This morning, the following email was sent to all Tesla employees:
As we all experienced first-hand, last year was the most challenging in Tesla’s history. However, thanks to your efforts, 2018 was also the most successful year in Tesla’s history: we delivered almost as many cars as we did in all of 2017 in the last quarter alone and nearly as many cars last year as we did in all the prior years of Tesla’s existence combined! Model 3 also became the best-selling premium vehicle of 2018 in the US. This is truly remarkable and something that few thought possible just a short time ago.
We are excited to announce that Larry Ellison and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson have joined Tesla’s Board of Directors. Each joined the board as an independent director, effective December 27th, 2018.
The full $7,500 federal tax credit for Tesla customers ends in less than two weeks, and we’re doing everything we can to try to ensure those who order a vehicle today can take delivery by December 31st and take advantage of the savings. To help ensure vehicles are available, we’ve released all our fleet vehicles – like those used for test drives – and vehicles where the original customer can’t take delivery by the end of the year. Our mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy – and to do that, we need to get as many electric vehicles on the road as quickly as possible, which is why we are working around the clock to meet demand before the end of the year.
We’re pleased to announce that Dane Butswinkas, Chairman of Williams & Connolly and one of the world’s top practicing trial lawyers, is joining Tesla as General Counsel. Dane comes to Tesla after serving for nearly 30 years at Williams & Connolly, where he was Co-Chair of the firm’s Commercial Litigation and Financial Services and Banking Groups.
Electric powertrains have numerous advantages over internal combustion engines. In addition to low cost of ownership, energy efficiency, and near silence, they also offer unparalleled responsiveness. Since the introduction of Tesla Roadster in 2008, we’ve exploited the immediate availability of motor power and torque to achieve unprecedented straight-line performance, making the car’s forward acceleration a pure extension of the driver. With Track Mode, which is designed specifically for use on closed autocross circuits and racetracks, our goal was simple: use that same motor power and torque to make cornering on the track feel just as natural as forward acceleration.
Tesla’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Robyn Denholm has been appointed as Chair of the Tesla Board, effective immediately. So that she will be able to devote her full attention to the Tesla Chair role, Robyn will be leaving her role as CFO and Head of Strategy at Telstra, Australia’s largest telecommunications company, once her six-month notice period with Telstra is complete. Robyn will be serving as Tesla Chair on a full-time basis.
Today in the U.S., we’re beginning to roll out our most advanced Autopilot feature ever: Navigate on Autopilot. Since introducing Software Version 9.0, Tesla owners with Enhanced Autopilot have driven tens of millions of miles to support the validation of Navigate on Autopilot, allowing us to collect performance and safety data at scale, based on real-world driving.
Last October, I joined Tesla to oversee its Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) team. Reporting directly to Elon and regularly meeting with him, I’ve enjoyed Tesla’s full support as I expanded the company’s global EHS team to 250 employees, adding 35 people at the Fremont factory alone. Over the past year, it’s been clear to me that nothing is more important to Tesla than the health and well-being of its employees. We are the largest manufacturer in the state of California, and while other U.S. auto manufacturers continue to outsource skilled jobs and safety standards, Tesla is creating and keeping more jobs right here in the United States, allowing us to control quality and safety directly. And the result is that our injury rate has continued to trend downward in 2018.
Based on the advanced architecture of Model S and Model X, which were previously found by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to have the lowest and second lowest probabilities of injury of all cars ever tested, we engineered Model 3 to be the safest car ever built. Now, not only has Model 3 achieved a perfect 5-star safety rating in every category and sub-category, but NHTSA’s tests also show that it has the lowest probability of injury of all cars the safety agency has ever tested.
This week, Tesla owners across North America are waking up to a car that is smarter, safer and more intuitive than ever before. Our most substantial update yet, Software Version 9.0, introduces a refined and simplified user interface, along with entirely new features for Model S, Model X, and Model 3, as well as on Tesla’s mobile app.