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

Nvidia plans to slow hiring later this year, following similar moves from Lyft, Snap, Uber, Meta, Salesforce, Coinbase and others.

Keep Reading Show less

The Federal Trade Commission is charging Twitter for "deceptively" using security data — the phone numbers and emails it asked users to input to secure their accounts — to actually target ads to them, the agency announced Wednesday. The FTC will require that the company pay $150 million.

Keep Reading Show less

Sonos just launched its Sonos Radio service on the web, albeit in a somewhat limited fashion: A new Sonos Radio website features 45-minute samples from some of the service’s channels, as well as individual shows and mixes. The service was previously only available on Sonos speakers. The site was first spotted by a Reddit user.

Keep Reading Show less

Bolt told employees Wednesday that the company would undergo “several structural changes” — in other words, layoffs — in an effort to secure its financial position.

Keep Reading Show less

A federally funded AI research cloud is moving forward, and startups should be able to join the party.

A task force set up to design The National AI Research Resource, or NAIRR, a repository of data, tools and computing power needed to develop machine learning and other AI systems, published a preliminary report today outlining plans and expectations for the service.

Keep Reading Show less

Carbon dioxide removal will soon be written into Finnish law: In a historic Wednesday vote, the country’s Parliament approved a new Climate Change Act that would commit the country to carbon neutrality by 2035, and carbon negativity by 2040.

Keep Reading Show less

Peter Thiel has officially stepped down from Meta's board, a position he's held since Facebook was in its infancy. The company announced that Thiel would be leaving the board in February.

Now, Thiel looks poised to spend even more of his time, attention and money on backing conservative political candidates ahead of the midterms. He's already a top donor to Ohio senate candidate J.D. Vance and Arizona senate candidate Blake Masters, former president of the Thiel foundation. Thiel recently spent another $3.5 million on Masters' campaign.

Keep Reading Show less

In an expected move, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey is leaving the company's board of directors, effective Wednesday. He made his resignation as a director formal at the company's annual shareholder meeting, where he did not stand for reelection, but had set his departure from the board in motion last fall when he stepped down as Twitter CEO.

Keep Reading Show less

Amazon successfully beat back a record-high 15 proposals from activists and worker advocates at its annual shareholder meeting today, maintaining the company’s track record of winning votes despite increased enthusiasm for the proposals.

Keep Reading Show less

A new comprehensive report has found that many remote learning apps used during the pandemic tracked students and shared their information with advertisers for targeted ads.

The report by Human Rights Watch examined 164 ed tech tools and websites used in the US and 48 other countries and found that 89% of the apps "appeared to engage in data practices that put children’s rights at risk.” Some of those apps were found to be sharing that data with marketers and data brokers.

Keep Reading Show less

Just weeks after one of the Terra blockchain's signature cryptocurrencies collapsed, here comes the reboot.

Token holders approved a plan to relaunch the Terra blockchain and distribute new tokens of the luna cryptocurrency by a wide margin Wednesday morning. Do Kwon, the crypto entrepreneur behind Terra, offered the plan as a way to salvage the Terra blockchain after luna and the connected UST algorithmic stablecoin, also known as TerraUSD, lost nearly all value in a sell-off after it lost its peg to the dollar earlier this month.

Keep Reading Show less

Lyft has joined Uber, Meta, Robinhood and a slew of other tech companies in slowing hiring and focusing on critical open roles, though the company is reportedly not planning layoffs, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Keep Reading Show less

Tesla is pushing for changes to Texas’ energy market rules that would allow anyone with solar panels or battery storage to essentially sell excess power back to the grid. The company wants residential owners to be able to participate in the market, including, of course, owners of Tesla's residential products, like its Powerwall.

Tesla is framing its ask as a bid to insulate the Texas grid from the kinds of demand spikes that have caused major blackouts in the past: a gesture of good corporate citizenship, if you will. It doesn’t hurt that it would come with the added benefit of making Tesla’s products even more attractive.

Keep Reading Show less

LAS VEGAS - The software industry is in the midst of a tumultuous time. But at ServiceNow, CEO Bill McDermott is nothing but optimistic about the vendor’s outlook.

Keep Reading Show less

ClickUp laid off 7% of its staff on Monday morning, in a move that was called “unexpected” by several laid-off employees on LinkedIn. CEO Zeb Evans told Protocol the goal was to ensure ClickUp’s profitability and efficiency in the future.

"Yesterday, we made restructuring changes to optimize our business for utmost efficiency," Evans said. "In doing so, this puts us in a position to accelerate our timeline to profitability and ultimately achieve our goal of going public. We are by no means slowing down or pausing hiring, as we plan to hire 250 people this year and 300 more next year."

Keep Reading Show less

Ousted WeWork founder Adam Neumann is moving into crypto.

Flowcarbon, which counts Neumann and his wife Rebekah as co-founders, said Tuesday it has raised $70 million combined in venture funding, led by Andreessen Horowitz's crypto fund, and a token sale. The startup hopes to sell tokenized carbon credits on the blockchain.

Keep Reading Show less

A recent report from Andreessen Horowitz illustrates a sad state of affairs for the fintech industry, which has gotten clobbered in the tech-stocks downdraft. A chart included in the report shows fintech valuations in sharper decline than any other sector, by a significant margin.

Keep Reading Show less

Netflix is setting its sights on gaming beyond mobile, if a survey sent to subscribers this week is any indication. In the survey, the company asked respondents at length about their own gaming habits as well as their familiarity with a variety of game subscription services, including Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation Plus and Apple Arcade.

Keep Reading Show less

A California judge ruled that the sexual harassment case against Tesla can continue in court, despite the fact that the worker who brought the case had previously signed an arbitration agreement giving up her right to sue.

Keep Reading Show less

Startups that soared throughout the pandemic are now feeling the crunch, and on-demand grocery company Gorillas is the latest victim. The company announced Tuesday that it's laying off half its corporate staff, or about 300 employees around the world.

Keep Reading Show less

Netflix is releasing three new games Tuesday and plans to release Exploding Kittens, its most high-profile original game, on May 31, the company announced on Tuesday. Netflix says its catalog now includes 22 games in total.

Keep Reading Show less

Barely more than two weeks after it agreed to stop selling its existing collection of face prints to private entities, facial recognition firm Clearview AI has a brand new plan to sell its software to private companies instead.

Keep Reading Show less

LGBTQ+ workers are generally less satisfied with their employers than their straight, cisgender colleagues are, according to a new report from Glassdoor. But some companies are more popular with their LGBTQ+ employees than others.

Keep Reading Show less

Last year saw a notable jump in ransomware attacks that included exfiltration of data as a component, highlighting an ongoing shift in the way the attacks are monetized, according to Verizon's major annual breach report.

Keep Reading Show less

Snap is the latest tech giant to join The Great Hunkering Down. Like other social media companies that flourished during lockdown, the company is struggling to meet earnings estimates and will slow hiring.

Keep Reading Show less
Bulletins