This week Tesla hosted a press event for journalists to see Gigafactory 1 (Elon Musk intends to build a Gigafactory on every continent where there is sufficient demand). There is a great article by The Verge which discusses where the factory is at now, and why its success is critical to Tesla's future. For me, the Gigafactory 1 unveiling can be summed up by one short statement made by Elon - "I find this to be quite romantic... It feels like the Wild West."
There is also some exciting news on the SpaceX front. NASA's director of commercial spaceflight development said that SpaceX should be ready for a human test flight in August 2017. SpaceX also successfully test fired the Falcon 9 rocket that took the JCSAT communications satellite to orbit back in May.
If you believe there is a value to the CO2 capacity of the atmosphere and oceans and that CO2 capacity is not being paid for by the price at the gas pump or the coal that is being burned for electricity generation or whatever its use may be then every single fossil fuel burning activity is massively subsidized.
The real right way to correct it would be to establish a carbon tax. If you ask any economist they will tell you that is the obvious thing to do, put the correct price on carbon because we currently have an error in the economy which misprices carbon at zero or something closer to zero. It is a fundamental economic error.
According to NASA's director of commercial spaceflight development, Phil McAlister, in just a little over a year "we may see our first test crewed flight." McAlister emphasized that the evolution of the Commercial Crew Program has finally moved away from being dominated by policy discussions, and to a point where "we are riding through a lot of these very difficult activities" — namely, design, construction, and testing.
If all things go well, SpaceX should be ready for a human test flight by October 2017 or earlier; Boeing, by May 2018.
SpaceX is getting ready to launch one of the rockets it relanded to prove they're truly reusable. In fact, it just finished test firing one of them at its Texas development facility. The first-stage booster burned for a total of 2 minutes and 30 seconds, the full duration for a single stage flight, on Thursday night. According to NASA Spaceflight, the booster looked like it was in great shape after the test upon initial evaluation, which bodes well for the company's plans.
NASA estimates that SpaceX is spending on the order of $300 million on its Red Dragon Mars lander mission, a down payment on the company's long-term ambitions for human Mars missions.
At a meeting of the NASA Advisory Council's technology committee in Cleveland July 26, Jim Reuter, deputy associate administrator for programs in NASA's space technology mission directorate, provided an overview of NASA's agreement with SpaceX, announced in April, to support that company's plans for an uncrewed Mars landing mission that could launch as soon as May 2018.
There are a lot of names for what SpaceX is developing — Falcon X, Falcon Super Heavy, Big Falcon Rocket, Big F** Rocket — but the point is, this new rocket system would be the most powerful rocket in the world by far. And perhaps we only have to wait two months until the curtains are raised on those designs. Chris Bergin, the managing editor for NASASpaceFlight.com, quietly posted this little nugget on Twitter Wednesday: "T-2 months until Elon breaks the internet by revealing the world's largest ever rocket system (and by some margin)." The hashtag was #WeCannotWait.
When you find yourself in the middle of the Nevada desert, on a 100-degree day, you wonder: who in the world would build something here? Elon Musk, of course. And so I'm here in the city of Sparks, outside of Reno, because of Musk's dream — his "Master Plan" for Tesla, to be specific. He's staked his entire company (and much of his net worth) on a single, enormous building here: the Gigafactory.
Tesla's Gigafactory is perhaps the best example of the literal scale of Elon Musk's ambitions. When the factory is complete, it will be the largest building in the world by footprint and, if all goes according to plan, will eventually churn out enough batteries to supply 150 gigawatt hours of batteries per year. That's enough for 1.5 million Model 3s. Tesla hopes to build 35GWh of batteries per year by 2018, equivalent to 500,000 Model 3s.
It's official: The pencils are down. Elon Musk told a roomful of reporters on Tuesday that the final designs for Tesla's $35,000 electric Model 3 were locked up two weeks ago, and the company is moving forward on schedule to start producing them next summer. That was just the beginning.
Here are eight big takeaways from a tour of the Gigafactory and a Q&A session with Musk, Chief Technology Officer J.B. Straubel, and Panasonic executive Yoshihiko Yamada.
The first Gigafactory battery cells will be used in Tesla Energy products, but they will soon after make their way in vehicle battery packs. But the battery packs at the factory will feature a new architecture. Even though the battery cells themselves will be bigger than the ones currently used (18650 to 20700), the battery packs will be smaller thanks to better packaging and cooling.
At the Gigafactory event yesterday, Elon Musk said that the first vehicle battery packs will come out of the factory in about 6 months and will be used as development battery pack for the Model 3. In 8 to 9 months, battery packs for the Model S and X will also rollout for validation and for production in the following months.
At a special media event for the opening of the Tesla Gigafactory today, CEO Elon Musk made a few comments about the upcoming Model 3. He confirmed the pencil down on the design as reported two weeks ago, and he also elaborated on its financial sustainability as a vehicle program.
With already over 373,000 reservations (Tesla hasn't updated this number in a while), the vehicle already proves to be in demand, but industry analysts want to know if Tesla can make money selling them in order to finance its other ambitious goals, like a pickup truck and 'Tesla Semi'.
Musk said that once at full production, he expects the Model 3 to generate around $20 billion in revenue per year for Tesla with $5 billion in gross profit (or 25% gross margin). It adds up to roughly 500,000 cars per year at a $40,000 price tag.
Just days before Elon Musk plans on opening the doors of Tesla's Gigafactory 1, Hyperloop One has announced plans for an all-new manufacturing plant of its own. Called the Hyperloop One MetalWorks, the plant will be a "105,000 square foot tooling and fabrication" located not too far off from the Gigafactory in North Las Vegas, Nevada.
The plant's primary focus will be to research, build, and prepare a full-system Hyperloop One prototype known as DevLoop, which is scheduled for debut in 2017. The plant's in-house Transponics® test lab will continue the company's efforts to develop the propulsion system that will launch the Hyperloop One at its incredible predicted speeds.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) announced today that it will build an "innovation train" for Germany's Deutsche Bahn, the largest railway operator in Europe. The train will not be a super-fast hyperloop, in which pods are propelled through aluminum tubes at speeds of up to 760 mph, but a conventional train that includes some of the futuristic technologies the startup has been showcasing at tech conferences around the world.