying hot damn, I love you guys,” Musk told Tesla’s shareholders at the meeting in Austin and those on the live stream

Immediately after the preliminary vote results were announced, the crowd in attendance erupted into applause. Shareholders were then treated to a sizzle reel touting Tesla’s achievements in sustainability, new product lineups, and its innovation pipeline, which includes fully self-driving cars and a line of humanoid robots called Optimus. The video opened with voiceovers of some of Tesla’s harshest critics. “Tesla could go bust,” boomed the voice of investor Per Lekander, a noted Tesla bear. 

In the video Musk brushed away these criticisms, as he would just minutes later with characteristic confidence in his live presentation. In his remarks Musk outlined his vision for the future of Tesla, which hinges on its ability to deliver fully autonomous vehicles. “We’re not just opening a new chapter for Tesla—we’re starting a new book,” Musk declared.  

Tesla has a bright financial future, according to Musk. “I think just based on vehicle autonomy, we can we can 110x the value of the company,” Musk said. “I believe that’s what will happen.”

At least one investor agreed with his towering projection. ARK Invest, the fund managed by longtime backer Cathie Wood, said it believed Tesla could reach an $8 trillion market cap. Wood’s firm issued a whopping $2,600 price target for Tesla in 2029. The analysis banked on self-driving cars turning its revenue model and profit margins into those of a software company. “This becomes a recurring revenue model, a slice of every mile driven on that autonomous taxi network,” Wood told CNBC Thursday morning prior to the vote. 

In the past, Musk has said that once Tesla completes its self-driving software the company will immediately upload it to all its vehicles currently in the market. Doing so could, virtually overnight, create a fleet of self-driving cars all potentially sharing revenues with Tesla. The plan often overlooks the role regulators would have to play in allowing the move to happen. 

“Really the way to think of Tesla is almost entirely in terms of solving autonomy and being able to turn on that autonomy for a gigantic fleet,” Musk said on an earnings call in April. “It might be the biggest asset value appreciation in history when that happens, when you can do unsupervised, full self-driving.”

Musk excoriated many investors for failing to understand the significance of Tesla’s plans. He singled out institutional investors who live in New York because “they don’t drive cars.” 

The fleet would be monetized by emulating the business models of both Uber and Airbnb, said Musk. Like Uber, Tesla would offer a rideshare service—this time with no driver. Although, crucially Uber does not own the fleet of cars it uses, as Musk proposed Tesla would. Once autonomous Teslas become a reality, Musk predicted people would turn their cars into temporary taxis, just like Airbnb lets users turn their homes into a hotel. 

If you’re “going away for a week, just one tap on your Tesla app,” Musk said to cheers from the audience. “Your car gets added to the fleet and it just makes money for you while you’re gone.”

Musk hailed these changes as “simply a matter of time.” In the past he has overpromised on several critical elements of Tesla’s business, something he’s done at his many other ventures. In 2016, Musk claimed that self-driving cars would be available by 2018—a promise that he is still making to this day. He predicted that by 2020 there would be a million robotaxis on the road. While there are some robotaxis in a few cities, they are hardly a ubiquitous mode of transportation. 

This time around, Musk seemed to couch his predictions with some caveats. 

“Now admittedly, I’m a little optimistic sometimes,” Musk said “So I don’t have a complete lack of self awareness.” 

Still on his victory lap though, he couldn’t help himself. “But if I wasn’t optimistic, this wouldn’t exist, this factory wouldn’t exist.”





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