UPDATED with Model 3 Production Data
Tesla falls after NTSB rebuke about fatal crash, CEO jokes about bankruptcy
Shares of Tesla (TSLA) are lower after the company acknowledged that its autopilot function was involved in a fatal crash that occurred with one of its vehicles and its CEO Elon Musk tweeted on April Fool’s that “Tesla has gone completely and totally bankrupt.”
With the quarter coming to an end, Tesla is expected to report production and deliveries results within a few days.
AUTOPILOT INVOLVED IN FATAL CRASH
In a blog post late Friday, Tesla acknowledged that its autopilot function was involved in a fatal crash that occurred with one of its vehicles.
“In the moments before the collision, which occurred at 9:27 a.m. on Friday, March 23rd, Autopilot was engaged with the adaptive cruise control follow-distance set to minimum. The driver had received several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive and the driver’s hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision.
The driver had about five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view of the concrete divider with the crushed crash attenuator, but the vehicle logs show that no action was taken.
The reason this crash was so severe is because the crash attenuator, a highway safety barrier which is designed to reduce the impact into a concrete lane divider, had been crushed in a prior accident without being replaced.
We have never seen this level of damage to a Model X in any other crash.
Over a year ago, our first iteration of Autopilot was found by the U.S. government to reduce crash rates by as much as 40%.
Internal data confirms that recent updates to Autopilot have improved system reliability.
In the US, there is one automotive fatality every 86 million miles across all vehicles from all manufacturers. For Tesla, there is one fatality, including known pedestrian fatalities, every 320 million miles in vehicles equipped with Autopilot hardware.
If you are driving a Tesla equipped with Autopilot hardware, you are 3.7 times less likely to be involved in a fatal accident.
Tesla Autopilot does not prevent all accidents – such a standard would be impossible – but it makes them much less likely to occur.
It unequivocally makes the world safer for the vehicle occupants, pedestrians and cyclists,” the company said.
Over the weekend, Reuters reported that the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board was “unhappy” that Tesla made public information about the crash of its Model X vehicle that killed the driver last month.
After teasing on Twitter that important news was coming, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted on April 1, “Tesla Goes Bankrupt Palo Alto, California, April 1, 2018 — Despite intense efforts to raise money, including a last-ditch mass sale of Easter Eggs, we are sad to report that Tesla has gone completely and totally bankrupt. So bankrupt, you can’t believe it… There are many chapters of bankruptcy and, as critics so rightly pointed out, Tesla has them *all*, including Chapter 14 and a half (the worst one)…Elon was found passed out against a Tesla Model 3, surrounded by “Teslaquilla” bottles, the tracks of dried tears still visible on his cheeks.
This is not a forward-looking statement, because, obviously, what’s the point? Happy New Month!”
In a research note to investors this morning, Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois upgraded Tesla to Hold from Underperform with an unchanged price target of $250.
The analyst noted that Tesla shares are down 32% from their September 2017 peak and that he sees a “high probability” that management and the board, when releasing first quarter unit data this week, take “more drastic action” on guidance and funding to “restore credibility.”
At the current stock price, either would be positive, Houchois contended.
The analyst believes “higher than consensus” dilution from a capital raise could be positive for the shares, if it “credibly de-risked” the Model 3 production ramp up.
Stockwinners believes this is a good place to open a position in Tesla.
MODEL 3 PRODUCTION DATA
In an email to employees today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the Model 3 passed a production rate of 2,000 per week in Q1, Ryan Felton of Jalopnik reports.
In January, Tesla projected it would make 2,500 Model 3s per week by the end of the quarter, Felton points out.
It has been “extremely difficult” to pass the 2,000 vehicle per week rate for the Model 3, “but we are finally here,” Musk wrote in the email obtained by Felton.
In Monday morning’s trading, shares of Tesla have dropped 7% to $247.39.
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