Earnings

Tesla earnings: Tech manufacturing’s big test

Tesla earnings: Tech manufacturing’s big test
  • Q1 revenue: $5.99 billion (+32% YoY, -19% QoQ vs. $5.8 billion expected)
  • Q1 earnings: $1.24 per share (-42% QoQ vs. -$0.28 per share expected)
  • Full-year guidance: Revenue and profit guidance are "on hold" due to manufacturing uncertainty, Tesla said. For now, the unexpected first-quarter profit marks the first time ever that the company has posted three consecutive quarters in the black.

The big number: Tesla still thinks it can deliver 500,000 new cars this year after reporting 88,496 deliveries in Q1, down from the previous quarter, where it delivered 112,095, but still well above production levels a year prior. Investors were happy with the news, with shares up almost 9% after hours.

People are talking: "Our new products get ramped faster and become profitable sooner," CEO Elon Musk told investors on a Wednesday earnings call. Still, the company warned that "for U.S. factories, it remains uncertain how quickly we and our suppliers will be able to ramp production after resuming operations."

Opportunities: The Model Y sedan's early 2020 rollout was the biggest bright spot in the company's earnings. "We are ahead of the schedule that we were ahead of already," Musk said. "Model Y was profitable already in its first quarter of production, something we haven't achieved with any product in the past." And despite previous high-profile crashes involving the company's autopilot features, Musk told investors that Tesla's self-driving tech is poised to eclipse competitors by "orders of magnitude," akin to Google's dominance in search engines. As ecommerce takes over the quarantined world, Musk also floated an Amazon-inspired vision for how his company might disrupt auto sales: "If you really went fast, I think you could order a car in probably 90 seconds," he said.

Threats: Uncertainty at Tesla hinges on how fast and how smoothly the automaker can get factories up and running as governments lift coronavirus lockdowns. It's an area of regulatory friction and employee anxiety that Tesla already grappled with after the delayed closing of its Silicon Valley manufacturing hub in mid-March. This month, Tesla furloughed nonessential factory workers and temporarily cut pay for all personnel but said it planned to be back up and running by May 4. This week, Bay Area governments extended shelter-in-place orders through the end of May. It is so far unclear how some special exceptions for manufacturers could apply to Tesla.

The power struggle: Wednesday's earning ended abruptly after Musk was asked about ongoing shelter-in-place orders and called the measures "facist." "Give people back their god damn freedom," he said, in line with tweets earlier in the week to "FREE AMERICA NOW." Though he emerged early in the coronavirus crisis as a skeptic of drastic government shutdowns, whether that tension boils over into spats with government officials over the reopening of Tesla's factories in affected areas could have major financial implications for the automaker in a key production period.

Climate

The West’s drought could bring about a data center reckoning

When it comes to water use, data centers are the tech industry’s secret water hogs — and they could soon come under increased scrutiny.

Lake Mead, North America's largest artificial reservoir, has dropped to about 1,052 feet above sea level, the lowest it's been since being filled in 1937.

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The West is parched, and getting more so by the day. Lake Mead — the country’s largest reservoir — is nearing “dead pool” levels, meaning it may soon be too low to flow downstream. The entirety of the Four Corners plus California is mired in megadrought.

Amid this desiccation, hundreds of the country’s data centers use vast amounts of water to hum along. Dozens cluster around major metro centers, including those with mandatory or voluntary water restrictions in place to curtail residential and agricultural use.

Keep Reading Show less
Lisa Martine Jenkins

Lisa Martine Jenkins is a senior reporter at Protocol covering climate. Lisa previously wrote for Morning Consult, Chemical Watch and the Associated Press. Lisa is currently based in Brooklyn, and is originally from the Bay Area. Find her on Twitter ( @l_m_j_) or reach out via email (ljenkins@protocol.com).

Every day, millions of us press the “order” button on our favorite coffee store's mobile application: Our chosen brew will be on the counter when we arrive. It’s a personalized, seamless experience that we have all come to expect. What we don’t know is what’s happening behind the scenes. The mobile application is sourcing data from a database that stores information about each customer and what their favorite coffee drinks are. It is also leveraging event-streaming data in real time to ensure the ingredients for your personal coffee are in supply at your local store.

Applications like this power our daily lives, and if they can’t access massive amounts of data stored in a database as well as stream data “in motion” instantaneously, you — and millions of customers — won’t have these in-the-moment experiences.

Keep Reading Show less
Jennifer Goforth Gregory
Jennifer Goforth Gregory has worked in the B2B technology industry for over 20 years. As a freelance writer she writes for top technology brands, including IBM, HPE, Adobe, AT&T, Verizon, Epson, Oracle, Intel and Square. She specializes in a wide range of technology, such as AI, IoT, cloud, cybersecurity, and CX. Jennifer also wrote a bestselling book The Freelance Content Marketing Writer to help other writers launch a high earning freelance business.
Workplace

Indeed is hiring 4,000 workers despite industry layoffs

Indeed’s new CPO, Priscilla Koranteng, spoke to Protocol about her first 100 days in the role and the changing nature of HR.

"[Y]ou are serving the people. And everything that's happening around us in the world is … impacting their professional lives."

Image: Protocol

Priscilla Koranteng's plans are ambitious. Koranteng, who was appointed chief people officer of Indeed in June, has already enhanced the company’s abortion travel policies and reinforced its goal to hire 4,000 people in 2022.

She’s joined the HR tech company in a time when many other tech companies are enacting layoffs and cutbacks, but said she sees this precarious time as an opportunity for growth companies to really get ahead. Koranteng, who comes from an HR and diversity VP role at Kellogg, is working on embedding her hybrid set of expertise in her new role at Indeed.

Keep Reading Show less
Amber Burton

Amber Burton (@amberbburton) is a reporter at Protocol. Previously, she covered personal finance and diversity in business at The Wall Street Journal. She earned an M.S. in Strategic Communications from Columbia University and B.A. in English and Journalism from Wake Forest University. She lives in North Carolina.

Climate

New Jersey could become an ocean energy hub

A first-in-the-nation bill would support wave and tidal energy as a way to meet the Garden State's climate goals.

Technological challenges mean wave and tidal power remain generally more expensive than their other renewable counterparts. But government support could help spur more innovation that brings down cost.

Photo: Jeremy Bishop via Unsplash

Move over, solar and wind. There’s a new kid on the renewable energy block: waves and tides.

Harnessing the ocean’s power is still in its early stages, but the industry is poised for a big legislative boost, with the potential for real investment down the line.

Keep Reading Show less
Lisa Martine Jenkins

Lisa Martine Jenkins is a senior reporter at Protocol covering climate. Lisa previously wrote for Morning Consult, Chemical Watch and the Associated Press. Lisa is currently based in Brooklyn, and is originally from the Bay Area. Find her on Twitter ( @l_m_j_) or reach out via email (ljenkins@protocol.com).

Entertainment

Watch 'Stranger Things,' play Neon White and more weekend recs

Don’t know what to do this weekend? We’ve got you covered.

Here are our picks for your long weekend.

Image: Annapurna Interactive; Wizard of the Coast; Netflix

Kick off your long weekend with an extra-long two-part “Stranger Things” finale; a deep dive into the deckbuilding games like Magic: The Gathering; and Neon White, which mashes up several genres, including a dating sim.

Keep Reading Show less
Nick Statt

Nick Statt is Protocol's video game reporter. Prior to joining Protocol, he was news editor at The Verge covering the gaming industry, mobile apps and antitrust out of San Francisco, in addition to managing coverage of Silicon Valley tech giants and startups. He now resides in Rochester, New York, home of the garbage plate and, completely coincidentally, the World Video Game Hall of Fame. He can be reached at nstatt@protocol.com.

Latest Stories
Bulletins