Update: Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk confirmed on Monday a tentative date for the company’s Battery Day and shareholder meeting including a tour of the cell production lines on September 15, 2020.
Tentative date for Tesla Shareholder Meeting & Battery Day is Sept 15. Will include tour of cell production system.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 22, 2020
Battery Day will be combined with the Tesla annual shareholder meeting, Musk has confirmed, after a series of tweets from the Tesla CEO revealed he was considering combining Battery Day with the company’s annual shareholders meeting which had been scheduled for July 7.
The news comes after several months’ delay of the highly anticipated event at which Tesla is expected to reveal details of its million-mile battery technology, first flagged by Musk at Tesla’s Autonomy Day in 2019.
It was originally thought that Battery Day would be held in the first months of 2020, but the emergence of the highly contagious novel Coronavirus quickly put that idea to bed – or so we would think.
While many events are turning online to be live-streamed, Musk has made it clear that Battery Day, which he believes will be “one of the most exciting days in Tesla’s history” needs a live audience, although he has flagged previously that a live event may be preceded by an online event.
Now, it would seem that the online event may be circumvented altogether, and the live Battery Day event will be combined with the annual shareholders meeting.
In comments on Twitter in response to a question about the shareholder’s meeting, Musk confirmed that the Cybertruck would make an appearance, and that the new date would possibly be “a month or so” after the original July 7 date.
Yes, but we will have to postpone annual shareholder meeting, as still no large gatherings allowed by July 7th. Not sure of new date, but am guessing maybe a month or so later.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 20, 2020
Of course, this drew a query about what this meant for Battery Day, to which Musk replied, “Probably good to combine them, since they are converging in time. I’m hopeful we can announce a date after the July 4th week.”
Probably good to combine them, since they are converging in time. I’m hopeful we can announce a date after the July 4th week.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 20, 2020
While it is largely assumed that the continuing delays of Battery Day are due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, of which the US accounts for a third of all 9 million cases globally according to John Hopkins University, it bears consideration that there may be other reasons behind the delays.
True, Musk has flagged that it promises to be a “mindblowing” day, saying at the company’s fourth quarter earnings call for 2019 that, “I think it’s going to be a very compelling story that we have to present. I think it’s going to actually blow people’s minds. It blows my mind, and I know it. So it’s going to be pretty cool.”
But is this really all that is going on behind the scenes?
We know that sources have flagged that Chinese battery maker CATL, with which Tesla has cut a deal, has played a role in the development of the million-mile battery and that CATL has said it is ready to make it – it just needs Tesla to place an order.
But CATL boss Yuqun Zeng, opening up about CATL’s deal with Tesla, has also confirmed that Tesla has said it wants to produce batteries itself.
Although Tesla has just re-signed an agreement with battery partner Panasonic locking in prices for the next three years, Jack Rickard, an electric vehicle battery expert and producer of EVTV, believes Tesla is already readying its own battery assembly lines, possibly at Fremont or Nevada.
It’s not the Coronavirus pandemic, or other current social issues like the Black Lives Matter movement, that is delaying Battery Day, says Rickard.
Very simply, he says it is the Osborne effect – what happens when people start cancelling orders because they know there will be a better product available imminently.
“He actually needs to be manufacturing cars with the batteries before he tells you about it or you’ll all quit buying the cars until he can do it,” Rickard said on Saturday in a 40 minute video released on Youtube by Rickard.
“It’s the Osborne effect – he has to be ready to punch the button.”
The illuminating video can be watched at the bottom of this article, and it is also worth noting that Rickard brings up the fact that Musk has said before that lithium-ion batteries should be called nickel-graphite batteries as these materials form the largest part of an EV battery’s makeup.
He also points out that because Tesla is “not just the largest producer of batteries in the world, they’re the largest consumer of batteries in the world,” he believes not one serious contender in battery tech development today will go public with a commercially viable improvement that will help bring the cost of making batteries down until they’ve first shown it to Tesla.
This article has been updated with news of a tentative Battery Day and AGM date as tweeted by Elon Musk on Monday.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.