This note from the curator is a little different...
I started this newsletter on March 4th as a personal challenge to see if I could earn an income from something I'm passionate about. Initially, the most obvious revenue model to me was paid corporate sponsorships. After 7 months of growing the newsletter, soliciting sponsorship, and publishing two issues per week, the newsletter has just broken even in expenses (I spend ~$500 per month to produce & grow the newsletter). Unfortunately, this is not sustainable financially or time wise. I now have two options going forward: kill the newsletter, or switch to a different revenue model.
As so many of you love reading it, and as I love producing it, I think that putting the newsletter to rest is absolutely the wrong option. Instead, I've decided to move to a paid newsletter model. Here's how it will work:
If you enjoy Elon Musk News and read it regularly, I'd tremendously appreciate it if you signed up for Elon Musk News Premium. This way you will continue to receive the newsletter twice per week with pixel popping images. You will also be added to our secret Facebook group for hard core Elon Musk fans, and get 20% off our SpaceX & Tesla themed apparel. The cost for this is $7 / month or $37 / year.
Now, if you decide not go for Elon Musk News Premium, you will only get the newsletter once per week. I really want to continue delivering Elon Musk News to everyone already on the list! The difference is that the free newsletter won't have images, and there will be ads from time to time.
Thank-you so much for reading this far, and for all your support!
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If you would like to continue receiving Elon Musk News twice a week with high fidelity images and no ads, I encourage you to sign up for Elon Musk News Premium. Premium subscribers are also added to our secret Facebook group for hard core Elon Musk fans, and get 20% off our SpaceX & Tesla themed apparel. Click here to Go Premium
SpaceX will continue operations to resume launches despite their payload processing facility being damaged by Hurricane Matthew last week. The storm caused damage to the building's roof and siding, as well as blowing out its windows. Still, this has not deterred the company's plans to continue launching its Falcon 9 rockets by the end of the year.
A spokesperson from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station said the exterior of SpaceX's Payload Processing Facility near Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) was severely damaged. Spaceflight Now reported that the building had experienced sustained wind gusts over 100 mph (160 km/h). The NewSpace firm, however, said it already has a backup facility to process payloads at the SLC-40 annex.
There was no damage to nearby Launch Complex 39A (LC 39A), where engineers are finishing up work to ready the former Space Shuttle pad to host SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. Work is expected to be completed by late November.
With six successful Falcon 9 rocket landings under its belt, SpaceX wants to take reusability to the next step: refly a Dragon capsule. This will allow the company to focus its efforts on the next-generation Dragon that will transport crew and cargo.
During a presentation at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) this week, Benjamin Reed, director of commercial crew mission management at SpaceX, said the company is planning to fly a previously used Dragon spacecraft on its eleventh Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission (named CRS-11), which is on the books for sometime in early 2017.
Reed said at the conference on Thursday the biggest hurdle is how to prevent salty seawater from entering the capsule when it splashes down into the Pacific's corrosive salt water.
Tesla and Panasonic have entered into a non-binding letter of intent under which they will begin collaborating on the manufacturing and production of photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules in Buffalo, New York. Under this agreement, which is contingent upon shareholders' approval of Tesla's acquisition of SolarCity, Tesla will use the cells and modules in a solar energy system that will work seamlessly with Powerwall and Powerpack, Tesla's energy storage products. With the aid of installation, sales and financing capabilities from SolarCity, Tesla will bring an integrated sustainable energy solution to residential, commercial, and grid-scale customers.
Third-quarter sales of the Tesla Motors Model S electric sedan surged 59 percent from last year to 9,156 units, the company confirmed to Autoblog today. The sales are about five percent more than our previous third-quarter estimate, since that was a guess based on Tesla's disclosure of its global quarterly sales. Bloomberg News, which first reported the US sales figures, said the Model S was the country's best-selling luxury sedan in the third quarter, and by a wide margin. Tesla also sold 5,428 Model X vehicles during the quarter, Tesla confirmed.
Hate to be the bearer of bad news Tesla fans, but you will have to wait a few more days before finding out what that new mystery product is. Musk teased on Twitter last week that in addition to the Tesla/SolarCity event later this month, the car company planned on unveiling a new product on October 17.
Many fans speculate the announcement will have something to do with Autopilot 2.0 — a highly anticipated upgrade to the current autopilot system. The new system will add sensors to the vehicles, enabling more features, like the ability to read stop signs and interpret traffic signals in order to help the cars navigate city streets.
The Tesla Gigafactory is key to the automaker's planned production ramp up to 500,000 cars per year by 2018. It is expected to both significantly reduce the cost of Tesla's battery packs, which will enable Tesla to reach the $35,000 price point for the Model 3, and to secure a large supply of battery cells.
Those two products, battery cells and battery packs, were until now the only products expected to be manufactured at the factory. We now learn that Tesla plans to also manufacture drive units at the plant. With vehicle battery packs, the automaker will be closer to producing its entire next generation powertrains at what is expected to be the largest factory in the world by footprint.
Earlier this year, we reported on the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) testing Tesla Model S sedans as 'high-pursuit' police cruisers. The automaker loaned two Model S P85Ds to the department, but they were testing the vehicles stock without any police equipment other than what has been done on the exterior as seen on the pictures above.
After a few months of evaluation, we now learn that the LAPD and Tesla are going forward and working together to retrofit one of the loaned Model S's with equipment for police patrol. The initiative is part of a city-wide effort to convert the municipal fleet to electric transport.
Tesla officially offers 75 kWh, 90 kWh and 100 kWh battery packs. Those are the 3 biggest packs currently available in passenger cars today. The fourth biggest pack on the market was the electric Mercedes B-Class' battery pack, which was rated 36 kWh, but Mercedes was buying the powertrains through Daimler's partnership with Tesla.
It's only now with the very capable, but somewhat homely Chevy Bolt EV and its 60 kWh battery pack that other automakers are starting to get close to Tesla's energy capacity. But even then they are not killing surpassing it and they don't plan to for years to come. And that's not even counting GM's tarnished brand nor lack of DC charging infrastructure for long trips.
Some industry analysts suggested that Elon Musk was pushing for Tesla to acquire SolarCity in order for the automaker to help secure financing for a company that consistently requires more cash to provide it services with little to no upfront cost.
But it looks like SolarCity is doing just fine on the capital raising front ahead of the merger as it just secured another $300 million fund for a total close to $1 billion since the board announced it accepted Tesla's acquisition offer.
Elon Musk will learn next month whether his plan to merge electric-car maker Tesla Motors with solar power provider SolarCity Corp. has won shareholder support with the companies saying Wednesday that votes on the matter are due November 17.