In this issue we have an article on Elon Musk's challenge to the coal industry to eliminate subsidies, SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell says the rocket explosion on Sep 1. was likely a "business process issue," Elon Musk has announced two product unveilings this month, and much more!
Thank-you for being part of this newsletter, and enjoy Issue 51!
"Real fraud going on is denial of climate science. As for "subsidies", Tesla gets pennies on dollar vs coal. How about we both go to zero?"
Now that Tesla is venturing further into the energy industry by ramping up its energy storage division, Tesla Energy', and with solar through its proposed merger with SolarCity, the company is not just causing troubles to established automakers and big oil, but also traditional energy companies like coal mining corporations.
This morning it became clear that Tesla is not welcomed by those companies when Robert Murray, a climate-change denier and CEO of Murray Energy Corporation, one of the biggest coal mining firms in the US, called Tesla a "fraud" for receiving subsidies without turning a profit.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk fired back at Murray saying that the "real fraud going on is denial of climate science" and he suggested that Murray's own company was profiting from subsidies and that they should both try to compete without any
SpaceX is getting closer to finding the cause of a September pad explosion that destroyed a Falcon 9, and the company's president remains confident the vehicle will return to flight later this year. Because it is not a design issue, Shotwell remained confident that the Falcon 9 can resume launches later this year. "Hopefully we'll recover from this and be back flying a couple times this year," she said.
Shotwell's speech at the meeting was billed as a talk about the company's Mars exploration plans as an example of a "mega-engineering" initiative. It was, rather, more of an overview of SpaceX's overall activities, including efforts to make its Falcon 9 reusable, with only a brief mention at the end of the Mars transportation architecture SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk unveiled Sept. 27 at the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico.
Elon Musk took to Twitter to announce an unexpected product launch event on October 17th, just a week away. He further noted that the expected Tesla/SolarCity announcement, which he previously hoped to hold at the end of the month, would indeed be on October 28th
We have heard a number of things about the SolarCity event which many expect to also mark the closing of the deal. As for the 17th event, we haven't heard specifics but can dip into speculation that the event will revolve around Autopilot, a hot topic of late. There could possibly be some Model 3 announcement updates which could include higher-end optional specs and perhaps a closer look at what the final, pencils down design will look like.
It's arguable, of course, but third-party tests have shown Tesla Autopilot outperforming other semi-autonomous or advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) from Mercedes, Hyundai and Cadillac by a wide margin. That, and the fact that Tesla is gaining more real world data in its vehicles than anyone else would seem to indicate Tesla is a leader in the field, if not the leader.
Now we learn that Tesla could be about to significantly increase its lead with 'Tesla Vision'. Electrek has learned more details about the new program, which is an end-to-end computer vision system built with NVIDIA's CUDA, a parallel computing platform by the graphics processing unit (GPU) maker.
If you add up the distance that Elon Musk's Teslas have traveled with the driver-assisting Autopilot technology enabled, it would be more than enough to travel to Mars and back twice.
On Friday — the same day that Tesla announced its cars have now traveled more than 3 billion miles — Musk shared the news on Twitter that Autopilot-powered Teslas have rolled some 222 million miles since the semi-autonomous technology's debut almost a year ago.
Twenty years from now, when gasoline-powered cars are only used in parades and period pieces, announcements like the one Tesla trumpeted on Friday — "Tesla drivers just passed 3 billion electric miles, saving the world 120M gallons of gas " — might seem a little twee. But today, it's big news.
And while three billion came very fast, four billion is going to come even sooner. The company marked one billion miles in June 2015 and passed the two billion mile mark in April, showing that the prevalence of the electric car company on the road is growing exponentially. If you consider the fact that the Tesla Model S didn't reach a billion road miles until 2015, or about three years after the car debuted, the growth in the past year seems pretty staggering.
In a surprising follow-up after his announcement that Tesla will hold a product unveiling next week on the 17th, CEO Elon Musk said that Tesla nor SolarCity will need to raise equity or debt before the end of the year, and "probably not in Q1 2017 either". It's surprising because Tesla and Musk himself disclosed on two recent occasions that the automaker is about to raise capital.
He says that neither company will "need" to raise capital, but that doesn't mean that they won't since Tesla always retains the option to go to the public market if the conditions are good for the company to raise capital. It would certainly be playing with semantic, but it would still be an accurate comment.
Sources with knowledge of the Powerpack 2.0 program told Electrek that Tesla is preparing to launch a new generation of the battery pack, which has been referred to as 'Powerpack 2.0', toward the very end of the year. The new pack will make full use of the new 2170 cell format and sources say that it will double the energy capacity of the system.
While the current Powerpack is being advertised with a capacity of 100 kWh, sources say that the available energy is closer to 95 kWh and that the new Powerpack 2.0 will have a capacity of 200 kWh. The pack itself will stay roughly the same size, which is a good indication of the improved energy density.
Last month, we reported that Tesla disclosed that it was fighting 4 different lawsuits from stockholders over the SolarCity merger alleging breached of fiduciary duties in connection with the proposed merger . We now learn that the number has gone up to 7 lawsuits against Tesla CEO Elon Musk ahead of a scheduled court hearing to consolidate the actions on October 14th. Tesla disclosed the lawsuits in an updated SEC filing on Friday and wrote that the company believes they are 'without merit'.
As previously reported, these kinds of lawsuits happen routinely after the price of a stock is affected negatively following a particular event. In this case, the proposed merger between Tesla and SolarCity. Both Tesla and SolarCity faced similar lawsuits in the past, but what is particularly interesting is that it could affect the merger in this case.
Rive told Business Insider that "next year is going to be the big year for solar," because of the solar roof product the company plans to unveil October 28. "We should definitely increase forecasts for 2017," Rive said. "I think there will be high demand for solar combined with storage. Our solar roofing offering opens up a whole new market we haven't addressed before."