In a broad investor call on Thursday, Elon Musk reportedly told investors that autonomous driving would help Tesla transform itself into a company with a $500 billion market cap. Musk also reaffirmed one of his previous points, stating that existing Teslas will see an increase in value as they receive full self-driving capabilities, making them worth up to $250,000 within three years.
Musk’s bold statements were expressed during an investor call held by Citigroup and Goldman Sachs on Thursday. The call was held amidst news that Tesla is raising up to $2 billion of capital, comprised of $650 million in new equity and $1.35 billion in convertible notes. Citigroup and Goldman Sachs are among the underwriters of Tesla’s capital raise, together with Bank of America, Societe Generale, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and Wells Fargo.
The Tesla CEO was joined by new CFO Zach Kirkhorn, who also addressed inquiries about the company’s plans for the near future. Invitees who attended the call noted to CNBC that the discussions mainly focused on the opportunities presented by the Tesla Network’s Robotaxi service, which is made possible by the creation of an in-house FSD computer and chip designed by legendary Apple chipmaker Pete Bannon. According to two investors who heard the call, Musk described Tesla’s current electric vehicle and energy business as a backstop of value to the company’s business in the upcoming driverless era.
Echoing previous statements, Musk reportedly highlighted that competitors such as Alphabet’s Waymo and GM’s Cruise will have a difficult time catching up to Tesla because of the electric car maker’s advantage in real-world data. Tesla has hundreds of thousands of cars on the road, and most of which are capable of gathering data and sending it back to Tesla for use in Autopilot and Full Self-Driving improvements.
Elon Musk further noted that by next year, Tesla would have 1 million vehicles on the road that could potentially take part in its Robotaxi fleet. The CEO expects each car to be capable of doing around 100 hours of work per week, allowing owners to make money as the electric vehicles drive passengers to and from their destination.
Kirkhorn, for his part, reminded investors on the call that Tesla’s outlook for Q1 2019 remains the same. The new CFO pointed out that Tesla still expects to deliver 90,000 to 100,000 vehicles in the second quarter, building up to a total of 360,000 to 400,000 electric cars this year. Musk also explained that Tesla is still capable of funding its business needs through cash flow, and that its recent capital raise is simply a buffer just in case a recession happens, or global auto demand shows down.