22 ottobre 2017

Elon Musk News - Issue 106

Elon Musk News - Issue 106
Get Elon Musk News twice per week with high quality images, access to our secret Facebook group, and discounted apparel by going premium 🎉
Note From The Curator
The top three stories in this issue of Elon Musk News are:
  1. Elon Musk's SpaceX AMA: Living on Mars, Spaceship Info, Timeline
  2. Inside Tesla's Secret Second Floor
  3. The Boring Company will add second tunneling machine "Line-storm" to its fleet
One of my favorite pieces I read this week is from Tesla's former VP of production, Greg Reichow. In the article published on WIRED he dives deep into why Tesla is so focused on vertical integration, and the benefits they derive from it. Reichow writes: "Our goal wasn't to build the best electric vehicle. It was to build the best premium car in the world that just happened to be an EV. This meant integrating technologies that were not readily available." It's #2 of the top three stories in this issue.

Thank-you so much for being part of this community and enjoy issue 106!

Featured Quote
"Landing site [on Mars] needs to be low altitude to maximize aero braking, be close to ice for propellant production and not have giant boulders. Closer to the equator is better too for solar power production and not freezing your ass off."
— Elon Musk

From WP
Sponsored Link
Blinkist: Big ideas in small packages
The average CEO reads more than 60 books per year. With Blinkist you can read or listen to the key insights from the best nonfiction books in a matter of minutes (including Ashlee Vance's biography of Elon Musk)!
Start your free trial!
Zach says: There was far too much technical material covered in Musk's AMA to even remotely give it justice here. I highly recommend checking out these articles from The Verge and Teslarati.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk hosted a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) Saturday afternoon and spent several hours drinking whiskey, trolling the audience, answering some great questions, and generally having a blast. He revealed a vast array of fascinating new details about SpaceX's giant new rocket (BFR), its upper stage spaceship (BFS), and much more. You'll want to shy away from the AMA page itself, currently clocking in at more 10,000 comments.
Israeli satellite operator Space Communications will be sending its newest Amos-17 satellite aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at no cost in 2019. The news comes via a press release by SpaceCom that indicates SpaceX will provide launch services for the Amos-17 satellite in 2019 which will be followed by a second launch in 2020 for its Amos-8 satellite. More notably, the "launch agreement" constitutes a correction to the failed Amos-6 satellite launch after the "Facebook satellite" was destroyed when its Falcon 9 launcher exploded during a routine static fire test two days ahead of liftoff.

SpaceX has provided the Israeli company "credits" from the unfilled September 2016 Amos-6 mission that SpaceCom will use to cover the launch fees for Amos-17. It's not clear if the launch credits were a result of litigation after SpaceCom reportedly sued SpaceX for $50 million and demanded a free flight following the failed launch. The failed mission put a devastating blow on the Israeli space industry, but arguably more so on social network giant Facebook and their initiative to beam high-speed internet to sub-Saharan Africa. Despite last year's setback, SpaceCom has renewed their faith in Elon Musk's space company and has agreed to pay SpaceX up to $62 million for its Amos-8 launch in 2020.
Iridium Communications – in the midst of launching their next generation communications constellation – has formally signed an agreement with SpaceX to utilize flight-proven Falcon 9 boosters on their upcoming Iridium NEXT-4 and -5 missions.  Iridium NEXT-4, scheduled to launch NET 22 December 2017 from SLC-4E, will be the first flight-proven Falcon 9 mission from Vandenberg. The change in boosters now negates the possibility of a Return To Launch Site landing of the Falcon 9 for the mission.

The agreement signed with SpaceX only addresses the Iridium NEXT-4 and -5 missions, which will loft the Iridium NEXT 31-40 and 41-50 satellites, respectively, and follows comments from Iridium CEO Matt Desch that Iridium was not opposed to flying on flight-proven Falcon 9 cores as long as the risk and insurance elements of that decision were properly understood by Iridium. Importantly for Iridium, and for the launch market as a whole, Iridium revealed in its announcement that the cost of insuring the Iridium NEXT-4 and -5 missions did not change with the switch to flight-proven boosters.
In what has already been a busy year for SpaceX, the commercial launch provider is adding one more mission to its jammed-packed end-of-year schedule. A mysterious mission codenamed "Zuma" will launch from LC-39A at the Kennedy Space Center. It's not often that one can point to a last-minute (from the public side) addition of a mission to a launch manifest – let alone one that manages to stay secret until 30 days before the opening of its launch campaign.

The mission is a new addition to SpaceX's manifest and now appears to be the last flight off Pad 39A before the pad undergoes final configurations for the debut of the Falcon Heavy, which is still slated for NET (No Earlier Than) December 2017. Northrop Grumman is the payload provider for Zuma through a commercial launch contract with SpaceX for a LEO satellite with a mission type labeled as "government" and a needed launch date range of 1-30 November 2017.
One of the coldest, scariest charts on the planet is made from data beamed down from satellites that track the consistent rise in global sea levels. If you're NASA, you zoom out, way out, and you can collect data that illustrate how rising sea-levels are a worldwide problem. That very research has been going on since 1992, and on Thursday, NASA announced it had struck a deal with SpaceX for the Sentinel-6A mission scheduled for November 2020, which will see the study of sea level rise continue through 2027.

The mission will send up the first of two identical satellites, and will have two objectives: 1) record how sea levels are rising from space, using radar altimetry (measuring the distance between the ocean surface and the satellite above it), and 2) collect "high-resolution vertical profiles of temperature" of ocean water.
The head of U.S. Air Force Space Command said he's "completely committed" to launching future missions with recycled rockets like those championed by SpaceX's Elon Musk as the military looks to drive down costs. It would be "absolutely foolish" not to begin using pre-flown rockets, which bring such significant savings that they'll soon be commonplace for the entire industry, General John W. "Jay" Raymond said in an interview.

"The market's going to go that way. We'd be dumb not to," he said. "What we have to do is make sure we do it smartly… I am completely committed to launching on a reused rocket, a previously flown rocket, and making sure that we have the processes in place to be able to make sure that we can do that safely. What Elon has done is significantly reduce launch costs, that's driving reduced launch costs across the world."
Zach says: I highly recommend reading this piece by a Greg Reichow, Tesla's former VP of production. It's an illuminating look at why Tesla has such a strong focus on vertical integration.

While working at Tesla, I always enjoyed talking to people after they finished a factory tour. As much as they raved about the amazing automation, gigantic presses, and hundreds of robots, the reality was they only saw half of the actual manufacturing that was taking place in the building. Unknown to most visitors, the factory's "secret" second floor built many of Tesla's battery, power electronics, and drive-train systems. It was home to some of the most advanced manufacturing and automation systems in the company. Some of the robots moved at such high speeds that their arms needed to be built from carbon fiber instead of steel.
Tesla has reportedly fired an estimated 400 to 700 workers that failed to meet their performance benchmarks, including Fremont factory workers, managers, engineers, administrative staff, and sales positions. The dismissals took place this week and comes a week after Tesla announced that it had reached an all-time best quarter for Model S and X deliveries, but fell short on meeting its Model 3 guidance.

A Tesla spokesperson confirmed this week's dismissals, noting that the departures were not layoffs and a result of company-wide performance reviews. "As with any company, especially one of over 33,000 employees, performance reviews also occasionally result in employee departures," said Tesla. Tesla did not confirm the number of departures that took place but noted that the company will continue to hire and expects to fill the vast majority of new openings. "Tesla is continuing to grow and hire new employees around the world." said the Tesla spokesperson.
Last year, we published an exclusive report revealing that Tesla was working on a new car insurance program, which it started offering to its customers in Australia and Hong Kong. Tesla executives have since been talking about working more closely with insurance companies as self-driving technology improves. Now we learn that Tesla is preparing to launch the same program in North America.

It's called InsureMyTesla and it features custom insurance plans for the automaker's electric vehicles underwritten by insurers partnering with Tesla. Tesla partnered with Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and Aviva to offer the service in the US and Canada respectively. When talking about the program in Asia earlier this year, Jon McNeill, President of Sales and Services, said that they work with insurers to develop insurance products based on "Autopilot safety features and the maintenance costs of the cars." Earlier this year, data came out suggesting that some Tesla owners were paying higher than average premiums.
Tesla is about to come out with a new all-electric service vehicle based on the Model S and Model X vehicles, according to Jon McNeill, Tesla's President of Global Sales and Services: "We didn't think that it was very cool to show up to fix an electric vehicle with a combustion engine van. It really bugged us. Some really savvy technicians on our team figured out how to retrofit Model X to fit all the tooling and parts needed to do service."

That is actually impressive when you look at the type of equipment that they currently have in their ICE service vans, which they claim can fix over 80% of the issues on Tesla's vehicles. The executive added that they also figured out how to retrofit Model S with the same equipment. The modifications are apparently important enough that the vehicles need to be approved by road authorities, which McNeill expects will happen next year. Last quarter, Tesla announced plans to triple service capacity with 1,400 new techs, 350 new service vans, and in-car scheduling.
A lot of eyes are on Tesla's Model 3 production ramp up, especially following a production of only 260 Model 3 vehicles during the third quarter and some misleading media reports. Oppenheimer analyst Colin Rusch said that he met with Tesla last week, along with other investors, and he wrote in a note to clients today (via Barron's): "Tesla indicated that all the production equipment for Model 3 was installed and working and that all vehicles were moving through the manufacturing line. We understand the delayed ramp is due to a small number of suppliers failing to deliver on time... at least one of those suppliers has been fired and replaced by insourcing."
Tesla's Model 3 is apparently still "deep in production hell" and yet the automaker is still guiding for its first Model 3 deliveries to regular customers by the end of the month. Aside from Tesla's own guidance, it's still difficult to keep track of the important production ramp, but today we get another hint as Tesla registered another ~1,000 Model 3 VINs with NHTSA.

As the production ramp of the Model S and Model X taught us, VINs are not an ideal way to monitor a production ramp within a small and accurate margin, but it's a fairly representative way to figure out the general progress. Several VINs in the #500s have been spotted in the wild and now we received tips showing Model 3 VINs up to #2,136 have been registered with NHTSA – a jump of ~1,000 numbers in a week.
Early Tesla Model 3 owners are beginning to see the vehicle's automatic parallel and perpendicular parking feature dubbed as 'Autopark' come to life in the latest software update. A Model 3 owner took to YouTube to demonstrate the vehicle's ability to identify a vacant parking space and then automatically park itself into the designated spot.

Very similar to Autopark on a Model S and Model X, a "P" icon appears on the Model 3's touchscreen whenever the vehicle becomes properly aligned for self-parking. Tapping on the "Start" button while shifting the vehicle into (R)everse will initiate the parking sequence. In addition to enabling Autopark through Model 3's latest software, Tesla is expected to roll out additional Autopilot features including Autosteer and automatic lane changing in next iterations of its over-the-air update.
The first Tesla Model 3 owners are starting to discover the costs associated with using the company's fast charging Supercharger network. Unlike Tesla's flagship Model S and Model X vehicles that come bundled with roughly 1,000 miles of free Supercharging each year, unless the vehicle was purchased through Tesla's referral program which would entitle the buyer to free unlimited Supercharger use, Model 3 buyers must pay for the amount of energy being used at each Supercharger stall.

The 'Supercharger fee' being charged by Tesla varies by region and by charging tier. For North America, pricing is fixed within each state and charged per minute and based on a per killowatt-hour rate. For Model 3 owner PTFI, one can see from the tweet that their charge session in California cost $8.60 based on energy usage billed at $.20/kWh. The 43 kWh of energy drawn from Tesla's Supercharger backs into roughly 167 miles of range, still cheaper than the amount of gas needed to travel the same distance.
Zach says: Tesla responded to Consumer Reports's rating of the Model 3 and stated: "Time and time again, our own data shows that Consumer Reports' automotive reporting is consistently inaccurate and misleading to consumers..."

Consumer Reports has released their latest reliability rating for the Model S, upgrading its rating from "average" to "above average."  This is the first time Tesla has received an "above average" rating from Consumer Reports. In the same article, Consumer Reports also mentions their "predicted reliability" for the Model 3.

Consumer Reports decided to default to a predicted "average" reliability for the Model 3, which is the minimum required to achieve Consumer Reports's "recommended" mark.  Of course, Consumer Reports has not owned a car nor have their members reported on the Model 3 in the annual reliability survey, so this is all guesswork so far, and will be updated next year when owners have had their hands on the vehicle for a while.
Tesla has made good on its pledge to support domestic charging standards in China. Tesla announced Monday that a modified version of the Model S and Model X with a new charge port design will be sold in China that supports the country's GB/T DC fast charging standard. The China-only version of the Model S and Model X features a new charge port door that resembles a gas tank door and replaces Tesla's ubiquitous motorized charge port door that's discreetly tucked away into the vehicle's rear taillight housing.

Tesla will be providing free charging adapters to customers that own the earlier versions of the Model S and Model X without the newly integrated GB/T charge port. China's State Council has committed to building more than 12,000 new charging stations by 2020 to support the burgeoning market for 'new energy vehicles'. Tesla has also recently announced that it will install 1,000 Superchargers in China by the end of 2017.
Tesla Energy
Elon Musk said last week that Tesla would accelerate its effort to help bring power back to Puerto Rico after sending a few hundred Powerwall battery packs to the island where the electric grid was destroyed by hurricanes last month. Now we learn that Tesla is indeed stepping it up with now a new shipment of Powerpacks. A single Powerpack 2 battery pack has the same energy capacity (210 kWh) as almost 16 Powerwall 2 battery packs combined (each 13.5 kWh).

The new shipment arrived not long after Musk spoke with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello last week to talk about ways for Tesla Energy to help rebuild the power grid destroyed by the two hurricanes that recently hit the Caribbean. Days after their talk, Cal Lankton, Tesla's vice president of global infrastructure operations who recently took over leadership of Tesla Energy's sales and operations met with Governor Rossello at the government's command center.
Last month, it was revealed that Tesla is working with world's largest wind-turbine maker, Vestas, to deploy batteries at their wind farms. Now Tesla won its first contract with the company and as it turns out, it's not only for a wind farm but actually the first solar+wind+energy storage project in the world.

Australia's Windlab announced Thursday that they secured financing from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and they selected Vestas, Tesla, and Quanta for the project. At 4 MWh of batteries, it's actually a relatively small project for Tesla, especially when considering the massive new 100 MW/129 MWh Powerpack system that they are currently installing in Australia. But the combination of solar and wind is the interesting part here. If successful, they could end up scaling the energy storage capacity with the wind and solar capacity, which is expected to be quite significant at this site.
The Boring Company
Elon Musk's tunnel digging venture, The Boring Company, is about to add a second tunneling machine to its operations. Musk revealed on Twitter late Wednesday that "Line-storm" will be joining the company and become sibling to "GoDot", The Boring Company's slower-than-a-snail first digger. While Musk didn't provide any specifics on when the new boring machine will come online, one can expect it to be operational in no time especially if Musk's history of near-immediate project-turnaround has taught us anything.

True to The Boring Company's focus to name its machines after plays and poems, Line-Storm honors Robert Frost's early 20th-century poem "A Line-Storm Song". The poem tells a story of a young man who's love for someone is undeterred by a storm so severe that it leaves flowers too wet for bees to visit, and rains so strong that it leaves roses shattered, and birds songless. But through despair, the couple are still able to maintain a love and bond so strong that it overcomes all hardships.
Earlier this year, Musk announced a project to create an underground hyperloop system between New York and Washington DC. The idea is to leverage both the tunnel boring technology that the Boring Company is working on and Musk's original idea for a hyperloop. Now a site just south of Baltimore in Maryland with a visible 'The Boring Company' logo was spotted this week by Redditor DJB_2015.

It looks like a staging area for the entrance of a digging site – similar to what we have seen from The Boring Company at their tunnel entrance in SpaceX's parking lot. Larry Hogan, Governor of the State of Maryland, confirmed that they are working with the company for a "rapid electric transportation" system between Baltimore and Washington DC. It sounds like it could be the first leg of the New York city-DC underground hyperloop route announced by Musk earlier this year.
The Boring Company has raised an additional $80,000 in funding thanks to four thousand-some boring individuals (myself included) who impulsively purchased a branded hat, seemingly for no reason other than the fact that Elon Musk tweeted it. The $20 merch dubbed as "the world's most boring hat" was quickly shared across twitter by excited fans on Tuesday evening when Musk first revealed his plans to build LA's underground tunnel "one hat at a time."
Elon Musk has finally met the team behind Rick and Morty, in a pairing already described by fans of the show as "awesome." Musk, a long-time fan of the sci-fi adult cartoon, described the season finale earlier this month as "disgustingly good," which sparked a conversation with the team.

"Thank you for being a humble genius, a dreamer, and a beacon of hope for humanity," Justin Roiland, co-creator of Rick and Morty and the voice of the two titular characters, said in a tweet sent Friday. The show's Twitter account also shared a picture of Musk and Roiland alongside writer Mike McMahan and co-creator Dan Harmon, the latter of which also voices Bird Person.
Tesla & SpaceX Themed Apparel
Hi! My name is Zach and I run S3XY Apparel as well as Elon Musk News. Reporting on everything Elon and his companies do gives me a ton of ideas for designs, the best of which end up here. Enjoy getting nerdy & S3XY simultaneously!

Get Nerdy 🤓

Elon Musk News Anson Ave Coquitlam, British Columbia V3B 2H6 Canada

Nessun commento: