On Wednesday Elon Musk published the much anticipated Tesla Master Plan part 2. If you read one article about Tesla this year, make it this one. It's an exciting look into a future where energy generation and consumption is integrated, sustainable transportation is available nearly to everyone, and driving is made 10X safer with autonomous vehicles.
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"As of 2016, the number of American car companies that haven't gone bankrupt is a grand total of two: Ford and Tesla"
Two days after its launch, SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule was pulled in for its hookup to the International Space Station today as the spacecraft soared 252 miles above the California-Oregon state line. Among the nearly 5,000 pounds of cargo were the first DNA sequencer destined for use in space, and a 5-foot-wide docking adapter that will accommodate future commercial space taxis – including an upgraded version of the uncrewed Dragon that pulled in today.
"We've captured us a Dragon," said NASA astronaut Jeff Williams, who grappled the capsule with the station's robotic arm. "We look forward to the work it brings."
SpaceX nailed its fifth successful rocket landing in a brilliant overnight flight today (July 18), and to celebrate we've combined all five of the private spaceflight company's booster landings into this single awesome video.
Written by Elon Musk, the 'Master Plan, Part Deux' outlines the future of Tesla.
Part of the reason I wrote the first master plan was to defend against the inevitable attacks Tesla would face accusing us of just caring about making cars for rich people, implying that we felt there was a shortage of sports car companies or some other bizarre rationale. Unfortunately, the blog didn't stop countless attack articles on exactly these grounds, so it pretty much completely failed that objective.
However, the main reason was to explain how our actions fit into a larger picture, so that they would seem less random. The point of all this was, and remains, accelerating the advent of sustainable energy, so that we can imagine far into the future and life is still good. That's what "sustainable" means. It's not some silly, hippy thing -- it matters for everyone.
So, in short, Master Plan, Part Deux is:
Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage
Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments
Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning
Enable your car to make money for you when you aren't using it
Elon Musk's highly anticipated "Master Plan Part 2" is chock full of interesting new, but vague details on Tesla's plans but probably one of the most exciting is the new SUV and pickup consumer vehicles included.
We've known for quite awhile that Tesla was working on a compact SUV, dubbed the Model Y, that would be built on the Model 3 platform. Musk himself Tweet-stormed about it and even hinted that it might have the Falcon Wing doors of its bigger Model X cousin.
Since we first reported on Tesla's v8.0 software update being tested in beta, the company has been pushing a few new versions prior to the wide release in order to refine the improvements – primarily to the Autopilot – but a recent comment by CEO Elon Musk raises an interesting question.
As part of the reveal of his 'Master Plan Part 2', CEO Elon Musk elaborated on the automaker's plan for the role of car ownership and ride-sharing in the future of the company. Musk confirmed that once Tesla achieves full autonomy and it is approved by regulators (2 to 3 years based on his previous statements), the automaker plans for Tesla owners to be able to loan their car to a 'shared autonomous fleet' and make money while they are not using it.
He also added that Tesla will operate its own fleet parallel to the Tesla owners shared fleet in cities "where demand exceeds the supply of customer-owned cars". It will ensure that people using the app will always be able to hail a ride.
A quote attributed to writer William Gibson posits that "the future is already here, it's just not very evenly distributed." Well, Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk just told us when that will change — at least when it comes to car ownership. More precisely, he said that by 2022, nearly everyone will be able to afford a Tesla, but here's the catch: They won't need to.
The legal battle threatening the very future of Hyperloop just got nastier. Today, Hyperloop One countersued its co-founder and former CTO Brogan BamBrogan and three others, with a story full of shouting, sexist remarks, inebriation, and an attempted mutiny.
Last week, BamBrogan and three colleagues sued Hyperloop One and four executives, accusing them of everything from breach of fiduciary duty to violating labor laws to inflicting emotional duress. Among other things, the suit—which really is insane—alleges that general counsel Afshin Pishevar left a noose on BamBrogan's desk and co-founder Shervin Pishevar wildly overpaid his fiancée. The countersuit is no less crazy, offering a rebuttal to every allegation.
Imagine an elevator that moves without attached cables, and can travel horizontally or vertically, sharing a shaft with several other cabs. That is the vision of German industrial conglomerate Thyssenkrupp AG, which aims to use magnetic-levitation technology to revolutionize a business that has essentially delivered the same product for over a century.
Despite the strong negative media reaction to Tesla's proposed acquisition of SolarCity and subsequent 10% stock price decrease, Elon Musk now says that he is convinced the merger will pass after talking to the companies' major investors. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal (Paywall), the CEO confirmed that he has been meeting with Tesla's biggest shareholders and mutual funds:
"The most informed investors are highly supportive of the transaction," Mr. Musk said. As of last week, he said he had "yet to talk to an investor after I have fully explained the situation and not had them support it."
The biggest story in this issue is Elon Musk's announcement that his second Tesla master plan will soon be unveiled. Musk wrote the first master plan 10 years ago, and it has largely become a reality. It will be fascinating to see what he writes this time. It will likely include more details on his vision for 'Tesla Energy', and plans for an on-demand mobility service. Hopefully the new master plan will also include a Tesla pickup, supercar, or motorcycle!
Thank-you for being part of this community, and enjoy issue 25!
"The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur."
Elon Musk retweeted the this article, saying that his second master plan would be "Something like that."
This week, Tesla Motors (TSLA) announced an all-stock offer for SolarCity (SCTY). The transactions would create a vertically integrated sustainable energy company with Electric Vehicles (EV), storage, efficiency, demand response, and solar capabilities. Some have described the move as complex, or a distraction, but I believe that this could achieve the dreams that Elon Musk has of a company that is more valuable that Apple (AAPL) in the future.
The Federal Aviation Administration has granted SpaceX permission to build a 160-foot-tall display. The FAA's approval was needed because the tall rocket stage will stand not far from the Hawthorne Municipal Airport runway. "It would be the highest object for quite a distance around the airport," CEO Elon Musk explained back in April.
Over the weekend, Tesla CEO Elon Musk clarified the automaker's use of the word 'Beta' in reference to the Autopilot system after Germany's Federal Office for Motor Vehicles (KBA) said that it wouldn't approve a feature on German roads if it is described as 'Beta'. The agency said that the 'beta-phase' could mean 'an incomplete status of the software'.
Elon Musk claimed that the word "beta" is not used in the "standard sense" of the word, but to make sure drivers "don't get comfortable" with the system. In a Twitter conversation on Sunday, the CEO explained that the company's fleet would need at least 1 billion miles of data to stop calling the Autopilot 'beta'.
He added that the automaker will probably hit the mark in about "six months" and that the system will "include hundreds of refinements to handle rare corner cases". The next improvements will come in the form of Tesla's v8.0 software update. He emphasized again that the use of the word beta is to highlight that the system is not perfect and that Tesla drivers don't have to use it.
If there's a list Tesla is probably OK with not being at the top of, it's 'Best Car Salesmen'. The company boasts about its distribution and servicing model being unlike any other in the industry and the latest mystery shoppers study by Pied Piper, a real consultant and market research firm (not based on the HBO series Silicon Valley), kind of proved that it is the case by placing Tesla dead last.
Apparently, Tesla doesn't follow standard sales processes in the industry because Pied Piper placed the company last with 86 points, 10 points behind the second "worst", Volvo with 96, and 28 points behind the highest ranked, Infiniti with 114 points.
A new report from Global Equities Research analyzes just how much each car company actually spends on selling its cars. Not surprisingly, makers of premium brands spend the most. For every Jaguar that finds a buyer, parent company Tata Motors spends $3,325. Lincoln shells out $2,550 on advertising for every car it sells.
At the other end of the spectrum, Toyota and Honda spend the least, at approximately $250 per car... A new study approximates that Tesla spends even less at $6 per vehicle.
Tesla employees who maybe didn't have the chance to see the vehicle in person before were able to get a close look at the Black Matte version. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that people responded well to the color and that it bodes well for it to make it to production.
Russian President Vladimir pledged state support for the ultra-high-speed transportation concept outlined by Tesla founder Elon Musk. The authoritarian leader's pledge came in a meeting with Hyperloop One co-founder Shervin Pishevar, and was confirmed to Bloomberg by a Putin spokesman.
Bloomberg does not report that any new formal agreement emerged from the meeting, but Hyperloop One already has a compact with the Russian Transportation Ministry to study building a route between the Russian port in Zarubino and Jilin province in China. Hyperloop One's major investors include Russian logistics and energy billionaire Ziyavudin Magomedov.
Tesla founder Elon Musk announced on Twitter that he will reveal the design of his "Hyperloop" on August 12. The Hyperloop is a transportation system Musk has been talking about for over a year now. He claims that it will be able to get people from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 30 minutes. He described it as a "cross between a Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table."
After the success of our S3XY Tesla shirt, we are now going to make a SpaceX themed shirt. We have shortlisted the text to two slogans. The winning slogan will likely accompany a graphic of the Falcon 9 rocket and SpaceX barge 'Of Course I Still Love You'. Help us make the best possible shirt by clicking on the slogan you most like. Thanks for your support!