Elon Musk took a swipe at Bill Gates and Microsoft Zune with an edited version of an anti-vaccination cartoon

Elon Musk Bill Gates
Elon Musk and Bill Gates.

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk took a swipe at Bill Gates and Microsoft Zune with an edited political cartoon.
  • The cartoon depicted Gates using the COVID-19 pandemic to reintroduce the MP3 player.
  • “Soon u will feel strange desire for Zune …” Musk wrote. He later deleted the tweet.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk used an anti-vaccine political cartoon to take a swipe at Bill Gates and the Microsoft Zune.

Musk tweeted an edited cartoon, originally created by conservative artist Ben Garrison, depicting an illustrated version of the Microsoft cofounder.

Musk deleted the tweet about two hours later, after it had been shared more than 5,000 times.

The original cartoon carried the title “The Plannedemic.” It appeared to show Gates leaning over a step-by-step plan for instilling fear with the coronavirus pandemic and eventually launching a “Mandatory Vaccine Rollout.”

Elon Musk Zune Bill Gates Microsoft
A Twitter thread by Tesla CEO Elon Musk

In the edited version shared by Musk, the vaccine rollout had been moved forward in the list, and a new final step had been added: “Zune Relaunch.”

“Soon u will feel strange desire for Zune …” Musk wrote just after midnight on the West Coast. In a follow-up Tweet, which was also deleted, he said, “This is actually happening.”

Microsoft’s Zune MP3 player, an iPod competitor, was launched in 2006. The company stopped production on the Zune in 2011.

Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates has long been a vocal proponent of vaccines, including those being used to fight COVID-19.

Some who oppose vaccines have spread conspiracy theories about the billionaire. One such theory claimed, without evidence, that Gates was seeking to secretly implant microchips into the population via COVID-19 vaccines. Gates has shot down such theories.

It’s unclear why Musk deleted the tweet or whether he intended to fuel fears about COVID-19 vaccines by sharing an anti-vaccine cartoon.

The edited version of the cartoon Musk shared moved the “Mandatory Vaccine Rollout” into the spot originally held by “Blame President Trump!” in Garrison’s cartoon. It also cropped the illustration to remove Garrison’s name.

Garrison, a conservative cartoonist who supported President Donald Trump, earlier this year was suspended from Twitter, according to his website.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said in 2017 that Garrison had published cartoons that were “blatantly anti-Semitic.” Last July, Garrison sued the ADL and sought around $10 million in damages, according to a complaint filed in US District Court in Virginia.

Insider has reached out to Garrison for comment.

On his website, Garrison published a statement to accompany the original “The Plannedemic” cartoon.

It reads in part: “Why did a former computer nerd and mogul become so interested in vaccination and disease? Possibly because he’s worth over $100 billion and thinks he owns the world. He also wants to make an impact on humanity. Getting rid of excess humanity, that is.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Tesla raised the prices of its Model 3 and Model Y cars by $500, its 4th price change of the year

elon musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

  • Tesla lifted the prices of its Model 3 Standard Range Plus, Model 3 Long Range AWD, and Model Y Long Range AWD by $500.
  • It also raised the price of its Model 3 Performance by $1,000, to $56,990.
  • It’s the fourth price change of the year for Tesla vehicles.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tesla can’t make up its mind on how much its electric vehicles should cost.

Electrek first reported Friday that Tesla had once again hiked up the US prices of its Model 3 and Model Y cars – marking its fourth price change in 2021 so far.

The Model 3, its cheapest sedan, has been hit by the most price changes this year. In the latest change, Tesla raised the price of the Standard Range Plus from $37,990 to $38,490, and the Long Range AWD from $46,990 to $47,490. The Performance version had an even bigger increase, from $55,990 to $56,990.

Read more: Apple will never deliver a car because it can’t figure out how to work with the automakers who could make it happen

The automaker also raised the price of its Model Y Long Range AWD from $49,990 to $50,490.

Electrek also noted that the Model 3 price hike was accompanied by a small design update, adding a new wooden door trim, which Tesla had already rolled out on Model 3 vehicles produced at its Shanghai, China Gigafactory.

Tesla Model 3 trim
Tesla Model 3s in the US now come with a wooden door panel.

Customers told CNBC that Tesla had double-charged for new cars in mid-March, leaving them with bills of up to $142,000.

A Tesla customer, Terry Oelschlaeger, told Insider’s Kate Duffy he was double-charged for a Tesla Model Y costing nearly $54,000 on March 25, and that a Tesla service center employee told him the error had affected “many” buyers.

The company has since refunded the customers, including Oelschlaeger, and offered them $200 in credit at its online store.

Tesla posted record sales in the first quarter of 2021 despite a worldwide shortage of semiconductor chips. It sold 184,800 vehicles in the first three months of 2021, and Wall Street now expects the electric-vehicle company to sell more than 800,000 cars this year.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Tesla’s CFO is the latest tech executive to buy a home in Texas – see his $3.29 million lake-front Austin home

lake austin downtown skyline
Downtown Austin on May 20, 2020.

  • Tesla CFO Zachary Kirkhorn has bought a $3.29 million home in West Austin.
  • CEO Elon Musk has said he’s moving to Texas, and Tesla and SpaceX have large presences in the state.
  • Texas, and Austin specifically, has attracted tech talent as remote workers move from closed offices.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Another tech executive has turned their eyes to Texas.

Tesla CFO Zachary Kirkhorn has bought a home in Austin, according to public records, proving that the Southern state is further attracting tech talent. Bloomberg first reported the purchase.

The home is on a 2.5-acre lot right on Lake Austin, west of downtown. According to the listing, which you can view below, it has five bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms, and more than 5,000 square feet.

austin home tesla exec
A screenshot of Kirkhorn’s Austin home from Realtor.com.

There’s also a pool lined with trees that faces the lake. Per Travis County documents, the home was purchased by Kirkhorn and his partner, Daniel Naughton. The pair married in early 2018 in California, according to the New York Times. Naughton is a vice president of finance at Remix, a transportation software company, based on his LinkedIn profile.

The document is dated mid-November 2020 and notes that Kirkhorn paid $3.29 million for the house.

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

News of another executive moving to Texas comes after much speculation that tech workers are fleeing the San Francisco Bay Area and California in general. Many remote tech workers and leaders, now untethered from pandemic-shuttered offices, are free to move to more affordable locales.

Many are interested in Texas – a recent analysis from the commercial realty firm CBRE Group found that the number of people who moved from San Francisco to Texas increased by 32.1% between 2019 and 2020.

Austin in particular is attractive. Oracle recently announced that it is moving its headquarters to the city, where it already has a sizable workforce. Dropbox CEO Drew Houston has also said he’s moving to the city, and news surfaced in December that Musk purchased an industrial site for his Boring Company that is located just outside of Austin near his under-construction factory.

Read more: Peek inside the bonkers real-estate scene in Austin, which Musk predicts will be the country’s ‘biggest boomtown’

Tech is booming in the city, but the industry has a long history in Austin, with companies like IBM and Intel well-established around the city.

On Monday, Musk called for more housing to be built in Austin as his companies Tesla and SpaceX look to hire hundreds of employees in Texas. A growing interest in moving to Austin has exacerbated an existing housing shortage in the capital city.

Musk announced in December that he was moving to Texas, though it’s unclear where exactly he’ll be moving.

Last week, Musk pledged $30 million to Brownsville, Texas, which is where his SpaceX rocket facility is located. The announcement was made after a recent SpaceX test flight exploded onsite.

In March, he said he was working to launch a city at SpaceX’s launch site in Texas and name it Starbase.

Read the original article on Business Insider

9.5 million Robinhood users traded cryptocurrencies in the first quarter, compared to 1.7 million in the last quarter of 2020

GettyImages 530148986
Vladimir Tenev, co-founder of Robinhood.

  • Robinhood said the number of customers trading cryptocurrencies on its platform reached 9.5 million in the first quarter.
  • The quarterly figure is a surge from 1.7 million cryptocurrency customers in the final quarter of 2020.
  • Robinhood’s update highlights the fast-growing popularity of digital assets.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Trading app Robinhood said 9.5 million customers traded cryptocurrency during the first quarter of 2021, soaring from 1.7 million crypto traders on the platform in the last quarter of 2020.

Robinhood shared the figure in a blog post on Thursday in which it highlighted its Robinhood Crypto platform that it launched in 2018. “This year in particular has been a big one,” it said about activity in 2021.

There’s been a pickup this year in the number of financial institutions and other companies saying they will allow their customers to use or to gain access to cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology that backs them. Investment bank Goldman Sachs is looking into ways to support their clients’ desire to own cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, CEO David Solomon said Tuesday in a CNBC “Squawk Box” interview. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk last month said the electric vehicle maker will accept bitcoin as payment.

Robinhood said its customers have access to seven tradable coins including bitcoin, dogecoin and ethereum.

“The prospect of an open and decentralized global financial system, one where everyone can have access to financial services, strongly aligned with Robinhood’s mission–so democratizing cryptocurrency trading felt like a natural next step,” said Robinhood.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Tesla refunded customers who were overcharged up to $71,000 on new cars, and gave them $200 to spend at its online store

GettyImages 1288827259
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

  • Tesla customers who were charged twice for a new car were refunded the extra money a week later, CNBC reported.
  • Tesla offered the customers $200 in credit to spend at the company’s online store.
  • The buyers were left with bills of up to $142,000, and were charged for overdraft fees.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tesla has refunded customers who were double-charged for new electric cars in mid-March, and has offered them $200 in credit at its online store, six people told CNBC on Wednesday.

Tesla refunded the extra money about a week after the customers told CNBC that Tesla had charged them twice without authorization and left them with bills of up to $142,000.

The customers said they received the money back on their double charges on or before April 1, but that they also had to pay for overdraft fees from their large bills.

Elon Musk’s car company sent the overcharged customers an email, which they shared with CNBC, that apologized and gave them $200 in credit. Tesla said the credit must be used in a single transaction, would expire on January 30, 2022, and couldn’t be spent on Tesla Tequila.

Tesla didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Three California-based Tesla customers first shared their stories with CNBC in March. CNBC’s journalists reviewed their purchase agreements, correspondence with Tesla, and bank statements.

Clark Peterson, Tom Slattery, and Christopher T. Lee initially told CNBC they had purchased Teslas ranging from $37,000, the price of a Model 3 sedan, to $71,000, the cost of a Model Y crossover SUV with premium features.

A former banking executive from North Carolina, who wanted to remain anonymous for privacy reasons, also told CNBC he was charged twice for a new Model Y costing about $54,000.

Read more: DeepMind’s cofounder partied with Elon Musk for his raucous 40th birthday party on the Orient Express, a new book revealed

These buyers all authorized the payment of their brand-new electric vehicles through ACH direct debit, but the next day found that the money had been taken from their account twice, meaning in total they had spent between $74,000 and $142,000 on the cars.

Now they’ve been refunded, they said Tesla customer service needs to improve.

Peterson told CNBC: “While happy to have the whole situation sorted, I still feel that the response time was inadequate. It took days before Tesla had any kind of response, and they were holding our significant funds the whole time. And it took them five minutes to take those funds from our account.”

Another Tesla customer, Terry Oelschlaeger, told Insider he was also double-charged for a Tesla Model Y costing $53,993.70 on March 25. He shared his bank statement with Insider, showing a duplicate charge for a new car.

Oelschlaeger said he phoned the company three times to complain and drove to a Tesla service center in California, where an employee told him the error had impacted “many” buyers.

The company told him the refund would arrive in his bank account in one to three business days. He eventually received a payment in full from Tesla on March 31.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Not owning Tesla stock is the greater risk ahead of massive infrastructure package, Morgan Stanley says

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

  • Morgan Stanley said Tesla will have a huge advantage ahead of President Biden’s infrastructure bill.

  • Biden’s $2 trillion proposal carved out $174 billion for the electric vehicle sector alone.
  • If this passes, the bank said this would exacerbate Tesla’s advantage over other players.

  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Among the companies that stand at an advantage ahead of President Joe Biden’s massive infrastructure bill is Tesla, according to Morgan Stanley analysts, and owning the stock they say may be a bigger risk than not.

Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal carved out $174 billion for the electric vehicle sector alone, as the president aims to better equip American companies to compete with China, which is currently the market leader in the electric vehicle space.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley led by Adam Jones said in a note published Wednesday that Biden’s bill will increase Tesla’s advantage over legacy players and new entrants altogether.

The policy used to accelerate sales of electric vehicles will slow sales of internal combustion engine cars, the analysts said.

The analysts did warn that the build-out may follow a volatile and non-linear path.

“It will likely be complicated by a labyrinth of national and local laws that will present advantages and disadvantages to various automakers, depending on the year that you choose to analyze,” they said. “Put it all together and we believe auto investors face greater risk not owning Tesla shares in their portfolio than owning Tesla shares.”

The electric carmaker last week revealed that 184,800 vehicles were delivered and 180,338 cars were produced for the first three months of 2021, despite major production and supply-chain headwinds. Tesla in the final quarter of last year delivered 180,570 cars.

Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said the first-quarter results were a “paradigm changer” and show that the global pent-up demand for Tesla’s Model 3 and Y is just about to hit its next stage of growth.

The strong start of the year for the company proved that founder Elon Musk’s efforts to shore up global operations in Europe and China are paying off.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Elon Musk asked Cathie Wood about the Buffett indicator flashing red. The Ark Invest chief explained why she isn’t worried.

Elon Musk SpaceX Tesla CEO holds hand to face thinking
Elon Musk.

  • Elon Musk asked Cathie Wood about the Buffett indicator’s record readings.
  • The Ark Invest CEO criticized GDP as a measure and trumpeted innovation.
  • Buffett’s favorite market gauge surged before the dot-com crash.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Elon Musk asked Cathie Wood this week what she thought about Warren Buffett’s favorite market indicator flashing red recently. The star stock-picker replied that the gauge is likely inaccurate, and argued the heady valuations of certain technology stocks are justified.

“What do you think of the unusually high ratio of S&P market cap to GDP?” the Tesla chief asked the Ark Invest boss. He was referring to a version of the Buffett indicator, which takes the combined market capitalization of a country’s publicly traded stocks and divides it by the latest quarterly GDP figure available.

The S&P 500 represents about 78% of the total market cap of US stocks, as measured by the Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index. The S&P 500’s combined market cap has surged past $33 trillion this year – more than 150% of the latest estimate for fourth-quarter US GDP of $21.5 trillion.

Wood replied to Musk’s question by suggesting that GDP understates economic growth because it doesn’t fully account for increased productivity. Technological innovations today are “dwarfing” those in previous eras, driving down prices and fueling demand, she continued.

The Ark founder also drew a line between the dot-com bubble and the current hype around tech stocks.

“Back then, investors chased the dream before the tech was ready and while costs were too high,” she said. “After gestating for 20-30 years, the dream has turned into reality.”

Moreover, Wood predicted that companies that have failed to innovate and instead have borrowed money to fund stock buybacks and dividends “will pay a steep price.” She expects them to be forced to cut prices to shift inventory and make debt repayments.

In short, Wood’s view is that the disconnect between the S&P 500’s market capitalization and national GDP isn’t worrying because GDP is a flawed measure, unprecedented innovation justifies higher company valuations, and technological advances are cutting costs so inflation won’t be a problem either.

Her stance clashes with Buffett’s praise of his namesake gauge as “probably the best single measure of where valuations stand at any given moment” in a Fortune article in 2001. When the indicator peaked during the dot-com boom, it should have been a “very strong warning signal” of an upcoming crash, the Berkshire Hathaway CEO wrote.

Musk might have to wait a few more months to find out which investor is right.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Apple CEO Tim Cook says he’s never met Elon Musk but has ‘great admiration and respect’ for Tesla

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk (left) and Apple CEO Tim Cook.

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook said Monday that he’d never met Elon Musk.
  • He said that Musk’s electric-vehicle company Tesla had done “an unbelievable job.”
  • Apple reportedly plans to enter the EV market with its own autonomous vehicle.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Apple CEO Tim Cook praised electric-vehicle company Tesla on Monday, but said that he hasn’t yet met its CEO Elon Musk.

Cook’s comments came less than two weeks after Musk posted, then deleted, a tweet implying Tesla could be bigger than Apple “within a few months.”

Cook told The New York Times’ Kara Swisher: “You know, I’ve never spoken to Elon, although I have great admiration and respect for the company he’s built.

“I think Tesla has done an unbelievable job of not only establishing the lead, but keeping the lead for such a long period of time in the EV space,” he added.

Tesla and Apple don’t directly compete – but this could soon change. Apple reportedly plans to build an autonomous electric car by 2024, and during Monday’s interview Cook hinted that the project was real. Apple has recently patented some vehicle features.

Musk said in December that he once wanted Apple to buy Tesla for a tenth of the company’s 2020 value, but that Cook wouldn’t meet with him.

Read more: Apple will never deliver a car because it can’t figure out how to work with the automakers who could make it happen

Tesla posted record sales in the first quarter of 2021 despite a worldwide shortage of semiconductor chips. Wall Street now expects Tesla to sell more than 800,000 vehicles this year.

Musk has famously clashed with other US business leaders including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Tesla stock is soaring on record quarterly deliveries, but the EV maker is ‘barely growing’, stock research chief says

esla head Elon Musk arrives to have a look at the construction site of the new Tesla Gigafactory near Berlin on September 03, 2020 near Gruenheide, Germany.
Tesla head Elon Musk arrives to have a look at the construction site of the new Tesla Gigafactory near Berlin on September 03, 2020 near Gruenheide, Germany.

Tesla stock is soaring after posting record quarterly delivery figures and landing continued support from analysts, but not everyone on the Street believes in the EV maker.

GLJ Research CEO Gordon Johnson told CNBC on Monday that he wasn’t impressed by Tesla’s recent delivery figures. The CEO holds a $67 price target on shares of the EV leader.

Johnson argued Tesla is “barely growing” despite “15 price cuts in the first quarter of this year” in his interview with CNBC’s Morgan Brennan and Loop Ventures’ Gene Munster.

The stock research chief said that “year-over-year growth is irrelevant” at Tesla due to changing sales patterns and a Chinese rollout and noted that the EV maker turned in just 2% sequential growth from the fourth quarter of last year to the first quarter of this year.

According to Johnson, Tesla “picked the low hanging fruit of entering the world’s largest three auto markets, US, China, Europe, and their sales grew just 2% quarter over quarter, despite 15 price cuts in the first quarter this year, 18 price cuts in total last year, and 52,500 more cars of capacity sold. “

Johnson also noted that Tesla sold “significantly less higher-margin S and X cars and significantly more lower margin model 3 and Y cars in the quarter.” According to the CEO, that could mean a $300 to $500 million hit to the company’s bottom line.

“So you’re looking at a company, a high growth company, that’s barely growing, is losing more money doing so, and is going to see all of its credit sales disappear next year,” Johnson said. “We see that as a big problem.”

Johnson was referring to tax credits that Tesla buyers receive for purchasing an electric, emissions-free vehicle. The credits are set to disappear in 2022, but some analysts believe President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan will restore them before that happens.

Johnson also compared Tesla to Volkswagen in the interview, arguing Tesla’s current valuation doesn’t make any sense in relation to its peers.

Tesla is valued at close to $700 billion despite selling just 184,000 cars in the first quarter, while VW sells about 2.5 million cars a quarter and is valued at roughly $140 billion.

Some say Tesla’s valuation is based on its growth, but with the EV maker growing sales at just 2% sequentially, Johnson said he doesn’t “know what people are talking about when they say this is transformational growth.”

Read more: RBC says to buy these 30 high-conviction stocks that represent its analysts’ top global ideas for 2021 amid an economic reopening and rising inflation expectations

Gene Munster, Loup Ventures founder, commented after Johnson’s argument and said that he believes it’s unfair to look at sequential growth due to the first quarter being a “seasonally light quarter.”

Munster said he believes competition is the biggest risk to Tesla, but as long as the “value of car exceeds the competition” that Tesla will be able to “continue to have a measurable piece of a massive total addressable market.”

Dan Ives of Wedbush put out a note on Monday upgrading Tesla to an “outperform” rating and tagging a $1000 price target on the EV giant.

The analyst said he expects a roughly “$10,000 credit to catalyze EV consumer demand” moving forward.

Read the original article on Business Insider