Elon Musk teased a few new Teslas during the company's annual stockholder meeting on Thursday. The CEO was visibly jubilant after shareholders voted through his enormous $56 billion pay package

The teaser came at a good time. Facing a stale vehicle lineup and stagnating sales, Tesla is in desperate need of a win on the product front. Musk said new vehicles are in the works, showing a slide with illustrations of three vehicles under white sheets. But he didn't mention any details about what's to come. 

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Tesla needs new cars

Facing slumping sales and a largely stale product lineup, Tesla is in need of new and exciting products. The company has said that new models are coming in late 2024 or early 2025 but hasn't offered specifics.

"Obviously we've got some new products that we're working on under the covers," Musk said. "I think these are going to be pretty special."

One of the vehicles appeared to be a tall, boxy van of some type. The two others looked lower and sleeker. Tesla plans to reveal its long-hyped robotaxi on August 8, so one of the models under wraps could be that. In April, the electric automaker also said it's accelerating the launch timing of new models, including more affordable vehicles. Those, Tesla said at the time, should arrive in late 2024 or early 2025. 

A slide from Tesla's April 2023 Master Plan 3 presentation.

Tesla shared similar images of two secret vehicles last April in its Master Plan Part 3. In that document, the company said that Tesla equivalents of a compact car, commercial/passenger van and bus were "TBD."

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The mention of new models, however vague, is likely music to the ears of some Tesla fans and investors. For some time, industry analysts have warned that Tesla's lineup was aging and that the extremely popular Model 3 sedan and Model Y crossover couldn't shoulder the company's growth indefinitely. After years of gangbusters growth, Tesla's vehicle deliveries dropped 8.5% in the first quarter of this year.

That's not great for EV adoption as a whole in the U.S, since Tesla makes up such a large part of the EV market in these relatively early days.

Despite the pressure, Musk has stalled on introducing a cheaper model that could drive higher sales. Instead, Tesla in recent years focused its efforts on launching the Cybertruck, an extreme-looking, expensive pickup truck that auto industry experts say is unlikely to sell in serious volumes. Musk himself has said it won't make a large impact on the company's bottom line this year. 

Meanwhile, he has appeared increasingly bored of the car business altogether, choosing instead to double down on Tesla's efforts in self-driving cars and robotics. Tesla's CEO breezed by the slide on upcoming models, but spoke at length this evening about robotaxis, Tesla's Full Self-Driving feature (which isn't actually autonomous yet), artificial intelligence and the Optimus humanoid robot.

Musk claimed Tesla could one day make 100 million bots per year, netting it an unfathomable $1 trillion in profits. That was based on an assumption that there would be a humanoid robot for every human on earth, an extraordinarily optimistic expectation. Musk also said Tesla's robot and robotaxi businesses could be worth something like $30 trillion someday. That's about 10 times the current market cap of Apple, the U.S.' most valuable public company. 

But at the end of the day, Tesla is a car company that makes the bulk of its profits selling cars. To grow that business and expand access to EVs, it needs concrete plans for new models, not just vague allusions to them. Otherwise, aggressive newcomers to the EV space like Hyundai Motor Group and China's BYD will happily fill the gap. 

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