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Tesla’s not working on that $25,000 car – here’s why

R.I.P. Model 2. World’s first all-electric hearse made by RemetzCar for Dutch funeral home Van der Lans & Busscher. Image: RemetzCar.

Tesla shares fell into bear territory on Thursday, down more than 20% in 2022 – losing sight of the magical $1 trillion market valuation – as disappointed investors marked down the electric-vehicle pioneer’s stock.

Tesla fans were eager to hear about ramp ups at the Texas-headquartered company’s new Austin and Berlin plants and timelines for previously promised models – notably the Cybertruck and a much-touted entry-level car, dubbed the Model 2.

Instead, CEO Elon Musk spent an hour making fresh promises about robotaxis (“the most important source of profitability for Tesla”) and a humanoid the company unveiled in August which “has the potential to be more significant than the vehicle business over time”:

“We’re not currently working on that $25,000 car. We at some point will. We have enough on our plate right now, too much on our plates, frankly. So at some point there will be, but I think that’s sort of a question that it’s just sort of the wrong question.”

MINING.COM is not averse to asking sort of a question that’s just sort of the wrong question, and so compiled a list of articles that may explain why Tesla is not working on a SGMW Wuling Hongguang MINI-slayer:

Following the original announcement of a world-conquering mass market Tesla at the company’s Battery Day in September 2020, we argued that perhaps the lithium in Nevada is not sufficient to electrify 300 million cars, that mine rehabilitation may involve more than “putting the chunk of dirt back where it was” and cobalt is more than the “stable part of a bookshelf”:

In February last year, we tried to show that TSLA may be overvalued against its peers, because even if you assign a value of zero to the internal combustion engine cars of its closest competitor Volkswagen (including cars such as Bugatti and Bentley), investors love the batteries in a Model 3 three times more than the batteries in an ID.3 – and that was at a time when Tesla was still more than $200 billion off its peak:

A year ago MINING.COM also calculated how much lithium, nickel, cobalt, rare earth, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum Tesla will need to reach its stated goal of producing 20 million cars per year. In short, Tesla would have to own vast swathes of Chile’s copper fields, buy up most of the Congo’s cobalt operations, convince Indonesia to hand over all its nickel, procure 23 times Madagascar’s graphite mining, and break China’s rare earth monopoly. One exception is lithium, it has more than it needs in a 100-mile radius from Gigafactory 1:

Tesla still dominates the electric car industry in terms of sales volumes with the Model 3 the top-selling vehicle in all markets (except China, where it sits at number 2 behind a sub-$5,000 microcar), battery power deployed and battery metal use (except cobalt), but it’s uninspiring product roadmap and big-spending rivals may see these charts change substantially in 2022:

MINING.COM’s ranking of the Top 20 EVs of 2021 and the battery metals used in them shows Tesla and its competitors struggling with rising costs as lithium, cobalt and nickel prices surge: