Tesla No Longer Featuring FSD As Prominently in Annual Report
Tesla may soon buy gold to complement its $1.5 billion Bitcoin investment.
February 8, 2021
In all, Tesla (TSLA) mentions its self-driving feature— Full Self-Driving (FSD)— four fewer times in its 2020 10-K versus the prior year. Tesla also removed a reference to FSD in the description of its business in the introduction of its latest 10-K. In the 2019 10-K, Tesla touted the FSD feature in the second paragraph of the filing:

“Combined with technical advancements in our powertrain system, Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (“FSD”) hardware, and neural net, our electric vehicles boast advantages such as leading range and recharging flexibility…”

In the 2020 10-K, the introductory reference to FSD has been removed but a statement that suggests the technology is not yet ready to be deployed in full remains:

“...and are continuing to develop full self-driving technology for improved safety.”

Later, the filing suggests there is still work left to do before Tesla’s vehicles can fully drive themselves:

“...we expect to compete in this developing market through continued progress on our Autopilot, FSD and neural network capabilities, Supercharger network and our infotainment offerings.”

The changes are nuanced but intentional. Tesla has warned repeatedly it may experience delays in the development of Autopilot and FSD. Language changes that place less emphasis on these features in the company’s latest 10-K— no matter how slight— indicate investors may have to wait longer than originally thought for FSD to become meaningful to Tesla’s bottom line.

Separately, Tesla has removed details about the warranty length of its energy storage systems in its latest 10-K. The prior year’s filing offered specifics like:

“We generally provide a 10-year “no defect” and “energy retention” warranty with every current Powerwall and a 15-year “no defect” and “energy retention” warranty with every current Powerpack or Megapack system.”

In the 2020 10-K, Tesla omits the length of the warranties:

“We generally provide manufacturer’s limited warranties with every new energy storage product and offer certain extended limited warranties that are available at the time of purchase of the system. If we install a system, we also provide certain limited warranties on our installation workmanship.”

Though documentation for the 10-year Powerwall warranty can still be found online, the omission may be an early indicator of possible product quality issues or an indication Tesla sees extended warranties as a potential new revenue stream. Tesla has also removed warranty length details for its solar energy systems.

Lastly, the company warns that its $1.5 billion investment in Bitcoin could add volatility to Tesla shares. In its 2020 10-K, Tesla reveals a new policy allowing it to invest cash not needed for operations in digital assets:

“...we invested an aggregate $1.50 billion in bitcoin under this policy and may acquire and hold digital assets from time to time or long-term. Moreover, we expect to begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for our products in the near future, subject to applicable laws and initially on a limited basis, which we may or may not liquidate upon receipt.”

Tesla also disclosed it may hold gold and ETFs that track the metal:

“...alternative reserve assets including digital assets, gold bullion, gold exchange-traded funds and other assets as specified in the future…”
Related: LCID, GOEV, RIVN, XPEV, LI, NIO, HMC, RACE, STLA, VWAGY
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