Tesla's announcement for Thursday has Musk putting his money where his mouth is
Elon Musk's obtuse tweets have gone to the next level with a promise, on Monday, of a big announcement on Thursday. The tweet gives us less to go on than his tweet last summer about alien spacecraft landing at rest stops, but Tesla's stock price immediately jumped from $37.40 to $38.40 before closing at $37.60.
The tweet read:
Really exciting @teslamotors announcement coming on Thursday. Am going to put my money where my mouth is in v major way.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 25, 2013
According to a Tesla spokesperson, the announcement place and timing have not been chosen, and has nothing to do with the New York Auto Show (which is having a Press day on Thursday). Tesla is not appearing at that auto show.
The second sentence implies that Musk and/or Tesla Motors is going to double down on an investment in something. But, what?
One idea we found was that Tesla Motors would float a new round of fundraising, of which Elon Musk would buy a large chunk, and the company would use the proceeds to pay off the Dept. of Energy Loans. Earlier this month the company announced a plan to pay off those loans by 2017, five years ahead of schedule, so this seems an unlikely move.
A more likely idea has to do with the Supercharger network. This is the Tesla-proprietary fast charging system that Tesla has begun installing around the country, and which is free for Tesla electric car owners to use. It was the Supercharger network that the NY Times Reporter, John Broder, was attempting to use in February on a failed trip from Washington DC to Boston. The problem with that network is it hasn't been built out as quickly as the company promised, and the promised solar panels to drive the thing are not to be seen. Furthermore, the company has promised repeatedly over the last couple months that further rollout of that network is coming.
Another possibility is Musks' promise that Tesla Motors would be profitable in the first quarter of 2013. The theory behind that is increasing sales of the Tesla Model S mean more revenue, enough to shift the company from losing $396 million during 2012 to profitability in the next quarter. In December, he tweeted that the company had been cash flow positive. However, this is unlikely because it wouldn't have much to do with more investments.
Another possibility is an announcement that would clarify last weeks' disclosure the company had been delivering 500 Model S's a week. There were several questions about that announcement, but this is unlikely because it also is not something which would have much to do with further investment.
One of Musks' talents is composing obtuse tweets that get us all in a tizzy wondering what he meant.