In very large cities like Houston, charging stations typically contain an especially large number of plugs and cables, so thefts can be particularly damaging. Photo by Andrew Roberts/Unsplash

Just before 2 a.m. on a chilly April night in Seattle, a Chevrolet Silverado pickup stopped at an electric vehicle charging station on the edge of a shopping center parking lot.

Two men, one with a light strapped to his head, got out. A security camera recorded them pulling out bolt cutters. One man snipped several charging cables; the other loaded them into the truck. In under 2½ minutes, they were gone.

The scene that night has become part of a troubling pattern across the country: Thieves have been targeting EV charging stations, intent on stealing the cables, which contain copper wiring. The price of copper is near a record high on global markets, which means criminals stand to collect rising sums of cash from selling the material.

The stolen cables often disable entire stations, forcing EV owners on the road to search desperately for a working charger. For the owners, the predicament can be exasperating and stressful.

Broken-down chargers have emerged as the latest obstacle for U.S. automakers in their strenuous effort to convert more Americans to EVs despite widespread public anxiety about a scarcity of charging stations. About 4 in 10 U.S. adults say they believe EVs take too long to charge or don’t know of any charging stations nearby.

If even finding a charging station doesn't necessarily mean finding functioning cables, it becomes one more reason for skeptical buyers to stick with traditional gasoline-fueled or hybrid vehicles, at least for now.

America's major automakers have made heavy financial bets that buyers will shift away from combustion engines and embrace EVs as the world faces the worsening consequences of climate change. Accordingly, the companies have poured billions into EVs.

Stellantis envisions 50% of its passenger cars being EVs by the end of 2030. Ford set a target of producing 2 million EVs per year by 2026 — about 45% of its global sales — though it has since suspended that goal. General Motors, the most ambitious of the three, has pledged to sell only EV passenger cars by the end of 2035.

Any such timetables, of course, hinge on whether the companies can convince more would-be EV buyers that a charge will always be available when they travel. The rise in cable thefts isn't likely to strengthen the automakers' case.

Two years ago, according to Electrify America, which runs the nation’s second-largest network of direct-current fast chargers, a cable might be cut perhaps every six months at one of its 968 charging stations, with 4,400 plugs nationwide. Through May this year, the figure reached 129 — four more than in all of 2023. At one Seattle station, cables were cut six times in the past year, said Anthony Lambkin, Electrify America's vice president of operations.

"We’re enabling people to get to work, to take their kids to school, get to medical appointments," Lambkin said. “So to have an entire station that’s offline is pretty impactful to our customers.”

Two other leading EV charging companies — Flo and EVgo — also have reported a rise in thefts. Charging stations in the Seattle area have been a frequent target. Sites in Nevada, California, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Pennsylvania have been hit, too.

Stations run by Tesla, which operates the nation's largest fast-charging network, have been struck in Seattle, Oakland and Houston. So far this year, Seattle police have reported seven cases of cable thefts from charging stations, matching the number for all of 2023. Thieves hit Tesla stations four times this year compared with just once last year, the Seattle police said.

“Vandalism of public charging infrastructure in the Seattle metro area has unfortunately been increasing in frequency," EVgo said.

The company said law enforcement officials are investigating the thefts while it tries to repair inoperable stations and considers a longer-term solution.

The problem isn't confined to urban areas. In rural Sumner, Washington, south of Seattle, thieves cut cables twice at a Puget Sound Energy charging station. The company is working with police and the property owner to protect the station.

Until a month ago, police in Houston knew of no cable thefts. Then one was stolen from a charger at a gas station. The city has now recorded eight or nine such thefts, said Sgt. Robert Carson, who leads a police metal-theft unit.

In one case, thieves swiped 18 of 19 cords at a Tesla station. That day, Carson visited the station to inspect the damage. In the first five minutes that he was there, Carson said, about 10 EVs that needed charging had to be turned away.

In very large cities like Houston, charging stations typically contain an especially large number of plugs and cables, so thefts can be particularly damaging.

“They're not just taking one," Carson said. "When they're hit, they're hit pretty hard.”

Roy Manuel, an Uber driver who normally recharges his Tesla at the Houston station hit by thieves, said he fears being unable to do so because of stolen cables.

“If my battery was really low, I’d have quite an issue with operating my vehicle,” he said. “If it was so low that I couldn’t get to another charger, I might be in trouble. Might even need a tow truck.”

The charging companies say it's become clear that the thieves are after the copper that the cables contain. In late May, copper hit a record high of nearly $5.20 a pound, a result, in part, of rising demand resulting from efforts to cut carbon emissions with EVs that use more copper wiring. The price is up about 25% from a year ago, and many analysts envision further increases.

Charging companies say there isn't actually very much copper in the cables, and what copper is there is difficult to extract. Carson estimates that criminals can get $15 to $20 per cable at a scrap yard.

"They're not making a significant amount of money,” he said. “They're not going to be sailing on a yacht anywhere.”

Still, the more cables the thieves can steal, the more they can cash in. At $20 a cable, 20 stolen cables could fetch $400.

The problem for the charging companies is that it's much costlier to replace cables. In Minneapolis, where cables have been clipped at city-owned charging stations, it costs about $1,000 to replace just one cable, said Joe Laurin, project manager in the Department of Public Works.

The charging companies are trying to fight back. Electrify America is installing more security cameras. In Houston, police are visiting recycling centers to look for stolen metal.

But it's often hard for the scrap yards to determine conclusively whether metal came from a charging cable. Thieves often burn off the insulation and just sell strands of metal.

The Recycled Materials Association, which represents 1,700 members, is issuing scrap-theft alerts from law enforcement officials so that members can be on the lookout for suspects and stolen goods.

Because charging stations are often situated in remote corners of parking lots, Carson suggested that many more security cameras are needed.

In the meantime, Electrify America said Seattle police are trying to track down the thieves in the video. And Carson said the Houston police are pursuing leads in the Tesla theft.

“We'd like to get them stopped," he said, “and then let the court system do what they're supposed to do.”

___

AP Video Journalist Lekan Oyekanmi contributed to this report from Houston.

Honeywell launched the Battery Manufacturing Excellence Platform, or Battery MXP. Photo via honeywell.com

Honeywell introduces new AI software to enhance battery cell management at gigafactories

hi, tech

As the world continues to electrify, new optimized battery technology is critical, and Honeywell, which has a unit of its business based in Houston, recognizes that.

Honeywell (NASDAQ: HON) launched the Battery Manufacturing Excellence Platform, or Battery MXP, an artificial intelligence-powered software solution that will improve battery cell yields and, by extension, operation of gigafactories for manufacturers.

"With Honeywell's Battery MXP and its automation capabilities, we will be able to quickly and effectively establish a foundation for our network of gigafactories," John Kem, president of American Battery Factory, says in a statement. "This solution is vital in our manufacturing operation because it allows us to reduce scrap and scale up quickly, while also ensuring we meet the U.S. and international demand for high quality lithium iron phosphate batteries as we prepare for the unprecedented surge expected over the next decade."

The AI technology built into the platform can detect and remediate quality issues, preventing scrapped or wasted material. Per the news release, the platform can reduce startup material scrap rates by 60 percent.

"The electrification of everyday life continues to increase global demand for quality lithium-ion batteries to power electric vehicles, consumer electronics and battery energy storage systems," Pramesh Maheshwari, president of Honeywell Process Solutions, adds. "With the construction of more than 400 gigafactories planned worldwide by 2030, Honeywell's Battery MXP is a crucial technology that enables manufacturers to maximize cell yields and reach peak production much quicker than traditional methods."

Battery MXP can provide real-time information from raw material sage to finished product. The platform additionally creates enhanced safety measures.

Last month, Weatherford and Honeywell announced the partnership that will combine Honeywell's emissions management suite with Weatherford's technology.

Shareholders of the electric vehicle and solar panel company are voting on the package, with the results to be tabulated at Tesla's June 13 annual meeting. Photo via cdn.britannica.com

Future of Elon Musk, Tesla on the line this week as shareholders vote on massive pay package

TBD

If Tesla shareholders vote against restoring Elon Musk's $44.9 billion pay package Thursday, the CEO could deliver on threats to take artificial intelligence research to one of his other companies. Or he could even could walk away.

If they approve the all-stock compensation package that was thrown out by a Delaware judge in January, it would almost guarantee he would remain at the company he grew to be the world leader in electric vehicles, shifting to AI and robotics including autonomous vehicles, which Musk says is Tesla's future.

But even with reapproval at Thursday's annual shareholders' meeting, which many analysts say is likely, there would be uncertainty. Musk has threatened on X, his social media platform, to develop AI elsewhere if he doesn't get a 25 percent stake in Tesla (He owns about 13 percent now). Musk's xAI recently received $6 billion in funding to develop artificial intelligence.

Wedbush Analyst Dan Ives said he expects the package to be overwhelmingly reapproved, ending a lot of uncertainty with Musk. “This issue has been an overhang on Tesla’s stock, and this will be important to move this distraction in the rearview mirror,” Ives wrote in a note to investors.

Shares of Tesla Inc. have slumped more than 30 percent this year with the company warning of “notably lower” sales growth in 2024.

Also on the shareholder ballot is the related issue of moving the electric vehicle maker's legal home out of Delaware to Texas.

The move is designed to escape from the Delaware court's oversight and possibly a ruling from Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick that invalidated Musk's pay package. In a January opinion on a shareholder lawsuit, the judge determined that Musk controlled the Tesla board and is not entitled to the landmark package once worth nearly $56 billion.

Multiple institutional investors have come out against that sizeable payout, some citing falling vehicle sales, price cuts and the tumbling Tesla stock price. But Tesla's top five institutional shareholders, Vanguard, BlackRock, State Street, Geode Capital, and Capital Research either said they don't announce their votes or wouldn't comment. They control about 17 percent of the votes.

Erik Gordon, a business and law professor at the University of Michigan, said individual shareholders are likely to vote for the package, and they own more than half of Tesla's shares.

One institutional investor who came out against the package is California's State Teachers Retirement System. The large pension fund said Tuesday that it would vote against Musk's pay "based on its sheer magnitude, and because the award would be extremely dilutive to shareholders. We also have concerns with the lack of focus on profitability for the company.”

In May, two big shareholder advisory firms, ISS and Glass Lewis, recommended voting against the package.

But Tesla and Musk have unleashed a furious lobbying effort to get the package approved, in posts on X, television appearances and in proxy filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Only 2 days left to protect & help grow the value of your investment in $TSLA by voting FOR ratification of the 2018 CEO Performance Award,” Tesla posted on X early Tuesday.

Tesla Chairwoman Robyn Denholm, in a letter to shareholders, wrote that the package was approved by 73 percent of the vote six years ago. “Because the Delaware Court second-guessed your decision, Elon has not been paid for any of his work for Tesla for the past six years that has helped to generate significant growth and stockholder value. That strikes us — and the many stockholders from whom we already have heard — as fundamentally unfair, and inconsistent with the will of the stockholders who voted for it,” she wrote.

Tesla has said the 2018 award incentivized Musk to create over $735 billion in value for shareholders in the six years since it was approved.

If Tesla finalizes the vote on moving the company's legal home to Texas before the vote on Musk’s pay package, and it manages to file the paperwork in Austin and get approval of the move, then the effect of the Delaware court ruling could be in doubt. Reapproval of the pay package would then be done as a Texas corporation and could fall under the purview of Texas courts.

Anticipating a quick move by Tesla, lawyers for the shareholder who filed the lawsuit seeking to block Musk’s pay deal, Richard Tornetta, filed motions in Delaware last month seeking an order stopping Tesla from trying to move the case. Tesla responded in letters to the judge that there is no cause for such concerns because they won’t seek a move. Besides, Tesla would still be a Delaware corporation at the time of this week's shareholder vote, they wrote.

In an order denying Tornetta’s motions, Chancellor McCormick wrote that she interprets Tesla’s letters to mean it has no intention of relocating the case to Texas. “The defendants’ statements give me great comfort,” she wrote.

Eric Talley, a Columbia University law professor, said the lawyers are unlikely to try to move the case because their livelihood is handling business cases in Delaware courts.

But it’s also possible that the unpredictable Musk could change lawyers.

McCormick, Talley said, is telling the lawyers “OK, I’m going to believe you, but I’m going to be really irritated if this is a big send up for these things that you said you’re not going to do.”

Talley, who also is a Tesla shareholder and said at present he plans to vote against Musk’s pay, expects Tesla to follow through with appealing McCormick’s ruling to the Delaware Supreme Court.

Switching fully to electric vehicles could prevent 157 premature deaths each month in Houston. Photo courtesy

New Houston study shows health impacts of full vehicle electrification in major U.S. cities

what could be

A new study from the University of Houston shows that there's no one-size-fits-all strategy for full vehicle electrification in America's largest U.S. cities.

The study by Ali Mousavinezhad and Yunsoo Choi considered changes in air pollution, specifically PM2.5 and ozone levels, in Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago under different electrification scenarios and how the changes could impact public health.

“Our findings indicate vehicle electrification generally contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality, and lowering the mortality rate associated with exposure to toxic air pollutants,” Mousavinezhad said in a statement.

However, Mousavinezhad and Choi found that full electrification in Los Angeles could have negative impacts on public health.

Switching fully to electric vehicles could prevent 157 premature deaths each month in Houston, 796 deaths in New York and 328 in Chicago, according to the study. But in Los Angeles, full electrification would increase mortality.

Additionally, full electrification would save between $51 million to $249 million per day for New York, Chicago, and Houston in health-related costs. But Los Angeles would face economic losses of up to $18 million per day.

This was largely due to the unique weather and geography in Los Angeles that can trap air pollutants that harm the lungs. The study found that full electrification would lead to increases in PM2.5 and MDA8 ozone. According to UH, the study reveals the importance and "complexity of air quality management."

“The four largest U.S. cities have distinct anthropogenic sources of air pollutants and greenhouse gases, “Choi added. “Each city requires unique regulations or strategies, including different scenarios for the adoption of electric vehicles, to reduce concentrations of these pollutants and greenhouse gases effectively.”

Mousavinezhad, lead author, is a recent Ph.D. graduate from UH. Choi is a professor of atmospheric chemistry, AI deep learning, air quality modeling and satellite remote sensing. The study, titled “Air quality and health co-benefits of vehicle electrification and emission controls in the most populated United States urban hubs: insights from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston,” was published in the journal Science of the Total Environment earlier this year.

Earlier this year, Texas ranked low in a study that looked at the closest EV charging stations equivalent to a trip to the gas station. However, another study showed that Texas is among the top of the pack for states with the most electric vehicle registrations, but Houston fell behind other large metros in the state for EV friendliness. Click here to read more about both reports.
Texas, which was recently deemed one of the worst states for EV drivers, was reported in a Texas Trends survey to only have 5.1 percent of residents drive an electric-powered car, truck, or SUV. Photo via Getty Images

Poll: Many Texans, Americans still shy away from EV ownership despite recent pushes

by the numbers

Many Americans still aren’t sold on going electric for their next car purchase. High prices and a lack of easy-to-find charging stations are major sticking points, a new poll shows.

About 4 in 10 U.S. adults say they would be at least somewhat likely to buy an EV the next time they buy a car, according to the poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, while 46% say they are not too likely or not at all likely to purchase one.

The poll results, which echo an AP-NORC poll from last year, show that President Joe Biden’s election-year plan to dramatically raise EV sales is running into resistance from American drivers. Only 13% of U.S. adults say they or someone in their household owns or leases a gas-hybrid car, and just 9% own or lease an electric vehicle.

Texas, which was recently deemed one of the worst states for EV drivers, was reported in a Texas Trends survey to only have 5.1 percent of residents drive an electric-powered car, truck, or SUV.

Caleb Jud of Cincinnati said he’s considering an EV, but may end up with a plug-in hybrid — if he goes electric. While Cincinnati winters aren’t extremely cold, “the thought of getting stuck in the driveway with an EV that won’t run is worrisome, and I know it wouldn’t be an issue with a plug-in hybrid,″ he said. Freezing temperatures can slow chemical reactions in EV batteries, depleting power and reducing driving range.

A new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency requires that about 56% of all new vehicle sales be electric by 2032, along with at least 13% plug-in hybrids or other partially electric cars. Auto companies are investing billions in factories and battery technology in an effort to speed up the switch to EVs to cut pollution, fight climate change — and meet the deadline.

EVs are a key part of Biden’s climate agenda. Republicans led by presumptive nominee Donald Trump are turning it into a campaign issue.

Younger people are more open to eventually purchasing an EV than older adults. More than half of those under 45 say they are at least “somewhat” likely to consider an EV purchase. About 32% of those over 45 are somewhat likely to buy an EV, the poll shows.

But only 21% of U.S. adults say they are “very” or “extremely” likely to buy an EV for their next car, according to the poll, and 21% call it somewhat likely. Worries about cost are widespread, as are other practical concerns.

Range anxiety – the idea that EVs cannot go far enough on a single charge and may leave a driver stranded — continues to be a major reason why many Americans do not purchase electric vehicles.

About half of U.S. adults cite worries about range as a major reason not to buy an EV. About 4 in 10 say a major strike against EVs is that they take too long to charge or they don’t know of any public charging stations nearby.

Concern about range is leading some to consider gas-engine hybrids, which allow driving even when the battery runs out. Jud, a 33-year-old operations specialist and political independent, said a hybrid "is more than enough for my about-town shopping, dropping my son off at school'' and other uses.

With EV prices declining, cost would not be a factor, Jud said — a minority view among those polled. Nearly 6 in 10 adults cite cost as a major reason why they would not purchase an EV.

Price is a bigger concern among older adults.

The average price for a new EV was $52,314 in February, according to Kelley Blue Book. That's down by 12.8% from a year earlier, but still higher than the average price for all new vehicles of $47,244, the report said.

Jose Valdez of San Antonio owns three EVs, including a new Mustang Mach-E. With a tax credit and other incentives, the sleek new car cost about $49,000, Valdez said. He thinks it's well worth the money.

"People think they cost an arm and a leg, but once they experience (driving) an EV, they'll have a different mindset,'' said Valdez, a retired state maintenance worker.

The 45-year-old Republican said he does not believe in climate change. “I care more about saving green” dollars, he said, adding that he loves the EV's quiet ride and the fact he doesn't have to pay for gas or maintenance. EVs have fewer parts than gas-powered cars and generally cost less to maintain. Valdez installed his home charger himself for less than $700 and uses it for all three family cars, the Mustang and two older Ford hybrids.

With a recently purchased converter, he can also charge at a nearby Tesla supercharger station, Valdez said.

About half of those who say they live in rural areas cite lack of charging infrastructure as a major factor in not buying an EV, compared with 4 in 10 of those living in urban communities.

Daphne Boyd, of Ocala, Florida, has no interest in owning an EV. There are few public chargers near her rural home “and EVs don’t make any environmental sense,″ she said, citing precious metals that must be mined to make batteries, including in some countries that rely on child labor or other unsafe conditions. She also worries that heavy EV batteries increase wear-and-tear on tires and make the cars less efficient. Experts say extra battery weight can wear on tires but say proper maintenance and careful driving can extend tire life.

Boyd, a 54-year-old Republican and self-described farm wife, said EVs may eventually make economic and environmental sense, but “they’re not where they need to be” to convince her to buy one now or in the immediate future.

Ruth Mitchell, a novelist from Eureka Springs, Arkansas, loves her 2017 Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid that can go about 50 miles on battery power before the gas engine takes over. “It’s wonderful — quiet, great pickup, cheap to drive. I rave about it on Facebook,″ she said.

Mitchell, a 70-year-old Democrat, charges her car at home but says there are several public chargers near her house if needed. She’s not looking for a new car, Mitchell said, but when she does it will be electric: “I won't drive anything else.''

___

The AP-NORC poll of 6,265 adults was conducted March 26 to April 10, 2024 using a combined sample of interviews from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population, and interviews from opt-in online panels. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 1.7 percentage points. The AmeriSpeak panel is recruited randomly using address-based sampling methods, and respondents later were interviewed online or by phone.

Sysco recently took delivery of 10 heavy-duty, electric-powered trucks for its Houston operations. Photo via LinkedIn

Sysco introduces new fleet of electric trucks at Houston operations

ev moves

Houston-based food distributor Sysco is helping fuel the future of electric vehicles.

Sysco recently took delivery of 10 heavy-duty, electric-powered trucks for its Houston operations. With this delivery, Sysco now operates nearly 120 electric vehicles (EVs) around the world.

In 2023, Sysco unveiled its first EV hub, which is in Riverside, California. The hub will eventually feature:

  • 40 electric-powered refrigerated trailers
  • 40 electric-powered semi-trucks
  • 40 charging stations

The hub also will include 4 megawatt-hours of battery storage and 1.4 additional megawatts of solar power generation.

Aside from Houston and Riverside, Sysco uses EVs in Baltimore; Boston; Baltimore; Denver; Long Island, New York; Los Angeles; and Fremont, California. Its EV fleet extends to Canada, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Sysco announced in 2021 that it planned to operate nearly 800 electric-powered semi-trucks by 2026. Houston Freightliner is a partner in this initiative.

In all, Sysco aims to electrify 35 percent of its U.S. tractor fleet.

Around the world, EVs are contributing to Sysco’s goal of reducing direct emissions by 27.5 percent by 2030.

“We are proud of our progress to scale our electric truck fleet and continue our journey to meet our climate goal,” Neil Russell, chief administrative officer at Sysco, says in a news release. “This work is important to many of our customers who have also set goals to reduce emissions.”

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Oxy announces partnership to explore fusion technology in direct air capture facilities

dac powered

Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, an investment arm of Houston-based energy giant Occidental, is teaming up with TAE Technologies to explore the use of TAE’s fusion technology at Occidental’s direct air capture (DAC) facilities.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Oxy Low Carbon Ventures says fusion technology holds the potential to supply emissions-free, continuous, on-demand energy to bolster power and heating requirements for Occidental’s large-scale DAC facilities.

“Collaborating with TAE Technologies is an opportunity to build on Occidental’s portfolio of clean power sources that can provide our [DAC] facilities with reliable, emissions-free energy,” Frank Koller, vice president for power development at Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, says in a news release.

Occidental is diving headfirst into the DAC sector. The primary example of its DAC commitment is construction in West Texas of the world’s largest DAC plant through a joint venture between Occidental subsidiary 1PointFive and investment giant BlackRock. BlackRock is investing $550 million in the facility.

The project is expected to be completed in mid-2025. The facility is eventually supposed to capture up to 500,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.

DAC technology pulls carbon dioxide from the atmosphere so it can be stored permanently or converted into products. While the carbon removal process sounds simple, it requires a tremendous amount of energy. That’s where fusion technology like TAE’s comes into play.

TAE’s fusion technology works by combining (or fusing) the light nuclei of elements such as hydrogen to produce energy. The energy release is managed by producing steam, which spins a turbine that drives an electric generator producing clean energy or clean heat.

Founded in 1998, Foothill Ranch, California-based TAE develops commercial fusion power for generation of clean energy.

“Oxy Low Carbon Venture’s desire for emissions-free energy makes this the perfect moment to explore the deployment of our commercial-ready power management products, while the growing demand for large-scale power generation can be served by our future fusion offerings,” says Michl Binderbauer, CEO of TAE.

Elon Musk gets green light from shareholders to get back $44.9B Tesla pay package

bullish on EVs

Tesla shareholders voted Thursday to restore CEO Elon Musk's record $44.9 billion pay package that was thrown out by a Delaware judge earlier this year, sending a strong vote of confidence in his leadership of the world's largest electric vehicle maker.

The favorable vote doesn’t necessarily mean that Musk will get the all-stock compensation anytime soon. The package is likely to remain tied up in the Delaware Chancery Court and Supreme Court for months as Tesla tries to overturn the Delaware judge's rejection.

Musk has raised doubts about his future with Tesla this year, writing on X, the social media platform he owns, that he wanted a 25% stake in the company in order to stop him from taking artificial intelligence development elsewhere. The higher stake is needed to control the use of AI, he has said.

Tesla also has struggled with falling sales and profit margins as demand for electric vehicles slows worldwide.

But at the company's annual meeting Thursday in Austin, Texas, Musk reassured shareholders that he will stick around, telling them he can't sell any stock in the compensation package for five years.

“It's not actually cash, and I can't cut and run, nor would I want to,” he said.

The company said late Thursday that shareholders had voted for Musk's compensation plan, which initially was approved by the board and stockholders six years ago.

Tesla last valued the package at $44.9 billion in an April regulatory filing. It was once as much as $56 billion but has declined in value in tandem with Tesla's stock, which has dropped about 25% so far this year.

Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick ruled in January in a shareholder’s lawsuit that Musk essentially controlled the Tesla board when it ratified the package in 2018, and that it failed to fully inform shareholders who approved it the same year.

Tesla has said it would appeal, but asked shareholders to reapprove the package at Thursday’s annual meeting.

A separate vote approved moving the company’s legal home to Texas to avoid the courts in Delaware, where Tesla is registered as a corporation.

“Its incredible," a jubilant Musk told the crowd gathered at Tesla's headquarters and large factory in Austin, Texas. “I think we’re not just opening a new chapter for Tesla, we’re starting a new book.”

Musk and Tesla didn’t win everything. Shareholders approved measures that trimmed board member terms from three years to one and cut the required vote on shareholder proposals to a simple majority.

Legal experts say the issue of Musk’s pay will still be decided in Delaware, largely because Musk’s lawyers have assured McCormick they won’t try to move the case to Texas.

But they differ on whether the new ratification of the pay package will make it easier for Tesla to get it approved.

Charles Elson, a retired professor and founder of the corporate governance center at the University of Delaware, said he doesn’t think the vote will influence McCormick, who issued a decision based on the law.

McCormick’s ruling essentially made the 2018 compensation package a gift to Musk, Elson said, and that would need unanimous shareholder approval, an impossible threshold. The vote, he said, is interesting from a public perception standpoint, but “in my view it does not affect the ruling.”

John Lawrence, a Dallas-based lawyer with Baker Botts who defends corporations against shareholder lawsuits, agreed the vote doesn’t end the legal dispute and automatically give Musk the stock options. But he says it gives Tesla a strong argument to get the ruling overturned.

He expects Musk and Tesla to argue that shareholders were fully informed before the latest votes, so McCormick should reverse her decision. But the plaintiff in the lawsuit will argue that the vote has no impact and isn’t legally binding, Lawrence said.

The vote, he said, was done under Delaware law and should be considered by the judge.

“This shareholder vote is a strong signal that you now have an absolutely well-informed body of shareholders,” he said. “The judge in Delaware still could decide that this doesn’t change a thing about her prior ruling and doesn’t require her to make any different ruling going forward. But I think it definitely gives Tesla and Musk strong ammunition to try to get her to revisit this.”

If the ruling stands, then Musk likely will appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court, Lawrence said.

Multiple institutional investors have come out against Musk’s sizeable payout, some citing the company’s recent struggles. But analysts said votes by individual shareholders likely put Musk’s pay over the top.

Early Friday, Tesla disclosed that shareholders voted for Musk's pay package by 1,760,780,650 to 528,908,419, with about 77% of all votes in favor. The company's shares jumped 3% by the time the markets closed Thursday and were up 1.2% in premarket trading early Friday.

After the votes were announced, Musk began telling shareholders about new developments in the company's “Full Self-Driving” system. He has staked the company's future on development of autonomous vehicles, robots and artificial intelligence.

“Full Self-Driving” keeps improving with new versions, and its safety per mile is better than human drivers, Musk said.

"This is actually going to work. This is going to happen. Mark my words, this is just a matter of time,” he said.

Despite its name, “Full Self-Driving” can’t drive itself, and the company says human drivers must be ready to intervene at all times. Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” hardware went on sale late in 2015, and Musk has used the name ever since as the company gathered data to teach its computers how to drive.

In 2019, Musk promised a fleet of autonomous robotaxis by 2020, and he said in early 2022 that the cars would be autonomous that year. In April of last year, Musk said the system should be ready in 2023.

Since 2021, Tesla has been beta-testing “Full Self-Driving” using volunteer owners. U.S. safety regulators last year made Tesla recall the software after finding that the system misbehaved around intersections and could violate traffic laws.

Musk also said the company is making huge progress on its Optimus humanoid robot. Currently it has two working at its factory in Fremont, California, that take battery cells off a production line and put them in shipping containers, he said.

Despite laying off the team working on Tesla’s Supercharger electric vehicle charging network, Musk said he thinks the company will deploy more chargers this year “that are actually working” than the rest of the industry. In the second half of the year, he expects to spend $500 million on Superchargers, Musk said.