Bulletins

Do you love money? Get into lithium mining, Elon Musk says

The Tesla CEO strangely had nothing to say about Twitter during the EV company's Q1 earnings call.

Tesla

Tesla smashed earnings expectations in the first quarter of 2022.

Image: Dylan Calluy/Protocol

After some question of will-he-or-won't-he, Elon Musk joined Tesla's first-quarter earnings call Wednesday. Surprisingly to some, the Tesla CEO had nothing to say about his current side project — making a hostile takeover bid for his favorite social network, Twitter — and instead focused on what appears to be his new favorite topic: lithium mining.


Tesla had a huge quarter, significantly beating analyst estimates with profit of $3.32 billion on $18.7 billion in revenue (up 81% year-over-year). And while many had hoped Musk would give some hints as to what's next with Twitter, he instead outlined what's next for Tesla. Here are a few key takeaways from Tesla's earnings call.

Tesla absolutely crushed Wall Street expectations.

According to Barron's, Wall Street anticipated earnings of $2.20 to $2.30 a share and around $18 billion in revenue, estimates that Tesla beat handily. The company also made around $1 billion more in operating profit than analysts expected. Tesla's share price jumped around 5% in after-hours trading, up to $1,017 per share from closing at around $976.

Musk wants more people to get into the lithium business.

The supply chain is squeezing Tesla tight. One major supply chain challenge the company is facing is lithium, though not because of there's a shortage of it. Musk said the element is "almost everywhere," but the steps to refine it are expensive and arduous. Musk sees this as an issue for the entire EV industry. His solution? More people need to get into the lithium business, he said.

"Can some more people please get into the lithium business?" Musk said. "Do you like minting money? Well the lithium business is for you."

The supply chain issues lead to one boon for the company: Part of the reason it had a high profit margin is that due to the higher average selling price of its vehicles (the company raised the prices of its entire fleet by 5% to 10% this past quarter). But because of this, he doesn't anticipate vehicle prices will rise again soon.

"Our prices of vehicles ordered now are really anticipating supplier and logistics cost growth that ... we believe will happen over the next six to 12 months," Musk said. "That's that's why we have the price increases today, because a car order today will arrive in some cases a year from now."

The company will host a product event for its long-awaited RoboTaxi next year.

Musk has been talking about a Tesla RoboTaxi, essentially a driverless Uber, for years. Now it looks like the company is closer to actually getting them on the road. Musk didn't divulge too many details, but said the company is planning to host a product event next year, and is aiming for volume production in 2024.

He also anticipates that they will be really, really cheap.

"Looking at some of our projections, it would appear that a RoboTaxi ride will cost less than a ... subsidized bus ticket or a subsidized subway ticket," Musk said.

We'll believe it when we see it.

Musk predicts Tesla Bots will be a bigger business than cars.

Musk is a big believer in Tesla's company's Optimus project, which aims to create full-fledged humanoid robots called Tesla Bots. Tesla Bots, first announced last August, will be 5'8" tall, weighs 125 pounds, and can move at about five miles per hour. It'll run an Autopilot system similar to that of Tesla cars. Musk said in the earnings call that the program's importance "will become apparent in the coming years."

"I was surprised that people did not realize the magnitude of the Optimus robot program," Musk said. "Those who are insightful or looking listen carefully will understand that Optimus ultimately will be worth more than the car business."

Well, OK! We look forward to seeing how Musk's many projects turn out. In the meantime...lithium mining, anyone?

Latest Bulletins

Mobile game revenue will decline for the first time in history this year, market research firm Newzoo now says in a revised outlook for the 2022 global games market. While the whole game industry is expected to contract by 4.3% — another first since Newzoo began tracking the market in 2007 — the company is predicting a 6.4% decline in mobile game spending on top of a 4.2% decline in console game spending.

Keep Reading Show less

Amazon is planning to lay off thousands of employees, Protocol has learned, ahead of what the company has cautioned will be a slow holiday shopping season.

Keep Reading Show less

Google agreed to pay $391.5 million and make changes to its user privacy controls as part of a settlement with a coalition of 40 state attorneys general. The coalition accused Google of misleading customers about location-tracking practices that informed ad targeting.

Keep Reading Show less

FTX has filed for bankruptcy and the crypto company also announced that founder Sam Bankman-Fried has resigned as CEO.

Keep Reading Show less

Salesforce recently updated its internal policies to make it easier for managers to terminate employees for performance issues without HR involvement, Protocol has learned, a move that comes as the software giant looks to shed as many as 2,500 jobs.

Keep Reading Show less

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said fraud and scam reports comprise the top complaint it receives about virtual currencies — and that customers are finding little help from companies when it happens.

Keep Reading Show less

Elon Musk sent his first email to Twitter staff late Wednesday, warning of a difficult economic road ahead and telling employees they need to be in office for a minimum of 40 hours per week. "Sorry that this is my first email to the whole company, but there is no way to sugarcoat the message," he began, ominously.

Keep Reading Show less

Binance isn’t buying FTX after all. The crypto giant said Wednesday it has decided that it “will not pursue the potential acquisition” based on a “corporate due diligence” review.

Keep Reading Show less

On Wednesday, John Kerry unveiled a plan for a new carbon credit program aimed at mobilizing private capital to help middle-income countries transition away from coal and move toward renewable energy.

Keep Reading Show less

Meta announced it was laying off more than 11,000 employees Wednesday morning, slashing jobs in its recruiting department and refocusing its remaining team on AI discovery, ads, and its investment in the metaverse.

"I want to take accountability for these decisions and for how we got here," Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a message to employees that was also posted online. "I know this is tough for everyone, and I’m especially sorry to those impacted."

Keep Reading Show less

Al Gore has one mission this week at COP27, and that’s to give climate negotiators what he hopes will be a critical tool to address the crisis at hand: an independent, global inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, down to the individual facility.

The Climate TRACE coalition just released the world’s most detailed inventory of global greenhouse gas emissions, which Gore, a founding member, is unveiling on Wednesday at the United Nations climate summit in Egypt.

Keep Reading Show less

Way back in March, your friendly Protocol Climate team offered you some tips for writing a climate plan that doesn’t suck. Surely you took that advice. But if for some reason you didn’t, the United Nations has your back.

Keep Reading Show less

Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao said Tuesday the crypto powerhouse signed a deal to acquire rival FTX.

Keep Reading Show less

Salesforce is preparing for a major round of layoffs that could affect as many as 2,500 workers across the software vendor, Protocol has learned, in a bid to cut costs amid a new activist investor challenge and harsh economic conditions.

Keep Reading Show less

BlockFi has introduced a new digital assets interest product for accredited investors, after previously agreeing to shut down a yield-paying crypto product that the SEC said was illegal.

Keep Reading Show less

The Justice Department said Monday it seized $3.4 billion worth of bitcoin stolen in the 2012 hack of the Silk Road dark web marketplace.

Keep Reading Show less

U.S. election infrastructure is exceedingly secure, and voter fraud here is so rare it’s comparable to your annual chances of getting struck by lightning. Despite this, former President Donald Trump and a long list of allies in the Republican Party have spent the last two years questioning the overall integrity of the U.S. election system. Many of those allies are now candidates themselves, and their coordinated attack on the country’s status as a democracy is not a relic of 2020. Some have already started repeating these “Big Lie” charges ahead of next week’s midterms. And the social platforms that help them spread their message have prepared few measures to stop it.

Keep Reading Show less

The White House just laid out its climate tech priorities to reach net zero by 2050.

Keep Reading Show less

Coinbase said Thursday that it lost more users in the third quarter. But the decline wasn’t the disastrous drop that Wall Street was expecting, and that sparked a rally in the crypto company’s shares after-hours.

Keep Reading Show less

The Biden administration announced $9 billion in funding Wednesday to improve home efficiency, which could help support the installation of up to 500,000 heat pumps. With winter approaching and utilities warning of gas shortages, there are some major challenges facing the technology that money can be used to tackle.

Keep Reading Show less

Block beat earnings expectations, with strong growth largely fueled by its Cash App business. Traders sent shares up more than 12% after-hours Thursday.

Keep Reading Show less

Stripe is laying off 14% of its staff, its co-founders said Thursday, as the fintech startup must start "building differently for leaner times."

Keep Reading Show less

Roku saw its revenue growth slow in Q3, and warned investors Wednesday that things are about to get worse: “A lot of Q4 ad campaigns are being canceled,” said Roku CEO Anthony Wood during the company’s Q4 earnings call. “We’re seeing lots of big categories pull back. Telecom, insurance … even toy marketers are planning on reducing their spending.”

Keep Reading Show less

Green jobs and corporate climate pledges abound, but skilled sustainability professionals are scarce.

Keep Reading Show less

Robinhood reported a drop in third-quarter revenue but also a narrower loss on Wednesday, in a sign that it might be stabilizing its business as it attempts to recover from a staggering drop in the stock and crypto trading activity that fueled its growth.

Keep Reading Show less
Bulletins