Elon Musk sure seems to like parties. After the festivities that marked the opening of Tesla’s Berlin factory (both before and after testing positive for Covid), Musk brought out his fireworks and his brother’s hat collection to mark the start of production in Texas. Yet, for all the screaming fans and callbacks to the early days of the company Elon did not found, the big keynote speech lacked one key component: Any new information.
The keynote began with Elon driving to the stage in an early Tesla Roadster, while Still D.R.E. blared through the building’s PA like a moment from Office Space. That led to some history of the Tesla brand, its origins in Menlo Park, and its current lineup of “the most expensive joke in the world.” Cue applause.
After the entry level History of Tesla lesson, Elon turned to the star of the night: The Texas factory. It was touted as “a new phase of Tesla’s future,” encompassing both the company’s corporate headquarters and an all-in-one production facility. Despite the number of fans turned away at the doors after Elon’s promise of easy access, the crowd inside was packed — people wanted to see what was next for Tesla.
So what’s next? Well, the same as it ever was: The Semi, Roadster, and Cybertruck (which made an appearance complete with mismatched panels and spacious panel gaps). Self-driving taxis and the “Optimus” robot (which is now definitely not Grimes in a morph suit) got their mentions as well, but nothing really new. Elon once again claimed that everything mentioned is coming in 2023, totally, for real this time.
Tesla’s brand is built on “innovation,” “disruption,” and all those other buzzwords that investors love so much. But when announcement events like Battery Day and the Model S Plaid reveal give way to more and more parties that offer nothing new, one has to wonder how much innovation the company has left. Maybe it can find some more in that big new building.