Here’s Why Elon Musk Made $14.9 Billion in July (So Far)
So far this month, Elon Musk has gotten $14,857,660,000 richer.
That’s as of this writing, anyway.
We’re only two full weeks into July. And the company that’s been his wealth rocket ship — not to be confused with his actual rocket ships — Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), is pointing higher as I sit here.
Tesla’s stock surge this year hasn’t been because of its cars.
Ford, Fiat Chrysler, GM, Toyota, VW — all those guys make cars.
Tesla’s momentous rally is because it’s a technology company, not a car company.
Specifically, it’s an energy tech and artificial intelligence (AI) company. The cars are just the vessels for the tech right now.
Investors are starting to realize that this tech isn’t just bells and whistles on Tesla’s product — it is the product.
Right now, there are approximately 825,000 Tesla vehicles on the road today with Autopilot 2 or 3 hardware, according to data compiled by MIT AI researcher Lex Fridman. He estimates that these vehicles have driven 22.5 billion miles.
In the process, Tesla has been amassing the largest autonomous driving dataset on the planet.
Let’s say tomorrow you go to the local Tesla store and buy shiny new Model 3. Even if you never use the car’s Autopilot features — heck, even if you don’t pay for the self-driving options — your car is collecting data about how to drive.
Even with Autopilot off, the computers are getting practice making decisions about what to do next — and when those decisions conflict with what the human driver does, those events get flagged, anonymized and sent back to the Tesla mothership in Silicon Valley so that the Autopilot AI can learn from them.
On a conference call a while back, Elon put it this way: “Every time the customers drive the car, they’re training the systems to be better. I’m just not sure how anyone competes with that.”
Because other automakers are betting on a very different hardware stack for self-driving cars, Tesla’s head start will be hard to replicate.
McKinsey estimates that big data in cars could be a $750 billion business by 2030. That makes Tesla’s sky-high valuation look downright cheap!
And Elon’s $14.9 billion start to July could wind up looking like chump change…
But the most exciting opportunity here isn’t Tesla.
The enabling tech that could make this all work is next-gen connectivity. And for that, I think that Apple-Fi holds the key.
With Apple-Fi, vehicles and other AI-powered machines out in the field have the ability to self-improve in a way they couldn’t before. And that spells a massive opportunity for investors in the years ahead.
It’s an incredibly exciting time to be a tech investor!
To a bright future,