Tesla CEO Elon Musk assured shareholders the electric car maker has recovered from a disappointing start this year and promised to counter media coverage that he believes has distorted perceptions about the unprofitable company’s long-term prospects.
Musk’s 90-minute appearance came amid lingering questions about Tesla’s finances and his own sometimes erratic behavior since the company held its last shareholder meeting a year ago.
Among other things, Musk has tangled with stock market regulators about a tweet dangling a buyout of Tesla that never materialized , and broken a pledge to make Tesla consistently profitable . He also has raised eyebrows, as well as public safety concerns, by setting out to launch a ride-hailing service consisting of self-driving cars next year.
But the shareholders who spoke Tuesday left little doubt that they believe Musk is a misunderstood visionary. Several urged him to pour more resources into countering news coverage about Tesla’s financial condition, fatal accidents involving Tesla cars driving in semi-autonomous mode and his own histrionics .