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Elon Musk Has a Big Round Number in Sight for Tesla

CEO tells shareholders the company expects a huge increase in a key measure of its success.
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Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report, does not think small.

At his SpaceX rocket company, testing of the largest rocket ever built is moving forward in anticipation of returning humans to the moon and later Mars.

His Neuralink startup is working on brain implants to let paralyzed people walk again.

And Tesla itself recently built its 3 millionth car.

That prompted Musk to wax philosophical over the past and look forward to the future at the company’s annual meeting in Austin, Texas on Aug. 4.

Musk told the boisterous crowd at Tesla’s huge Texas gigafactory that the company is now producing cars at an annualized run rate of 1.5 million. Musk added that he expects Tesla to be “exiting the year at a 2 million unit run rate.”

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It's a far cry from Tesla's early days, he noted. "You know, It’s pretty wild to think like 10 years ago where things were.”

He added that by "August 2012 we’d made 2,500 roadsters and maybe a couple hundred Model S” vehicles. “But less than 3,000 cars. So 10 years ago we’d made less than 3,000 cars, and here we stand 10 years later having made over 3 million.”

But in Musk’s view that’s only the beginning.

Later in the meeting he asked “I wonder how many cars we'll have in 10 years?”

After a pause, Musk said “I’d say 100 million is pretty doable…I’d be surprised if it's not over 100 million in 10 years.”

Meeting that goal will require 10 to 12 gigafactories cranking out 1.5 million to 2 million vehicles a year, Musk said, prompting him to hint that an announcement about the next new gigafactory could come later this year.