Elon Musk knocked Apple, bemoaned the microchip shortage, and touted self-driving cars on Tesla’s Q2 earnings call. Here are the 12 best quotes.

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Elon Musk. Michele Tantussi/Reuters
  • Elon Musk discussed microchips, manufacturing, and self-driving cars on Tesla’s Q2 earnings call.
  • The Tesla CEO slammed Apple and encouraged more people to work in manufacturing.
  • Musk doesn’t plan to feature on every Tesla earnings call in the future.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Elon Musk trumpeted the rich potential of self-driving cars, bemoaned the microchip shortage, and underscored the challenges of manufacturing at scale during Tesla’s second-quarter earnings call this week.

The Tesla CEO also criticized Apple, urged people to pursue careers in manufacturing, and suggested he might skip future earnings calls.

Here are Musk’s 12 best quotes from the earnings call, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:

1. “The chip supply is fundamentally the governing factor on our output. It is difficult for us to see how long this will last, because this is out of our control, essentially. It does seem like it’s getting better, but it’s hard to predict.” – referring to the global shortage of semiconductors.

2. “Those who have not actually been involved in the manufacturing ramp-up just have no idea how painful and difficult it is. You gotta eat a lot of glass.”

3. “It takes a while to hire people and train people to operate the factory. The factory is like a giant cybernetic collective, and you can’t just hire 10,000 people and have them work instantly. It’s not possible.”

4. “Don’t think this is the messiah or something.” – downplaying a change to Tesla’s batteries that could reduce production costs by 10%.

5. “We have the Baskin-Robbins of batteries. We have so many formats and so many chemistries that it’s like we’ve got 36 flavors of battery.”

6. “I really encourage more people to get involved in manufacturing. The US has an overallocation of talent in finance and law. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have people in finance and law. I’m just saying that maybe we have too many smart people in those areas.”

7. “The value of a fully electric, autonomous fleet is gigantic – boggles the mind, really. That will be one of the most valuable things that is ever done in the history of civilization.”

8. “At scale, we’ll have billions of miles of travel to show that a car with autopilot on is 100% or 200% safer or more than the average human driver. At that point, it would be unconscionable not to allow autopilot because the car just becomes way less safe.”

9. “You used to have elevator operators with a big switch to move between floors. But they would get tired or maybe drunk or distracted, and every now and again, somebody would be sheared in half between floors. That’s kind of the situation we have with cars. Autonomy will become so safe that it will be unsafe to manually operate the car, relatively speaking. It would be quite alarming if elevators today were operated by a person with a giant switch. That’s how we’ll be with cars.”

10. “The really remarkable thing that Tesla’s done is not to make an electric car or to be a car startup. The thing that’s remarkable is that Tesla didn’t go bankrupt in reaching volume production. Out of all the American car companies, there are only two that have not gone bankrupt and those are Ford and Tesla. The seeds of defeat are sown on the day of victory. We will endeavor not to make that the case of Tesla.”

11. “Our goal is to support the advent of sustainable energy. It is not to create a walled garden and use that to bludgeon our competitors, which is sometimes used by some companies.” – likely referring to Apple’s ecosystem of hardware, software, and services.

12. “I will no longer be the default during earnings calls. Going forward, I will most likely not be on earnings calls unless there’s something really important that I need to say.”

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