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Elon Musk called the quarantine ‘fascist.’ It didn’t hurt Tesla’s bottom line.

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Elon Musk called the quarantine ‘fascist.’ It didn’t hurt Tesla’s bottom line.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks in Washington. Tesla issued its second-quarter earnings report Wednesday. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
July 22, 2020 at 11:34 p.m. GMT+1

SAN FRANCISCO — Elon Musk once dismissed the coronavirus panic as “dumb.” He called quarantine measures “fascist.”

He even speculated that there would be “probably close to zero new cases” in the United States by the end of April.

On Wednesday, the CEO who has taken on the mantle as perhaps the business world’s highest profile coronavirus skeptic, weighed in on the company’s latest financial update for a quarter where it turned a profit despite its main manufacturing facility’s closure for weeks. He chose not to discuss the issues in detail Wednesday, despite breaking into a profanity-laced rant during about the country’s ongoing quarantine orders on the same type call in April.

Tesla reported a $104 million second-quarter profit Wednesday, attributing the gains to “operational improvements” to reduce expenses in a quarter where production was disrupted.

“Our business has shown strong resilience during these unprecedented times,” Tesla said in its earnings news release. “Despite the closure of our main factory in Fremont for nearly half the quarter, we posted our fourth sequential” profit, the company said. The company reported revenue of more than $6 billion.

Because Tesla exclusively sells electric vehicles, other automakers can buy credits from them to help offset sales of their gas guzzling vehicles in order to comply with emissions regulations that require a certain percentage of vehicle fleets to be zero emissions. Tesla sold $428 million worth of credits in the second quarter, up from $111 million in the same quarter a year ago, boosting profitability.

During a conference call with analysts, Musk announced Tesla would be building its next “Gigafactory” plant in the Austin area. Tesla is expected to build its Cybertruck electric pickup at the plant, along with vehicles including its upcoming Semi truck.

Tesla will keep production of its Models 3 and Y, S and X in California, focusing the sedan and crossover production at that facility on the western half of the United States while using the Texas facility to serve the Eastern half.

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