Tesla Rumor Mill Misfires in Ways That Exasperate Even Elon Musk
Steel Dynamics, a Fort Wayne, Indiana-based steel producer, has gotten all sorts of attention lately from Tesla fans and followers. This has been entirely unfounded, and is one of several examples of the narrative around the Elon Musk-led company getting ahead of reality recently.
First, a bit of background about Steel Dynamics, also known as SDI. The company is building a new plant in Sinton, Texas, near the Gulf Coast. The facility is designed to produce 3 million tons of steel annually for construction, automotive, appliance and other manufacturing markets.
Steel Dynamics has billed its mill as capable of providing higher-strength, tougher grades of steel for the auto industry. “These ultra-high-strength steel products are not currently readily available from other domestic steel producers,” the company said in its most recent annual report.
The facility’s relatively close proximity to the factory Tesla is building in Austin, Texas, has fueled speculation and dubiously sourced stories that SDI is going to supply steel for Tesla’s forthcoming Cybertruck.
The rumors aren’t true. “I can absolutely confirm we are NOT currently an approved supplier to that facility or that platform,” Barry Schneider, an SDI senior vice president, wrote to me last month in an email. “We will aspire to work towards becoming an approved supplier to Tesla for the products that we are capable of producing.”
In recent days, Teslarati, which describes itself as the leading source for Tesla news, rumors and reviews, once again ran a story that linked SDI to the Cybertruck. I checked in with Schneider to see if anything had changed and was assured nothing had. Teslarati has appended a correction to the top of its latest post, although the headline and text still inexplicably refer to SDI as a supplier to Tesla and the Cybertruck. Earlier erroneous posts about SDI remain on the site.
Musk first unveiled the Cybertruck in November 2019. It’s going to feature a stainless-steel exoskeleton the company promotes as “nearly impenetrable.” The type of steel SDI will be making in Texas is different.
“Stainless steel is not something we have ever discussed being equipped to produce,” SDI’s Schneider told me this weekend.
Musk himself seems a bit exasperated by how active the rumor mill is surrounding his company. Earlier this week, he knocked down speculation that he was heading to the plant Tesla is constructing near Berlin.
When a Wedbush analyst wrote Jan. 8 that Tesla appeared to be ready to start producing Model Ys in a matter of days, Barron’s went a step further, positing that this meant Cybertruck “will be arriving on U.S. roads shortly.” Within a few days, Reuters reported that Tesla is delaying initial production of the truck to early next year.
Musk will get the chance to set the record straight when Tesla reports earnings next week. He’s vowed to be on the call to given an update about the company’s “product roadmap.”
Time will tell if we’ll hear anything about who actually will supply steel to the Cybertruck. As usual, I welcome your verifiable intelligence: email@example.com.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.