A new generation of advanced batteries. The arrival of the long-awaited Cybertruck. A factory in Mexico. And a Tesla car that is affordable to many more people.
These are among the announcements that Elon Musk, Tesla's chief executive, might make Wednesday as he tries to reassure investors that the company can retain its crown as the world's dominant maker of electric vehicles in the face of energetic competition from established carmakers and relatively younger Chinese manufacturers.
In what has been billed as the company’s “Master Plan 3,” Mr. Musk was expected to confirm reports in recent weeks that Tesla will build a factory in Monterrey, Mexico, the company's fifth car plant. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico said on Tuesday that the company had decided to build the plant but said Mr. Musk would provide more details on Wednesday.
Mr. Musk is also expected to reinforce his promise that the much delayed Cybertruck, a futuristic pickup with a stainless steel body, will go on sale before the end of the year.
There has also been speculation that Mr. Musk will revive plans for a Tesla that would be less expensive than the Model 3, which starts at $43,000 in the United States. Mr. Musk spoke of a $25,000 car in 2020, but later seemed to quash the idea. Whether the car would be so affordable when it goes on sale is another question. Mr. Musk and Tesla said the Model 3 would cost $35,000 before it went on sale in 2017, but few were sold at that price. Since then, the car’s price steadily climbed before Tesla lowered it a bit in January.
Analysts and investors have expressed concern that Tesla has been too slow to introduce new vehicles and respond to carmakers like Hyundai, Volkswagen and Ford Motor that have brought out a wide variety of new electric models, many much cheaper or very different from Tesla’s four models: the S, X, 3 and Y. General Motors plans to begin selling three new electric vehicles this year, including an electric version of the Chevrolet Equinox crossover that will start at around $30,000.
Investors also expected Mr. Musk to make an announcement about battery technology. He could say that Tesla is stepping up production of its 4680 battery cell, which can be manufactured more efficiently than older designs and packs more energy per pound. One of Tesla's main selling points has been its batteries, which provide more range and faster charging than many of the models offered by other manufacturers.
The splashy event at Tesla's factory in Austin, Texas, is clearly a response to investors who have complained that Mr. Musk's acquisition of Twitter last year diverted his attention and left him less focused on his car company.
In China, automaker BYD has surpassed Tesla in electric vehicle sales, challenging the notion that Tesla is poised to dominate the auto industry as battery-powered cars increasingly supplant gasoline models. BYD is now making a big push into Germany and other European countries, threatening to undermine Tesla’s dominance there.
After falling 65 percent last year, Tesla’s share price has recovered some of its value but is still down almost 50 percent from its high in November 2021, when the company was worth more than $1 trillion. Wednesday's event is seen as crucial to restoring investors’ confidence in Tesla.
With the factory in Monterrey, Tesla is following the same path as almost all other major carmakers, which have long made cars and components in Mexico, attracted by cheaper labor and duty-free access to the U.S. market.
Monterrey, in Nuevo León state, has been less prominent in the auto industry than other Mexican states like Guanajuato, where G.M., Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen and Mazda have operations. But Monterrey is a seven-hour drive from Austin, where Tesla began manufacturing vehicles last year.
Tesla also has factories in Fremont, Calif., Shanghai and Berlin. The factories in Austin and Berlin are still getting up to speed, suggesting it will be a challenge for Tesla to manage the ramp-up of another plant.
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