Inside Tesla-Con, the biggest EV party last week

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Tesla owners will gather in Austin, Texas this week.

David Tonelson/Dreamstime.com

A lot


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owners are dedicated to pioneering electric vehicles in a way unlike most other brands. That loyalty is on display at a unique event in Texas last week, but that’s not the


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rally that investors would expect. Welcome to Tesla-Con.

Tesla (ticker: TSLA) christened its new Gigafactory in Austin, Texas on Thursday, April 7. The event featured factory tours, a party and a speech by CEO Elon Musk. He covered mostly old ground in his comments, focusing on ramping up capacity in 2022. Tesla is expected to produce around 1.4 to 1.5 million vehicles this year, up from more than 930,000 delivered in 2021. .

(The party was dubbed the Cyber ​​Rodeo because the Austin plant will eventually build Tesla’s Cybertruck.)

The new factory is a big deal for the company and the stock. More production means more cars and more growth. The plant, in its initial configuration, will have the capacity to manufacture approximately 500,000 vehicles per year.

But another event happened in Austin that was also a big deal for the stock, though the impact isn’t as direct as a new manufacturing plant. This event is Tesla-Con Texas, a convention for Tesla enthusiasts. Barrons attended.

What is Tesla-Con? Just as Comic-Con serves superhero aficionados or New York’s SantaCon appeals to Christmas revelers, Tesla-Con appeals to Tesla owners looking to connect with others. (Tesla-Con organizers note on the event’s website that the convention is not sponsored by Tesla, nor is it part of Cyber ​​Rodeo.)

The five-day convention featured a series of meetups and events, including speakers at the main event on Friday afternoon. Speakers included automotive and investment figures such as automotive consultant Sandy Munro. He talked about the innovations that impressed him the most at the new plant, including how battery manufacturing has been integrated into the car manufacturing process. “I’m telling you, going through that was maybe almost orgasmic,” Munro told the crowd with a laugh.

Others have spoken of the huge presses that die-cast the body frame parts. Musk says the chassis of an Austin-built vehicle is made up of three parts: a die-cast rear and a die-cast front as well as a battery that is part of the vehicle’s structure. The elimination of parts and welds is said to reduce parts and costs.

The Tesla Owners Club of Austin was behind the event. He was also trying to set a record for the most Tesla vehicles assembled in one location. There were a lot of Teslas present. No word on the record though. Barrons don’t know what the existing record is – one is not listed in the Guinness Book of World Records that we could find. The Owners Club did not immediately return a request for comment.

While these various Tesla-focused events may not mean much for short-term stock market performance, they demonstrate that Tesla drivers, for the most part, love their cars.

Tesla ranks No. 1 among automotive brands on business information provider comparably.com. And it takes the No. 1 spot on Consumer Reports’ list of most beloved car brands.

Tesla also has one of the highest net promoter scores of any car brand listed on the Consumer Guru customer satisfaction tracker. A net promoter score is, essentially, a numerical representation of the likelihood that a customer will recommend a product. It ranges from -100 to 100. A net promoter score in the mid 40s is average. Tesla has a score of 97, according to customer loyalty company Customer Gauge.

The fervent devotion to customers ultimately allows Tesla to save on advertising. It also brings customers back to the brand when they need a new car. In the long run, that could mean Tesla’s electric vehicle market share is stickier. These are the kinds of things Tesla investors may think about when looking at photos from Tesla-Con this week, whether or not they break the world record.

Growth stocks like Tesla could certainly use any kind of boost this week. Rising bond yields have dragged high-value, high-growth stocks down – higher interest rates reduce the present value of future earnings for these companies. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.69% on Friday from 2.4% at the start of the month.

Tesla stock fell 5.4%% this week, closing at $1,025.49. the


S&P500

and


Dow Jones Industrial Average

fell 1.3% and 0.3%, respectively.

Write to Al Root at [email protected]

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