Elon Musk tweeted then deleted an anti-vaccine cartoon featuring Bill Gates. Here’s where their simmering feud began and how it’s escalated amid the pandemic.

Elon Musk Bill Gates
Elon Musk and Bill Gates.

  • The Elon Musk-Bill Gates feud dates back to early 2020 when Gates commented on electric cars.
  • The two moguls appear to fundamentally disagree about the coronavirus as well.
  • In April, Musk tweeted and deleted an anti-vaccine cartoon featuring Gates.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Bill Gates and Elon Musk don’t exactly see eye to eye.

While the Microsoft billionaire and the Tesla and SpaceX titan have never had a particularly cozy relationship, things have heated up over the past year as the two have openly sparred about everything from electric vehicles to the coronavirus.

The two moguls are among the world’s wealthiest, eclipsed only by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. While their public spats may not always be serious, they do appear to fundamentally disagree about the coronavirus – and as major players in virus treatment and the vaccine to protect against it, their clashes carry even more weight.

Here’s where the friction between Gates and Musk began and everything that’s happened since.

Gates doesn’t appear to be a fan of Tesla vehicles, and he’s said as much publicly.

Bill Gates
Bill Gates.

In February 2020, Gates said during an interview with the YouTuber Marques Brownlee that while Tesla had helped to drive innovation and adoption of electric vehicles, he recently bought a Porsche Taycan.

Gates’ comments didn’t get by Musk, who tweeted that his conversations with Gates had always been “underwhelming.”

Elon Musk
Elon Musk.

Source: Elon Musk/Twitter

But things really heated up in July when Gates took issue with Musk’s comments on the coronavirus pandemic.

Bill Gates
Bill Gates.

In an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Gates criticized Musk’s comments on the virus and implied that Musk shouldn’t be speaking about the pandemic at all.

“Elon’s positioning is to maintain a high level of outrageous comments,” Gates said. “He’s not much involved in vaccines. He makes a great electric car. And his rockets work well. So he’s allowed to say these things. I hope that he doesn’t confuse areas he’s not involved in too much.”

Gates and Musk are involved in fighting the coronavirus, with Gates pledging $100 million to fight the virus via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Musk redirecting Tesla resources to source and produce ventilators and teaming up with the German biotech firm CureVac — in which Gates is an investor — to make a device to aid in vaccine production.

But since last March, Musk has frequently downplayed the severity of the virus and strongly criticized stay-at-home orders. He’s promoted the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the virus, falsely said that children are immune to it, and questioned coronavirus-deaths data.

Musk also said last year that there would be “close to zero new cases” by the end of April 2020. The death toll in the US alone recently surpassed 500,000.

The comments struck a nerve with Musk, who taunted Gates on Twitter.

elon musk
Elon Musk.

Musk jokingly posted multiple tweets about Gates, including “Billy G is not my lover” and “The rumor that Bill Gates & I are lovers is completely untrue.”


In September, Musk tweeted that Gates had “no clue” about electric trucks.

Bill Gates
Bill Gates.

In August, Gates wrote a blog post about electric vehicles that questioned whether it was practical to make vehicles like 18-wheelers fully electric.

Though he didn’t mention Tesla, the company does produce a semi.

A few weeks later, a Twitter user asked Musk about his opinion of Gates’ comments, to which Musk replied, “He has no clue.”

Musk called Gates a “knucklehead” for criticizing his coronavirus efforts.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk.

During a podcast interview published in September, The New York Times’ Kara Swisher asked Musk about his feelings about the virus, including whether he planned to get vaccinated.

Musk defended himself against Gates’ comments, saying he’d spent time with Harvard University epidemiologists “doing antibody studies” and noting Tesla’s work with CureVac.

“Gates said something about me not knowing what I was doing,” Musk told Swisher. “It’s like, ‘Hey, knucklehead, we actually make the vaccine machines for CureVac, that company you’re invested in.'”

In November, Musk surpassed Gates as the world’s second-richest person.

elon musk happy.JPG
Elon Musk celebrates after the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft in May 2020.

Since then, he and Jeff Bezos have flip-flopped as the world’s richest. His net worth currently stands at $175 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index

Gates recently made a jab at Musk’s focus on rockets, but did also issue him a rare compliment.

Bill Gates
Bill Gates.

During an appearance on Kara Swisher’s “Sway” podcast in February, Gates said he’s not interested in pouring his money into outer space projects like his fellow billionaires, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. 

“No, I’m not a Mars person. I know a lot of Mars people,” Gates said. “I don’t think rockets are the solution. But maybe I’m missing something there.”

He went on to say that he’d rather spend his money on vaccines here on Earth than on space travel. 

But Gates did issue a rare compliment to Musk, calling what Musk has accomplished with Tesla “one of the greatest contributions to climate change anyone’s ever made.”

“Underestimating Elon is not a good idea,” he said.

Gates has also taken issue with the mania surrounding cryptocurrencies, which Musk has helped fuel online.

Bill Gates speaking on a panel .JPG
Bill Gates.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Gates shared his thoughts on cryptocurrencies.

He noted how much energy bitcoin uses, making it not very environmentally friendly. He also warned investors not to dump money into bitcoin like Tesla has.

“Elon has tons of money and he’s very sophisticated, so I don’t worry that his Bitcoin will sort of randomly go up or down,” Gates told Bloomberg.

“I do think people get bought into these manias, who may not have as much money to spare, so I’m not bullish on Bitcoin, and my general thought would be that, if you have less money than Elon, you should probably watch out,” he said. 

Musk recently tweeted, then deleted, an anti-vaccine political cartoon about Gates.

Elon Musk

The cartoon, originally created by conservative artist Ben Garrison, depicted Gates as the mastermind of a coronavirus response plan that included making people afraid, locking the country down, and then launching a “Mandatory Vaccine Rollout.”

In Musk’s version, which wasn’t sanctioned by Garrison, the last stage of the plan is a “Zune relaunch,” in reference to Microsoft’s discontinued MP3 player. 

Musk captioned the image: “Soon u will feel strange desire for Zune …” He deleted the tweet roughly two hours later. 

Gates has been at the center of conspiracy theories about the coronavirus since last year, including one theory that claimed, without evidence, that Gates wanted to use COVID-19 vaccines to implant microchips into people. 

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Tesla just hiked the prices of its most popular cars – here’s how much each model will set you back

Tesla Lineup
Tesla’s cars range in price from around $40,000 to $150,000

  • Tesla sells four models – the Model S, 3, X, and Y – in several different trim levels.
  • Options for them include different interior colors, extra seats, and performance packages.
  • Teslas range in price from roughly $40,000 to $150,000.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tesla is known to quietly raise and lower prices seemingly at random.

In October, Tesla CEO Elon Musk dropped the price of the Model S sedan to $69,420 after rival Lucid announced its sedan would start at $69,900. And in March, the company hiked the price for four of its models by up to $10,000. On Friday, it raised the cost of some Model 3 and Model Y trims by up to $1,000.

With price changes on a constant basis, it can be tough to keep track of it all. Those shopping for a new Tesla can consult this guide to understand the latest prices of the Tesla Model S, 3, X, and Y, and how the models stack up.

Although add-ons vary between models, any Tesla can be optioned with the $10,000 “full self-driving” driver-assistance package, which doesn’t currently make Teslas fully autonomous.

Model S

Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model S.

Launched in 2012, the Model S sedan is Tesla’s longest-running model. The luxury four-door got an overhaul at the top of 2021, which included an updated exterior and a controversial new steering yoke. It’s the choice for EV buyers who have a little more to spend and don’t want a crossover.

Here’s how each Model S breaks down:

  • Long Range: For $79,990, the base Model S delivers an estimated range of 375 miles, a top speed of 155 mph, and a 0-60-mph time of 3.1 seconds.
  • Plaid: The $119,990 Model S Plaid, whose name is a reference to the movie “Space Balls,” travels 350 miles on a charge, hits a top speed of 200 mph, and sprints to 60 mph in 1.99 seconds, Tesla says. Both Plaid models have three motors good for more than 1,000 horsepower.
  • Plaid Plus: The $149,990 Plaid Plus is the most advanced Model S yet. Tesla says it will do 0-60 mph in under two seconds, has a top speed of 200 mph, and has a range of more than 520 miles. Deliveries are set to start in 2022.

A paint color other than white will run you $1,500 to $2,500, 21-inch wheels cost $4,500, and a white or off-white interior costs $2,500.

Model 3

Tesla Model 3 update
Tesla Model 3.

With the debut of the Model 3 in 2017, Tesla made good on its promise to build a more affordable vehicle than the Model S or Model X that came before it. And since it launched, the Model 3 has proved wildly successful, becoming both Tesla’s most popular model and the overall best-selling EV in the world in 2020.

The Model 3 comes in three flavors:

  • Standard Range Plus: The $38,490 base Model 3 gets an estimated range of 263 miles, a top speed of 140 mph, and a 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds.
  • Long Range: The $47,490 Long Range model has an EPA-estimated range of 353 miles
  • Performance: For $56,990, the sporty Model 3 Performance delivers a 315-mile range, a top speed of 162 mph, and a 0-60-mph time of 3.1 seconds. It also has a lowered suspension, better brakes, and 20-inch wheels as standard.

A paint color other than white will set you back $1,000 to $2,000, 19-inch rims cost $1,500, and a white interior – as opposed to the standard black – costs a $1,000 premium.

Read more: Don’t blame bitcoin for Tesla’s stock slide – it’s high-time faithful investors took some profits

Model X

Tesla Model X
Tesla Model X.

The Model X crossover is Tesla’s second-oldest model behind the Model S. It hit the market in 2015.

There are two versions of the Model X:

  • Long Range: For $89,990, the dual-motor base Model X delivers 350 miles of estimated range and a 155-mph top speed.
  • Plaid: The $119,990 Plaid version steps things up a notch with three motors that Tesla says put out 1,020 horsepower. Tesla says the high-performance crossover will have a 330-mile range and a 0-60-mph time of 2.5 seconds when deliveries start in May.

Like on Tesla’s other vehicles, a white paint job comes standard – black, silver, blue, or red will run you $1,500 to $2,500. Five seats come standard, and a six-seat or seven-seat layout costs $6,500 and $3,500, respectively.

A white or cream interior costs $2,000, while bigger rims go for $5,500.

Model Y

Model Y Sunset White
Tesla Model Y.

Starting deliveries in early 2020, the Model Y compact crossover is Tesla’s newest vehicle. It’s based on the same platform as the Model 3, but has more cargo capacity, rides higher, and has a general shape more like the Model X. It’s proving to be a hot seller just like its sedan sibling.

The Model Y comes in two versions:

  • Long Range: The $50,490 base vehicle has an EPA-estimated range of 326 miles, a top speed of 135 mph, and makes the sprint to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds.
  • Performance: The sportier option costs $60,990, and although it gets a lower range of 303 miles, it makes up for it in performance upgrades. The crossover accelerates to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, has a higher top speed, and comes with bigger wheels, better brakes, and a lowered suspension.

There’s also a more affordable Standard Range model that Tesla briefly sold starting in January. Elon Musk said on Twitter it’s still available as an off-menu option.

Buyers can shell out an extra $1,000 for a tow hitch, $1,000 for a white interior, and $3,000 for third-row seating. A non-white paint job costs $1,000 to $2,000, while bigger rims command $2,000.

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Ford’s new Mustang Mach-E reportedly faces software glitch that’s left some owners unable to drive

2021 Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD
2021 Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD

  • Some owners of Ford’s brand new electric vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E, have reported battery issues.
  • Its smaller battery can reportedly stop charging when the car is plugged in, leaving it unusable.
  • Ford recently filed a service bulletin with a US safety agency disclosing the issue
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Some owners of Ford’s new Mach-E electric vehicle are reporting issues with charging their SUVs that leave them unable to drive.

As the Verge first reported, there appears to be a problem with some early Mustang Mach-E vehicles that cause the car to “brick” – that is, it’s unable to start.

Owners report that the issue occured when they tried to start their cars after leaving their cars plugged in to charge. According to the Verge, the car’s rechargeable lithium battery will sometimes stop feeding power to its smaller 12-volt battery when the car is plugged in. The result, the Verge reports, is the 12-volt battery has no power and dies, leaving the car unable to start.

Read more: Ford’s global business chief explains how it’s spending $6 billion to create US jobs in an EV-focused future

This issue is reflected in a service bulletin Ford filed with the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on March 25. In the bulletin, Ford disclosed that some early Mach-E vehicles “may exhibit the 12-volt battery becoming discharged while the vehicle is plugged in during the high voltage charging process.”

Ford did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

The “low voltage” issue affects some cars built on or before February 3, 2021, according to Ford. The car maker did not provide a number of affected cars, but told the Verge that a “small number” of Mach-E cars have the issue.

Currently, owners can only get the issue fixed by bringing their Mach-E into a local Ford dealer equipped to deal with electric vehicles, according to the report. Ford told the Verge that Mach-E owners will be able to fix the battery issue with a wireless software update “later this year.”

Ford only put the Mustang Mach-E on the market in late 2020. Ford reported it sold more than 6,500 Mach-Es in its first three months of production.

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General Motors rises 4% after it confirms plans to sell all-electric Chevy Silverado pickup truck

2020 Chevrolet Silverado
Chevrolet Silverado.


Shares of General Motors extended their gains on Tuesday to as much as 4% after the company confirmed plans to sell an all-electric Chevy Silverado pickup truck.

GM made the announcement at a media event at its factory in Detroit, Michigan. The all-electric Silverado will be built in the same factory as the Hummer EV and utilize the same Ultium battery technology platform that is unique to the company.

The move comes as the 112 year-old car manufacturer accelerates its transition from internal combustion engines to battery powered electric motors with the upcoming launch of the Hummer EV.

Investors are cheering GM’s pivot, given that its stock price has more than doubled since it doubled down on its its electric vehicle plans last October.

The electric Silverado will have 400 miles in range on a single charge and is expected to be released in 2023 or 2024, according to a report from Car and Driver.

“The GMC Hummer EV SUV joins its stablemate in the realm of true supertrucks, and Chevrolet will take everything Chevy’s loyal truck buyers love about Silverado, and more, and put it into an electric pickup that will delight retail and commercial customers alike,” said GM President Mark Reuss.

But GM will be facing increased competition in the EV pickup truck space once the Silverado EV launches, as battery-powered trucks from Rivian, Tesla, and Lordstown Motors are expected to be available for sale by then. But the EV Silverado’s most direct competitor will likely be Ford’s highly anticipated electric F-150, which is expected to launch in 2022.

gm charrt.JPG
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General Motors has unveiled a new all-electric Hummer SUV to accompany the EV pickup due in the fall

gmc hummer
2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV.

General Motors has doubled up on its electric vehicle (EV) offering with an announcement on Saturday of its second all-electric Hummers.

GM already announced its upcoming EV Hummer pickup, which is scheduled to go on sale this fall – its first model of the American classic in 11 years.

Hummer is the latest brand to jump on the electrification bandwagon, with Volkswagen also gearing up to take on Tesla with its Mission T project.

Herbert Diess, Volkswagen’s CEO, has committed to offering a fully electric vehicle for each of its stable of brands, including Audi, Bentley, and Porsche, by 2025.

Duncan Aldred, global vice president of GMC, said in a statement: “The GMC Hummer EVs were envisioned to be the most capable and compelling electric supertrucks ever.”

Following a similar pricing structure to that of the pickup, the base model SUV comes in at about $80,000. A special Edition 1 launch model – with its “extreme off-road package”- costs $110,595.

Pricing varies based on the range and battery size of the vehicle.

GM said it will produce the highest-priced models in early 2023, with the less expensive versions coming in spring 2024.

Hummer’s EV Edition 1 pickup coming this falls has already sold out. It starts at $112,595.

2020 hummer ev reveal infinityroof 013 GMC Hummer BT1XX FN RoofOFF v1 1
Hummer EV Pickup.

The base model SUV’s range is estimated to be around 250 miles to 300-plus miles, depending on the model.

The Hummer EV SUV debuted during an ad narrated by NBA star LeBron James during the NCAA’s Final Four game between the Baylor Bears and Houston Cougars on CBS.

FILE PHOTO: Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveils the Cybertruck at the TeslaDesign Studio in Hawthorne, Calif. The cracked window glass occurred during a demonstration on the strength of the glass.Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY/File Photo
Elon Musk with his Tesla Cybertruck.

These latest Hummer models will be competing against several other vehicles, including Tesla’s ‘Cybertruck‘, a futuristic-looking EV pickup that joins the roster of the company’s sports cars. The Cybertruck made headlines at its launch after its “armour glass” windows shattered twice during CEO Elon Musk’s presentation.

CEO Elon Musk unveiled the $39,900 truck in Los Angeles in November 2019.

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GMC just unveiled its $100,000 Hummer EV SUV with 830-horsepower that will hit streets in 2023

[EMBARGO APRIL 3 5PM DO NOT USE] GMC Hummer EV SUV
2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV.

  • GMC on Saturday unveiled its first electric SUV – the 2024 Hummer EV SUV.
  • The “Edition 1” Hummer EV SUV will hit streets in early 2023 and cost roughly $106,000.
  • By 2024, GMC plans to sell an $80,000 version with a 250-mile range and more than 600 horsepower.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

General Motors has teased for months that its upcoming electric pickup truck, the GMC Hummer EV, would gain an SUV stablemate at some point down the line. Now it’s finally here.

GMC offered the first real glimpse of the 2024 Hummer EV SUV on Saturday in a commercial that aired during the NCAA Final Four. The so-called “supertruck” is available to reserve now, and the first models will hit streets in early 2023, GMC said.

Like its pickup sibling that debuted in October, the Hummer EV SUV comes packed with features targeted at off-roading. Saturday’s LeBron James-narrated spot highlighted capabilities like “extract mode,” which lifts the vehicle by several inches at the push of a button, and “crab walk,” which turns all four wheels so the SUV can drive diagonally.

[EMBARGO 4/3 5PM DO NOT USE] GMC Hummer EV SUV 3
2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV.

The Hummer EV SUV debuts with a roughly $106,000 “Edition 1” model that will be available in early 2023, and an available off-road package brings the Edition 1’s MSRP to just over $110,000. The Edition 1 will deliver up to 830 horsepower and a range of at least 300 miles, GMC said.

As with the pickup version, GMC plans to sell a series of more affordable Hummer SUV models following the Edition 1’s launch.

Read more:The president of the Environmental Defense Fund explains his surprising alliance with GM as the carmaker goes electric

The EV2x and EV3x versions, which will cost $90,000 and $100,000, respectively, will hit the market in spring 2023. A base-model EV2 version will sell for $80,000 starting in 2024, offering at least 250 miles of range and up to 625 horsepower, GMC said.

[EMBARGO 4/3 5PM DO NOT USE] GMC Hummer EV SUV 3
2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV.

Those high price tags mean that despite its promises of off-road capability, the Hummer EV SUV is more likely to steal shoppers away from a high-end Mercedes G-Wagen or Range Rover than from a rugged Jeep Wrangler.

GMC said it will release additional information about the new model on Monday.

GM shuttered the Hummer brand in 2010 amid rising gas prices and a global recession, but it’s given the gas-guzzling nameplate an unexpected second life as a brand for upscale, off-roadable, zero-emission vehicles. Hummer’s resurrection comes as part of GM’s larger electrification push.

The Detroit automaker announced in January that it won’t sell any gas-powered vehicles after 2035. In November, it said it will commit $27 billion toward the development of electric and autonomous vehicles.

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Tesla is on a collision course with Germany’s biggest union and neither side is likely to back down

Tesla Berlin Gigafactory
Tesla’s Berlin Gigafactory will be the cornerstone of its European strategy.

  • Tesla is building a giant plant in Germany, but it hasn’t yet made nice with the mighty auto union there.
  • IG Metall will likely make life difficult for Tesla, which hasn’t agreed to the industry’s collective wage agreements.
  • A battle with the union could threaten Tesla’s ambitious plans for the European market.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As Tesla works to get its mammoth new factory in Germany up and running by the summer, disturbing delicate reptile habitats may be the least of Elon Musk’s worries.

After sparring with locals over everything from water supply to deforestation, there may be an even larger threat looming: Germany’s largest union.

Tesla hasn’t made many friends of labor activists in the US, and the 2.2-million-strong IG Metall isn’t likely to go down without a fight, experts told Insider. A prolonged battle over contracts with the group – which wields considerable political influence and social capital – could derail Tesla’s ambitious plans for the European market.

A standoff over contracts

Virtually every car company operating in Germany is a member of an employers’ association, and IG Metall – which represents metalworkers in the auto industry and other sectors – negotiates industry-wide contracts with the group instead of bargaining with each company individually. That system gives the country’s unions considerably more negotiating power than their US counterparts, which vote to unionize plant by plant.

But there’s a catch – joining the association isn’t required by law, it’s only customary. And Tesla has made every indication it’s not interested in following that deep-rooted norm.

Gigafactory Berlin getty 1
Tesla aims to complete Gigafactory Berlin by July.

The carmaker has caught heat for union-busting tactics in the US – the National Labor Relations Board ruled in March that Musk must delete an anti-union tweet and reinstate a fired employee who was part of an organizing drive – and it has signaled it’s not keen on working with unions in Germany either.

Tesla ignored a letter from IG Metall inviting a dialogue last year. And it went to great lengths to pacify disgruntled union members at Tesla Grohmann Automation, an engineering firm it acquired in 2016, without entering the industry’s collective agreement. Instead, the carmaker fended off a strike by giving workers a deal that was comparable to the industry-wide wage (plus stock options).

It could try to pull the same play at Gigafactory Berlin.

The stakes are high for IG Metall

But IG Metall likely wants to avoid that scenario at all costs, Stephen Silvia, a professor at American University whose research focuses on comparative labor relations, told Insider.

Allowing a massive non-union plant to build cars in Germany would set the dangerous precedent that companies don’t need to engage in collective bargaining, he said. It would also mean thousands of members would potentially go without the contractually enforced job security, wages, and benefits the rest of the industry enjoys.

Read more: The true disrupter in the auto industry isn’t Tesla – it’s Fisker

Moreover, IG Metall stands to lose bargaining power with other automakers if it can’t get Tesla to play ball, said Arthur Wheaton, an automotive industry expert at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. It’s especially crucial that IG Metall preserve all the sway it can at a time when carmakers are pivoting to EV production, which, Wheaton said, requires roughly 30% fewer workers than traditional auto manufacturing.

“It’s all about labor density,” he said. “Every plant that opens that’s not unionized hurts [IG Metall’s] power.”

The union can make life difficult for Tesla

Given the stakes, IG Metall is likely to employ a whole menu of strategies to bring Tesla to its side. And there’s no guarantee that any of it will bear fruit. Amazon, for example, has for years resisted calls from Germany’s service-sector union, Verdi, to recognize collective bargaining agreements.

Silvia, who has spoken to the union about its plans, anticipates a public relations campaign and protests to exert political and social pressure on Tesla to “be a good corporate citizen.”

“It’s very difficult to force a completely unwilling company,” Silvia said. “They’ll just have to make [Tesla’s] life as uncomfortable as possible.”

Gigafactory Berlin Getty
Tesla plans to manufacture 500,000 cars per year at the factory.

IG Metall could also organize rolling strikes, though there are restrictions on how long they can last and when they can occur. Grey-area “guerilla actions” – like slowing down work at a Tesla supplier where IG Metall might have members – may also be in the union’s playbook, Silvia said.

IG Metall may also try to influence Tesla’s leadership from within. The carmaker will be required by law to allow Gigafactory Berlin employees to form a works council – a group that represents the interests of the factory’s workforce – and IG Metall could make sure it’s stacked with members, according to Silvia.

Wheaton, however, thinks IG Metall’s main weapon for putting the squeeze on Tesla is blocking the completion of the factory altogether. IG Metall could work with environmentalist groups to slow down construction, he said.

Since beginning work on Gigafactory Berlin in early 2020, Tesla has faced setbacks from environmental activists and regulators over issues like deforestation, water usage, and the well-being of wildlife surrounding the construction site. And it has encountered delays over procedural problems having to do with work permits and deposits.

The stakes are high for Tesla, too

The carmaker likely wants to avoid any more stumbles as it looks to get the plant, which forms the cornerstone of its European strategy, online by July. Tesla aims to eventually build 500,000 European-market cars per year and produce its next-generation battery cells at the facility, and a protracted struggle with IG Metall could impede those plans.

Getting the factory up to speed as quickly and as smoothly as possible is critical for Tesla as it works to scale production worldwide and defend its market share from a growing number of EV-making rivals, most notably German automaker Volkswagen.

Tesla did not return Insider’s request for comment on whether it is open to joining the collective wage agreement.

Gigafactory Berlin
Tesla is “just another company” to IG Metall.

IG Metall, for its part, said it’s approaching Tesla as it would any other manufacturer looking to open up a facility in Germany. Union representatives did not respond to Insider’s request for an interview but the chairman of IG Metall Berlin Jan Otto told Insider in an emailed statement that he doesn’t “feel any frustration towards Tesla and the new Gigafactory in Grünheide.”

“It is our job to organize people and negotiate collective agreements once we have reached more than 60/70% of the workers. In the past, we have organized thousands of workers in new and old companies,” Otto continued. “Tesla is a big player, but for us, it is just another company.”

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Tesla reveals record quarterly sales despite supply chain struggles

Tesla Shanghai China Factory
Tesla TKed Wall Street’s expectations.

  • Tesla sold 184,800 vehicles in the first three months of 2021.
  • The number is slightly above what analysts on Wall Street had expected.
  • The carmaker battled supply-chain snafus including a worldwide shortage of semiconductor chips.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tesla on Friday announced better-than-expected car sales for the first three months of 2021, despite major production and supply-chain headwinds.

The electric-car maker delivered 184,800 vehicles in the first quarter, topping Wall Street’s expectations. The carmaker sold 182,780 of its Model 3 and Model Y, along with 2,020 of its higher-end Model S and Model X. Tesla does not break down its sales by individual model.

Tesla said it saw strong demand for the Model Y in China and that it will continue to speed up production of the refreshed Model X and Model S.

Shares of the automaker sank slightly, about 0.5% in extended trading Friday, though most major stock exchanges were closed for Good Friday. The stock sold off just shy of 1% on Thursday in the lead-up to the announcement.

Analysts largely expected Tesla would continue the rapid pace of production it achieved during the last three months of 2020, as it pulled out all the stops to deliver 499,550 cars before the year’s end. Consensus on Tuesday stood at 173,800 units for the quarter.

Overall production numbers came in at 180,338, Tesla said. Both figures could change slightly, about 0.5%, as paperwork is finalized.

The carmaker faced major headwinds in the first quarter including a global shortage of semiconductors that has kneecapped auto manufacturing worldwide, idling production lines and forcing automakers to build cars without certain components as they await chips.

Read more:The CEO of a top battery startup shares what he learned about business from joining Tesla as employee number 7

In January, Tesla CFO Zach Kirkhorn warned of obstacles Tesla would face in the first quarter, including the semiconductor issue.

“Specifically for Q1, our volumes will have the benefit of early Model Y ramp in Shanghai,” Kirkhorn said on a conference call. “However, S and X production will be low due to the transition to the newly architected products. Additionally, we’re working extremely hard to manage through the global semiconductor shortage as well as port capacity, which may have a temporary impact.”

In February, Tesla temporarily halted production at its Fremont, California, factory, and CEO Elon Musk attributed the break to “parts shortages.” Production stoppages aren’t uncommon for carmakers, and they’ve become more frequent as the chip shortage drags on.

Wall Street expects Tesla to sell more than 800,000 vehicles in 2021, with production capacity aided by new factories that are set to come online in Germany and Texas.

Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives said in a Friday note that he now expects Tesla to deliver more than 850,000 cars in 2021, as demand for EVs grows globally and as President Joe Biden signals a commitment to green infrastructure.

“We believe these delivery numbers are a paradigm and sentiment shifter for the space going forward. Its been a brutal sell off for Tesla and EVs, but we believe that will now be in the rear view mirror,” Ives said.

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Tesla is about to reveal how many cars it sold in the first quarter of 2021 – here’s what to expect

Tesla
Tesla is on track to deliver more than 800,000 cars in 2021, according to Wall Street analysts.

  • Tesla will announce how many cars it sold in the first three months of 2021 as soon as Thursday.
  • Wall Street estimates range from around 152,000 to 174,000 deliveries, with a consensus of 172,000.
  • The semiconductor shortage, redesigned vehicles, and a production pause may have slowed production.
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Tesla is set to release first quarter delivery figures as soon as Thursday, and Wall Street largely expects Elon Musk’s automaker to match its strong output from the final stretch of 2020.

Analyst consensus is that Tesla will deliver 173,800 vehicles in the three months ended March 31, though estimates range from 151,000 to 174,000 total.

In the final quarter of 2020, Tesla sold more than 180,000 of its Model S, 3, X, and Y vehicles to customers as it raced to meet a 500,000-unit goal set forth by Musk earlier in the year. The carmaker ultimately delivered 499,550 cars in 2020

Investors expect Tesla will build significantly more cars in 2021. Consensus sits at 831,000 units as the company continues to accelerate production at its existing factories, and add new production lines in Germany and Texas.

Read more: 26-year-old Austin Russell is out to prove Elon Musk wrong about lidar. Here’s how to nail an interview with Luminar, his booming startup.

But 2021 began with hurdles for Tesla. In January, CFO Zachary Kirkhorn warned of potential first quarter headwinds, including a redesigned Model S sedan and Model X crossover and an ongoing shortage in semiconductors that has hampered global auto production for all of 2021. A two-week break in production at Tesla’s Fremont, California, factory may have also impacted deliveries.

However, Kirkhorn said, accelerated production of the Model Y at Tesla’s Shanghai plant would be a boon for delivery volumes. The carmaker is building two additional factories – one in Berlin, Germany, and one in Austin, Texas – that are expected to greatly expand its production capacity in 2021 and in years to come.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley project that Tesla’s manufacturing capacity will reach 1.3 million units by the end of 2021, 3 million units by 2025, and nearly 5.5 million by 2030.

The deliveries announcement will come at a critical time for Tesla, amid a wider selloff in the EV space and as the electric-car maker looks to prove to investors that it can continue to scale up production worldwide while avoiding some of the quality-control issues that have plagued it in the past.

The carmaker, a dominant force in EVs for years, is also facing down more competitors than ever before. Ford launched its first mass-market battery-powered vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E, in late 2020, while Volkswagen began delivering its inaugural US-market EV, the ID.4, in March. Upstarts Rivian and Lucid plan to deliver their first vehicles by summer.

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Electric-vehicle stocks jump after Biden infrastructure plan includes $174 billion investment in sector

EVgo charging
Levy, of EVgo, said there is a such thing as moving too quickly.

  • Electric-vehicle stocks moved higher on Wednesday following the release of Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan.
  • The plan would invest $174 billion in the electric-vehicle market to better compete with China.
  • Shares of Tesla, Fisker, and Lordstown Motors were higher by as much as 4% in Wednesday trades.
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The electric-vehicle sector got a boost on Wednesday with the release of President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal.

The bill would carve out $174 billion for the EV sector, as Biden aims to better equip US companies to compete with China, which has a bigger market share of plug-in electric vehicle sales.

Biden’s plan would help automakers retool their factories, invigorate domestic supply chains for raw materials and parts, and “support American workers to make batteries and EVs,” according to a White House fact sheet on the proposal distributed today.

The infrastructure plan would also give rebates and tax incentives to US consumers that buy American-made EVs, and establish grant-and-incentive programs for local governments and the private sector to build a network of half-a-million EV chargers by 2030.

Electrifying the federal fleet of vehicles, US Postal Service vehicles, and at least 20% of school buses are also priorities of the infrastructure plan.

Investors cheered the news, with EV stocks halting their recent multi-month decline and moving higher. EV stocks have been under pressure in recent weeks as a rise in interest rates made these high-growth stocks less appealing relative to more value-oriented cyclical stocks.

Shares of Tesla, Fisker, and Lordstown Motors each traded up as much as 4% in Wednesday trades. Shares of Chinese EV companies also moved higher, with shares of Nio, XPeng, and Li Auto up 1%, 5%, and 7%, respectively.

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