07 giugno 2017

Elon Musk News - Issue 86

Elon Musk News - Issue 86
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Note From The Curator
The top three stories in this issue of Elon Musk News are:
  1. Musk leaves Trump's council after POTUS exits Paris Agreement
  2. Lightning near launch pad scrubs liftoff of SpaceX supply ship
  3. Musk says all Tesla factory injuries must be reported to him, "without exception"
In a week where Elon Musk left Trump's advisory councils, he also sent out an email to Tesla employees stating that he "would like to meet with every injured person as soon as they are well, so that I can understand from them exactly what we need to do it make it better." In a separate email to employees he stated that "Tesla has to be hardcore and demanding, not for the hell of it, but because we are fighting for a good cause against giant, entrenched competitors who just want the status quo to continue."

For me, it was a pleasure to follow these events this week. His principled management style shines bright in these examples, and sets an excellent example for not only other business leaders, but individuals as well.

I'm so glad you're part of this newsletter, and I hope you enjoy issue 86!

Featured Quote
"The only way for a little company to prevail against those much larger companies is to work faster, smarter and harder."
— Elon Musk

From Electrek
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Trump has officially announced that the US will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord that was signed into effect by President Obama last year. The historic agreement was the world's first comprehensive agreement to deal with climate change and was a massive step forward towards the reduction of global greenhouse emissions and new investments into clean energy technology.

Elon Musk has been a strong supporter of the Paris Climate Agreement, and news of the President's decision to exit the accord has forced Musk to disconnect any relationship with the President and his councils. Just last week Musk said that he was cautiously optimistic that Trump would change his mind on the deal. On Wednesday, Musk followed up with a tweet suggesting that he would be leaving Trump's advisory councils if the President decided to withdraw the US from the agreement.
Stormy weather near NASA's Kennedy Space Center kept SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on the ground Thursday, delaying liftoff of a commercial supply ship with equipment and experiments for the ISS until Saturday. SpaceX's launch director called off the launch attempt around 25 minutes before the scheduled blastoff from launch pad 39A at 5:55 p.m. EDT (2155 GMT), moments after a lightning strike at nearby Merritt Island violated the Falcon 9's launch weather rules. The constraints state that at least a half-hour must pass since a lightning strike within 10 miles of the launch pad before liftoff.

There will not be a launch try Friday because time-critical science payloads stowed inside the Dragon supply ship at the top of the rocket must be changed out. The next launch attempt will be Saturday at 5:07 p.m. EDT (2107 GMT).
This next launch is particularly special — it could help facilitate an extraordinarily new way for space travelers to navigate through the infinite vacuum beyond our atmosphere by using one of the strangest objects in the known universe: pulsars. If all goes well, NICER, short for Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer, will measure the flashes emitted from pulsars strewn about space in an effort to create an atlas of interstellar space.

Arzoumanian, the scientific lead for NICER, explains that this project is essentially "a marriage of two missions — one scientific and one a technology demonstration." NICER will measure the x-ray emissions of pulsars in space as it's attached to the ISS both as a way to learn more about pulsars as an astrophysical specimen, as well as demo and validate using pulsars "as beacons to navigate spacecraft anywhere in space," for the first time ever.
Discussions between the Air Force and SpaceX could result in a rocket stage taller than the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse decorating the skyline near Port Canaveral. The nearly 16-story Falcon 9 booster made history this spring when it became the first orbital-class rocket to be re-used, launching a second mission to orbit and then landing for a second time.

"We think this one sort of has some historic value," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said after the March 30 launch of the SES-10 satellite from Kennedy Space Center. "We're going to present it as a gift to the Cape." Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, commander of the Air Force's 45th Space Wing, confirmed he would welcome the booster's display outside the south gate to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Musk states in the currently unconfirmed email: "Going Forward, I've asked that every injury be reported directly to me, without exception. I'm meeting with the safety team every week and would like to meet with every injured person as soon as they are well, so that I can understand from them exactly what we need to do to make it better. I will then go down to the production line and perform the same task that they perform. This is what all managers at Tesla should do as a matter of course. At Tesla, we lead from the front line, not from some safe and comfortable ivory tower. Managers must always put their team's safety above their own."
In an email to employees this week, Musk said that Tesla is redoing its "first day orientation and Tesla handbook" following its recent growth. Among the "core principles of Tesla" that Musk is trying to pass on to new employees, he insisted that they should "pay particular attention" to a specific point.

"Tesla has to be hardcore and demanding, not for the hell of it, but because we are fighting for a good cause against giant, entrenched competitors who just want the status quo to continue. The list of companies that want to kill Tesla is so long, I've lost track – a week doesn't go by without some 'Tesla Killer' article. The only way for a little company to prevail against those much larger companies is to work faster, smarter and harder."
Tesla's expansion announced in April is being concentrated in the US for the construction by the end of the year since it is where the Model 3 will be deployed first. They are not only adding stations, but they are also adding more stalls per station – especially to existing stations. Tesla's Supercharger stations had an average of 6 stalls per station and the biggest ones had between 8 and 12 stalls. A few had up to 20 stations, but now Tesla is planning stations with dozens of Superchargers – even some with between 50 and 100 stalls.
The latest photos gives us a clearer look at the landscape-mounted touchscreen, which resembles an off-the-shelf computer monitor that's been bolted onto the dashboard, and two ergonomically placed cup holders with a flip-open cover that reveals storage inside the center console.

Model 3 will have a traditional three-spoke steering wheel. Each side of the steering wheel will have a single scroll button. The simplicity in design is a far departure from the Model S and Model X steering wheel which contains several buttons, each aimed at controlling various functions of the infotainment system. We also get a clearer look at the Model 3 touchscreen which appears to have a split user interface. The left most portion of the screen appears to contain Autopilot imagery while the upper section of the screen seems to provide a top down view of the car.
A report by Amnesty International and Afrewatch published last year pointed directly to battery makers and their clients as fueling conflicts. It named several automakers like Mercedes, VW and BYD, as well as several battery manufacturers known to supply automakers, like LG Chem (GM and Nissan) – but Tesla and its battery supplier, Panasonic, were spared.

Nonetheless, Tesla released an update this week on its strategy to avoid conflict minerals and it shows how it can be complex to avoid them. The report focuses on columbite-tantalite (tantalum), cassiterite (tin), gold, wolframite (tungsten), also known as '3TG'. Tesla said that its growth in 2016 more than doubled the number of suppliers with parts that could use 3TG. It significantly complicated Tesla's supply chain. The overall update highlights how complex it is for Tesla to track the source of the minerals used in its products, but nonetheless, they attempt to list all the known sources from Australia to Zimbabwe.
Over the weekend, Tesla confirmed a new series of options for the Model 3 after confirming last week that they plan to limit the number of configurations to fewer than 100 compared to the Model S' more than 1,500 different configurations. They confirmed that there will be two wheel size options, an optional glass roof, and coil suspension.
Tesla shocked the industry last year when it confirmed having delivered 25,202 Model S sedans in the U.S. in 2015, which gave the company a 25% market share in the premium sedan market. Now, Tesla's Model S so far outsells Mercedes S-Class, Porsche Panamera, and BMW 6/7 Series combined in the US in 2017. Based on the same IHS Markit, Tesla's Model S sales in the US has been stabilizing at just over 7,000 units per quarter over the past few quarters. It will be interesting to see if Tesla will be able to maintain that with the upcoming Model 3, which is aimed at the midsize sedan market, but it could still steal sales from the Model S.
Zach says: Watch Woz's 4 minute interview with Bloomberg here.

In an interview with Bloomberg Canada, Woz explained that he believes Elon Musk will be behind the things no one has really thought of: "I think Tesla is on the best direction right now. They've put an awful lot of effort into very risky things... [The Model S] fit one person's ideal of this will be the most beautiful, you know, a very beautiful, elegant and simple device to use. It was really built for Elon's own life. What car would he like? And when things come from yourself, knowing what you'd like very much and being in control of it... that's when you get the best products," he explained.
Tesla Energy
Tesla is moving quickly with its new solar roof tiles. Early installations could start as soon as next month after the company started taking orders earlier this month. Now we learn that the company just received approval from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for permitting and installations.

The company received a "Class A" roofing product classification, which could facilitate the permitting process and therefore, accelerate installations. PV Magazine reported on the approval: "Receiving UL's Class A certifications should allow Solar Roof installations to face fewer objections from local permitting bodies in the United States, allowing easier deployment in more locations."
It looks like the Netherlands would soon join Slovakia, and the Czech Republic as the next European country to have a Hyperloop. A Dutch team from the Technical University of Delft (TU Delft) won this year's edition of SpaceX's competition to develop this next generation, super-fast transport technology, and they're already setting up a full-scale testing center. Building the 30 meter (98 foot)  tube is the first step. The initial round of testing has already received $675,000 in funding. More would be needed for a high-speed test line by 2019 to accomplish their goal of setting up a Hyperloop system between Amsterdam and Paris by 2021.
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