from the Look-Ma!-No-Hands! dept.
Tesla had aimed to do a cross-country U.S. drive in one of its vehicles using fully autonomous driving capabilities by the end of last year. Obviously it didn't make that goal, or you'd have heard about it. Instead, Tesla CEO Elon Musk now says he anticipates being able to make the trip within three months, or six months at the long end.
Specifically, Musk said on an earnings call in response to a question about the autonomous drive that they'd "probably" be able to "do a coast-to-coast drive in three months, six months at the outside." When asked whether this feature would then be immediately available to customers, he did say that it "will be a feature that's available to customers," without commenting directly on timing of availability.
Musk admitted that he'd "missed the mark on that front," regarding the original autonomous drive demonstration, but he qualified that Tesla "could've done the coast-to-coast drive [last year] but that the company "would've had to do too much custom code, effectively gaming it." It would've resulted in a feature that others could have used in their vehicles as well, but only for that exact cross-country route.
If Elon Musk can increase Tesla's market value 12-fold in the next 10 years, he may be entitled to a maximum of $56 billion in stock awards (likely lower if more shares are sold to the public). This, along with the ballooning of Musk's existing $12 billion share in his company, and his stake in SpaceX and other companies, could help Musk become a Kardashev I trillionaire alongside Jeff Bezos:
A new payment plan for the CEO was approved by Tesla (TSLA) shareholders Wednesday, a spokesperson confirmed. The incentive-based package essentially states that if Musk hits a series of performance milestones between now and January 2028, and he drives his electric car company's market value 12 times higher — taking it from $54 billion to $650 billion — he'll become astronomically rich.
Now, if Musk does drive a 12-fold increase in Tesla's market value, that doesn't necessarily mean the price of a single share in the company will be 12 times larger. The company can do things like issue new stock that could dilute the value of existing shares. But let's assume Musk's Tesla stock would grow at least 10 times more valuable. That would mean just the shares Musk owns today would be worth $120 billion.
Plus, reaching the agreed upon milestones means Musk would get additional stock awards. According to the new compensation plan, Tesla estimates the value of the stock awards to be $2.6 billion, using accounting methods for estimating the cash value of stock options. But if Tesla's market value balloons just as the payment plan hopes, those stock awards could be worth nearly $56 billion, according to a public filing.
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Elon Musk Expects to Do Coast-to-Coast Autonomous Tesla Drive in 3 to 6 Months