Tesla has no R&D center: mass production of products often exceeds budget – Elon Musk

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Tesla Motors today announced the company’s fourth-quarter and full-year financial results for the 2021 fiscal year. The report shows that Tesla Motors’ total revenue in the fourth quarter was $17.719 billion, an increase of 65% compared with $10.744 billion in the same period last year. Its net profit is $2.343 billion, compared with $296 million in the same period last year. The company’s net income to common stockholders was $2.321 billion, an increase of 760% compared to $270 million in the same period last year.


After the earnings release, Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, CFO Zach Kirkhorn, VP Technology Drew Baglino, Head of Commercial Energy RJ Johnson, and President of Operations Jerome Guillen provided answers to some questions from the press and analysts. 

During the meeting, analysts asked questions about Tesla’s research and development efforts, which Musk and other executives also answered.

The following is a transcript of the question and answer:

Baird analyst Benjamin Kallo: My question is about R&D. How does Tesla organize R&D work? You just mentioned a lot of new products, does Tesla have its own R&D incubation center? What is Tesla’s R&D structure?

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Elon Musk: We don’t have our own R&D center. We only create products that are really needed. We design, create and iterate rapidly, ultimately trying to mass-produce products at reasonable cost and price. Of course, the last part is the hardest to implement. I’ve said many times that prototype creation is easier than mass production. Mass production of products often exceeds the budget. Therefore, it is really difficult to achieve mass production.

Zach Kirkhorn: You can only feel the hardships if you experience them firsthand.

Elon Musk: Our society tends to value creativity. Of course, creativity is important, but the process of realization is more critical. For example, you can have the idea of ​​going to the moon, but how to achieve it is the most difficult part. The same is true for product creation and mass production. At present, most people pay too much attention to the idea and neglect the execution of the idea. Tesla has countless brilliant ideas, but we need to explore which ideas can become reality, and this process requires our sweat and tears.

Zach Kirkhorn: Ultimately, the more you put in, the faster you can get a new product into mass production.

According to Tesla’s earnings conference summary, no new models will arrive this year. FSD will be significantly improved in the next few months. 

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