Tesla Annual Meeting Reveals China Battery Plant, Teases Model Y Plans

Elon Musk co-founder and CEO of Tesla Inc

Elon Musk co-founder and CEO of Tesla Inc

After addressing concerns about Model 3 production and pricing and announcing a new Gigafactory for building batteries in Shanghai, he casually mentioned that next month the company would be offering free trials of the car's semi-autonomous software, Autopilot.

Musk also laid out plans for the Model Y, supposedly set for a March 2019 unveiling, with production starting in the first half of 2020. Manufacturing bottlenecks have delayed the delivery of vehicles to customers and deferred much-needed revenue as the company continues to spend heavily on Model 3 production fixes, as well as projects in the pipeline.

Tesla's shareholders have offered a show of support for Elon Musk, rejecting a proposal to strip him of the chairman post, even after a string of issues at the electric auto maker.

Also, don't hold your breath for a Tesla motorcycle - Musk quashed hopes that the company would build one, citing an experience he had when he was almost killed while riding one.

CtW Investment Group, which works with union pension funds, had urged shareholders to vote against all three directors, arguing that issues including missed Model 3 production targets showed the board has been insufficient in governing Musk, 46, and the company.

"We've made a lot of mistakes with Model 3 production", said Musk.

He came under fire last month for refusing to answer questions from analysts about the company's finances, saying "boring bonehead questions are not cool". Concerns about Tesla's ability to meet demand had weighed on the company's stock in recent months. He had been targeting 5,000 a week by around the end of June, a rate he said will allow Tesla to become profitable in the third quarter and cash-flow positive in each of the third and fourth periods.

Only a man can run an airline, says Qatar boss
In contrast, he had said the average age of Qatar Airways cabin crews was 26 in comments criticised as both sexist and ageist. His comments were reportedly met with load groans of disapproval.

Musk told investors that an announcement about a China factory would come "really soon".

A shareholder had proposed that the company replace Musk, who has served as the chairman of Tesla's board of directors since 2004 and its CEO since 2008, with an independent chairman.

Arguing that the sprawling company has become hard to oversee, one investor proposed splitting the chairman and chief executive jobs, both of which Musk holds.

"We will definitely offer a $35,000 version of the Model 3", Musk said Tuesday. Tesla shares are down as much as 3.4 percent for the session.

Elon Musk holds a 22 percent stake in Tesla, increasing the degree of difficulty for shareholders trying to challenge his authority.

The proposal to remove Musk from his role as chairman of Tesla's board was introduced by Jing Zhao, a shareholder who has questioned whether Musk - who leads several other companies in addition to Tesla - is spread too thin.

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