Tesla Battery Day

by | Sep 24, 2020

Since doing some work for Maxwell Technologies a few years ago, I’ve kept an eye on developments in battery and energy storage technology. Really, it’s much more interesting than it sounds.

This week, Tesla announced lots of new things at its Battery Day event, including plenty of details of technology advances, as well as top-line predictions of massive volume production of batteries and cars.

Reaction from some online news sources was ecstatic. But Tesla shares dropped 9% within a day. Why? 

I think it’s all down to expectation management – Tesla and Elon Musk had allowed investors to think that Battery Day was going to change the world, and the actual announcements were medium-term and aspirational. Wall Street thinks short term, and wants everything now (or at least by tomorrow). Arguably, Tesla shares are over-priced, so this drop was a small correction anyway.

The key lesson for me is that expectations hadn’t just been set by what Tesla itself did and said before Battery Day – it was what other people said. Communications isn’t just about what’s in your plan, and what you want to talk about, it’s about responding and interacting with a wider conversation.