Musk Reminds The World Why Tesla Is Worth Over $500 Billion

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The newly minted world's second-richest man speaks at the European Battery Conference.

Over the past few days, Tesla's market value exceeded $500 billion, while CEO and co-founder, Elon Musk's own personal net worth increased to about $128 billion. He is now the world's second-richest person, slightly surpassing Bill Gates. But Musk has no time to celebrate.

Speaking at the European Battery Conference, Musk announced plans that will not only help Tesla retain its value and position, but will also force rivals to play catch up. Again. Perhaps the most impressive thing Musk revealed were plans for a vehicle with a 621-mile range. "We even have some [vehicles] under development that could do 1,000 kilometers [621 miles]," Musk said.

2017-2020 Tesla Model S P100D Front View Driving Tesla
2017-2020 Tesla Model S P100D Side View Driving Tesla
2017-2020 Tesla Model S P100D Rear Angle View Tesla

This is also the range goal for the upcoming Tesla Semi, which will supposedly have the capacity to haul up to 40 tons. "We think this will be compelling to trucking companies." A large, high-density battery pack will be necessary to achieve those goals. But that battery pack also adds weight and Musk estimates the trucks will probably have to haul about an extra ton to hit that range target.

"You are able to carry basically the same cargo as a diesel truck. We think that maybe there's a one-ton penalty. Maybe. At this point, we think that we can have less than one-ton cargo reduction, and we think long term it's going to be zero cargo reduction for electric trucks."

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An updated Tesla Model S was recently revealed with an estimated 520-mile range, and Musk added that some of the company's other vehicles can achieve above 430 miles of range. However, he emphasized the company's main priority is to bring down battery costs "so that everyone can afford to buy an electric car." Bringing a battery pack's cost down to around $100 per kWh should be good enough to bring their costs in line with combustion-engined vehicles.

The CEO also mentioned once again his desire to build a new and less expensive model priced from around $25,000, though this would probably be a European-only hatchback. "In Europe, it would make sense to do a compact car, perhaps a hatchback." Musk pointed to the difficulty he faced when trying to park a Model X in Berlin as evidence that a smaller vehicle is necessary.

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