28 maggio 2017

Elon Musk News - Issue 85

Elon Musk News - Issue 85

Note From The Curator
The top three stories in this issue of Elon Musk News are:
  1. Tesla Model 3 battery pack details, Musk approves $216M budget for production line at Gigafactory 1
  2. Watch SpaceX's Falcon Heavy booster static test fire
  3. Tesla's solar roof tiles are already sold out 'well into 2018'
In addition to the top three stories this issue features Elon's favorite Bond movie, Tesla's revised unlimited supercharger access, The Boring Company's electric sled concept for passengers, and much more!

Thank-you for being part of this community, and enjoy issue 85!

Featured Quote
"If an advanced civilisation existed at any place in this galaxy, at any point in the past 13.8 billion years, why isn't it everywhere? Even if it moved slowly, it would only need something like .01 percent of the Universe's lifespan to be everywhere. So why isn't it?"
— Elon Musk

From aeon
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Autographed Poster by Elon Musk
Zach says: I found this poster on Amazon. Send me an email if you end up ordering it :)

This is an incredible 11x14 photo hand signed in person and comes Certified Authentic. Also included will be an 11x14 hard plastic display to protect and preserve this great collectible.
The side booster test actually happened last week in McGregor, Texas, where SpaceX has a testing and development facility. It's a key step as SpaceX prepares to launch the Falcon Heavy for the first time later this year.
On Sunday, a Twitter user asked Musk when we might finally hear about updated details for the ITS architecture and design. Musk's response to the Twitter user was pretty succinct: "Almost there. Probably in a few months."

"A few months" is not much to go on, but the end of September marks the one year anniversary of Musk's IAC talk, which happens to be — you guessed it — around the same time as this year's IAC, which takes place September 25-29 in Adelaide, Australia. It's still not clear whether Musk will be giving a talk or even attending this one as well, but it's almost a certainty SpaceX will be participating in some way, and that's probably when we're going to get more information on what the ITS and BFR will entail.
A former SpaceX technician is saying he was fired for bringing issues with the rocket-building test protocols to his superiors. Jason Blasdell is suing SpaceX for wrongful termination of his employment. Blasdell says he even raised his concerns with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk at one point. The company fired him in 2014 for being "disruptive." Two years later, Blasdell filed his suit.

SpaceX, for its part, denies that such actions ever occurred. SpaceX's lawyer, Lynne Hermle, told jurors Blasdell never witnessed signs of unlawful testing of rocket parts, and never brought such concerns to his managers or to federal authorities. The company says he was fired because his job performance was getting worse, and his colleagues began to fear for their own safety as a result. Right now, it's unclear what kind of evidence Blasdell and his team intend to provide to back up his assertions.
Elon Musk has approved an increase in budget of $216M into automating the Model 3 battery module production line at Gigafactory 1. The first battery modules for Model 3 test vehicles are being hand-built by a team 150 employees over a 24 hour shift. The manual production has been taking place for "several months now" according to our source, who says Tesla is currently building approximately 20 Model 3 battery modules per day by hand. The newly approved $216M investment will automate this process which will take roughly 10 seconds to produce by robots.

According to our source, the base Model 3, as of now, will start at 60kWh. This capacity comes in higher than what we originally expected and will meet the "at least 215 miles" of range that Tesla had first announced for the vehicle. Tesla is reportedly concentrating on the production of the premium battery at first, which is slated to be 74kWh, and likely badged as a Tesla Model 3 75.
The pay-per-use model introduced earlier this year with 400 kWh in free Supercharger credits per year is still the default model for accessing the Supercharger network for all new vehicles being purchased today onward. For owners with vehicles ordered before January 15, 2017, nothing changes for their vehicles and they are still on the original Supercharger access program with free Supercharger for the life of the vehicles.

What changes for vehicles ordered after January 15, 2017, is that they are now not only off of the paid model with 400 kWh in free Supercharger credit per year, but they have now free Supercharging access for the life of their Tesla Model S or Model X ownership – meaning that unlike the original free Supercharger access model, the free access is associated with the owner instead of the vehicle.
Following the acquisition of SolarCity and growing overall workforce ahead of the start of Model 3 production, Tesla has now over 30,000 employees. That's a ten-fold increase over the last 5 years. In order to manage this growing workforce, Tesla hired former Electronic Arts executive Gabrielle Toledano as Chief People Officer, a new c-level position for the automaker. Toledano spent the last decade in HR executive roles at the American video game company Electronic Arts, where most recently she held the position of Chief Talent Officer and Executive Vice President of Human Resources.
Zach says: Read Elon Musk's full op-ed about Tesla selling in Connecticut here.Tesla's battle to get the right to sell its electric vehicles directly to customers in Connecticut without having to go through third-party franchise dealerships took a turn for the worst after strong dealership opposition led to the DMV issuing a cease and desist for Tesla's only gallery in the state Now, Elon Musk penned a letter in a local paper as a bill to allow direct sales is about to go to a vote – likely this week.

In the letter published in the Hartford Courant last week, Musk reiterates why Tesla wants to sell directly to customers: "We use a direct sales model because it provides the best possible experience for our customers. Anyone who visits our stores can ask questions of Tesla's sales team and learn about electric vehicles without the stress of the typical car-buying experience at traditional dealerships. There is no haggling over price (it is the same everywhere) and customers face no pressure to make a purchase."
On Sunday, Elon Musk started hyping an upcoming software update that will introduce a new control algorithm that he described as "smooth as silk". Some owners had complained of the Autosteer and Trafic-Aware Cruise Control being rougher than what they were used to. It sounds like the update is being tested internally with success. Musk added that Tesla is working on refining the vision and control software. Musk also confirmed that second generation Autopilot cars should also get automatic perpendicular parking and auto windshield wipers next month.
Sunday's update by Musk confirms that in addition to kicking off production of Model 3 in July, the highly anticipated mass market sedan will also start hitting the streets for the first time that month. Early Model 3 reservation holders that placed their $1,000 deposits on March 31st the day of Model 3 Mania were also given a shout-out by Musk who noted that they would receive "something cool for sure." Early adopters of the Model S and Model X were given special perks including a special Signature Red paint color and custom "Signature" or "Founder Series" badging.
As part of Tesla's continuous effort to anti-sell the Model 3 and emphasize that the Model S is a more high-end option, the company released a comprehensive comparison chart. Through the chart, the automaker confirmed that Model 3 will have fewer than 100 configurations to Model S' more than 1,500 possible configurations.

It means that Model 3 will likely be limited to two battery pack options, fewer colors, interior and roof option. Tesla said that the base version will have a pack option smaller than 60 kWh and that a higher-end option would be available. Tesla was testing a Model 3 mule with a 70 kWh battery pack and dual motors (Model 3 70D) – though it doesn't necessarily mean that it will make it to production. The chart also confirms that the Model 3's access to the Supercharger network will be limited to pay-per-use model.
In a new note today, Baird analyst Ben Kallo highlights what a successful launch could do for Tesla's valuation, which he sees surging to over $80 billion at ~$500 per share. Kallo estimates that Tesla should be worth $566 per share, instead of the current ~$300 per share, if Tesla's own production targets are achieved.
Tesla Energy
Earlier this week, analysts at RBC Capital Markets met with Tesla CFO Deepak Ahuja, who recently came back to Tesla in February, to discuss the company's financials after the first quarter results. In a note to clients about the meeting on Thursday, RBC said that Tesla is already sold out of solar roof tiles well into 2018.

The company has yet to confirm their planned production capacity for solar tiles, but they announced plans to start the "pilot manufacturing" of the first two types of tiles  – smooth and textured (see below) – during the current quarter (within two months) at their Fremont facility and move to volume production at Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo soon after.
The Boring Company
Last month, we learned that Elon Musk's 'Boring Company' is not just about digging tunnels, but it will also electrify transport in the process by putting cars and passengers on "electric sleds". The company released this week new images of its electric sled concept for passengers that they plan to use in those tunnels.
Excited To Visit Mars On The Big F***ing Rocket?
Us too! Until then, we'll wear this shirt. Get yours here, or view the whole collection.

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