venerdì 22 settembre 2017

Elon Musk News - Issue 100

Elon Musk News - Issue 100
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Note From The Curator
The top three stories in this issue of Elon Musk News are:
  1. SpaceX Successfully Launches The X-37B Spaceplane
  2. India Plans To Build A Hyperloop
  3. Tesla Model 3 is built with 50% parts from US/Canada, and 25% from Mexico – here's why it's important
SpaceX achieved another successful mission Thursday morning with its first launch of the X-37B spaceplane. It marked SpaceX's 10th booster landing of 2017, and 16th landing overall. The perfectly clear Florida skies made it possible for some truly stunning photos to be taken. I highly recommend checking out this little gallery of photos taken by John Kraus. Incredibly, he managed to capture a shot with the descending booster in the background, and floating surfer in the foreground. It makes for a perfect home screen picture on your mobile :)

Also, this marks the 100th issue of Elon Musk News. Thanks so much for your support!!


P.S. I'm looking to hire a newsletter curator! If you're interested, then click here.
Featured Quote
"People are mistaken when they think that technology just automatically improves. It does not automatically improve. It only improves if a lot of people work very hard to make it better, and actually it will, I think, by itself degrade."
— Elon Musk

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SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket for the US military Thursday, carrying the X-37B spaceplane to orbit for its fifth mission. Liftoff for the OTV-5 mission occurred at the first attempt, with a T-0 of 10:00 AM Eastern time (14:00 UTC) out of the Kennedy Space Center's Pad 39A in Florida. The booster returned to LZ-1 for another successful landing.

The launch attempt came as hurricane Irma was bearing down upon Florida, which could had necessitated the standdown and saw it returned to its hangar to allow the storm to pass. Had a rollback been required, SpaceX would have needed twenty-eight hours to get the rocket horizontal and secured within its hangar. In the end, this didn't become a consideration, as three seconds before liftoff, the nine Merlin-1D engines powering Falcon 9's first stage ignited and Falcon began its ascent to orbit.
SpaceX is largely on track to achieve an internal goal of conducting its first Texas launches in December 2018. Photos and videos taken by local newspapers and residents suggest that progress is gradually being made. It is understood that the foundation for the launch facility is nearly complete, marking the end of one of the lengthiest and most difficult tasks needed for the new pad. The importance of this new Texas launch facility will be the additional 12 annual launches SpaceX will be able to conduct from it. Adding to a veritable fleet of launch pads, Boca Chica will become the fourth SpaceX pad once it is activated in 2018 or 2019.

LC-40, destroyed in a static fire anomaly just over a year ago, is nearly repaired and will likely be reactivated in October. Following its reactivation, SpaceX's team of pad engineers will move their focus to LC-39A, where they will upgrade the pad in preparation for Falcon Heavy's inaugural launch later this year. Once the pad engineering team is finished with the majority of their East Coast construction, the team can begin to focus exclusively on SpaceX's Texas facilities. The start of 2018 will likely see a flurry of progress made at Boca Chica.
There was no doubt that the smaller and lighter Model 3 would crush the efficiency of Tesla's flagship Model S, which achieved an EPA-rated 104 MPGe with its most efficient versions (60D, 75D and 90D). But it is more interesting to see how it fares with smaller electric vehicles in the same segment.

The Hyundai Ioniq Electric is the undisputed leader with 136 MPGe and as for long range electric vehicles, the Bolt EV, which has 238 miles of range, leads with 119 MPGe. Now a Model 3 EPA sticker was spotted and it shows that Tesla's Model 3 with Long Range battery pack, which has 310 miles of range, hit 126 MPGe. It's a good result for the bigger battery pack version and makes the Model 3 lead efficiency for electric vehicles with a range of over 200 miles.
An updated battery study based on crowdsourced data from Model S and Model X owners suggests that Tesla's battery pack will still have 80% capacity after reaching 840,000 kilometers (521,952 miles). On average the battery will degrade by 1 percent every 50,000 km driven.

It's worth noting that the battery degradation data we're seeing is from Tesla's 18650 cell and not the company's newest 2170 cell being used on the Model 3. Based on Tesla's comment that its 2170 cell has improved energy density and an all-around more efficient design, it wouldn't come as a surprise if Model 3 and future fleet's using this cell type can support more battery cycles, reach 1 million miles of use, and still retain over 80% of its original capacity.
Under NAFTA, cars that have been assembled in Canada, the US or Mexico need a minimum of 55% content to be from North America in order to be considered a "NAFTA vehicle" and be exempt of any tariffs, duties or taxes when sold in Canada, the US or Mexico. In Canada, that's 6.1% or over $2,000 on the base price of the Model 3.

The Model 3 was expected to be Tesla's first vehicle not to be slapped with the price bump thanks to Tesla's new '2170' battery cells manufactured in the US instead of Japan. Now it's official with a Model 3 Monroney Sticker being spotted and confirming that 50% of the parts are from US/Canada, and 25% from Mexico. In comparison, other electric vehicles have much fewer North American parts. Like the Chevy Bolt EV, which is assembled in Michigan, has only 26% US/Canadian content, according to its Monroney Sticker.
Zach says: It's always a pleasure to read a glowing review of the Model S P100D with stunning photos :)

As Elon Musk pointed out at the Model 3 reveal, the S is still the more desirable car, and the P100D is the top performance dog in its S range. After driving both the 3 and Model S P100D, even for a short time, there's really no direct performance comparison. While Model 3 has early adopter cache, the Model P100D is in another class. It is the ultimate statement car of the moment, more than car makes that come with a higher price tag like Ferrari, Porsche, or McLaren.
Morgan Stanley's Adam Jonas is one of the top analyst covering Tesla and now he seems pretty excited about the imminent launch of Tesla Semi. In a new note to clients today, Jonas wrote: "We believe TSLA's reveal of its autonomous, electric Class 8 semi-truck this month could be the biggest catalyst in Trucking in decades and potentially set off separation between the technology leaders and the laggards among carriers, shippers, truck OEMs and suppliers."

The analyst is of the opinion that Tesla Semi will have a range of 200-300 miles – primarily to support regional trucking routes. Furthermore, he expects Tesla to announce some major trucking partnerships for companies to operate early fleets of the new electric truck. The actual date of the unveiling is still unknown, but Elon Musk said it would happen in September. Jonas also noted that it could be linked to the North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta on September 25.
Longtime Nike special project engineer and "senior innovator" Tiffany Beers confirmed on her LinkedIn page that she left the shoemaker to join Tesla. During her 13-year tenure at Nike, Beers held several positions in engineering – mainly in the company's innovation lab.

While her work as a high-tech shoemaker would seem unrelated to Tesla's field, the optimization of that her team had to accomplish to make a working and manufacturable version of the Nike Mag self-lacing shoe is actually directly related to Tesla. They had to optimize the energy consumption and battery pack inside the shoe to make it last as long as possible on a single charge while being as light as possible, much like what automakers are trying to do with electric cars.
Last year, Tesla shared its ambitious plans to increase its annual production capacity to 500,000 vehicles in 2018 with new Model 3 production. It's a higher planned production capacity than any other all-electric vehicle offered today. But Tesla also plans to repeat it with the upcoming 'Model Y' and now a new Morgan Stanley report suggests that both vehicles could virtually dominate the global EV market early in the next decade.

Musk said that he sees demand for the small SUV to be even higher than Model 3. Last year, he said that he anticipates demand for the Model Y to land between 500,000 to 1 million units per year – versus around 500,000 units for Model 3. It's important to note that Morgan Stanley's projections are significantly below Tesla's own estimates.
Zach says: This short op-ed piece is one of the better ones I've read. Lambert does an excellent job of highlighting the misinformation often spread about Tesla.

Tesla is now the target of attacks by the same "merchants of doubt" behind tobacco industry lobbying and global warming deniers. H. Sterling Burnett, a former advisor of the oil industry friendly National Center for Policy Analysis, which was also backed by the Koch brothers, and now a "research fellow" at The Heartland Institute, published a scathing op-ed titled 'Middle class bearing Tesla subsidy' in the Detroit News. The piece is filled with so much misrepresentation of the truth that I can barely read a sentence without finding a blatant falsehood.
Tesla Energy
Tesla unveiled and started taking orders for Powerwall 2, its latest generation of home battery packs, almost a year ago (October 2016). Yet, installations are still very limited in the US today as thousands of reservation holders are still waiting. Now it looks like Tesla is finally expanding the reach of the highly anticipated product.

While Tesla lists a Powerwall 2 for $5,500, they also say that $700 in "supporting hardware" is required and "typical installation cost ranges from $800 to $2,000." It's why Tesla is focusing deliveries in markets with high electricity rates and where residential solar has a high penetration rate. Furthermore, Tesla has been guiding "fall 2017", which starts in just a few weeks, for a production ramp up to start delivering the increasing number of Powerwalls won through its referral program over the last year.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) announced it has signed a deal with the state of Andhra Pradesh, in southeast India. Working with the state's economic development board, HTT will spend six months studying possible routes for a hyperloop connecting the cities of Vijaywada and Amaravati—a move that would transform a 27-mile, hour-long drive into a six-minute whoosh. And then, over an undisclosed period of time, the Los Angeles-based company says it will build the thing.

The India deal is just the latest for HTT, which also plans to build networks of tubes in South Korea, Slovakia, and Abu Dhabi. But to make all—or any—of that happen, the company's 800 engineers (most of whom have day jobs and work on this in their spare time, in exchange for stock options) must first master the practical aspects of the hyperloop. The company has not publicly demonstrated a working system, but CEO Dirk Ahlborn is confident. "We are ready to build," he told WIRED in June. "Technology is not an issue."
SpaceX has released rules for its third competition, which will require that each competing pod propel itself. Similar to Competition II, the next competition slated for Summer 2018 requires that all interested teams be composed of students working to develop either a new pod or a significantly modified pod from any that participated in earlier competitions. The new contest will have a singular pursuit of maximum pod speed and controlled deceleration.

There is an immense amount of value to be derived from applying engineering theory and working as a group while attempting to produce a pod, regardless of whether it works or wins. SpaceX's sponsorship of the event is a testament to that fact.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a bold claim on Twitter over the weekend: "China, Russia, soon all countries w strong computer science. Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 imo."

Musk was responding to a story tweeted by The Verge about Russian President Vladimir Putin, who thinks that the nation with leading AI technology will be the 'ruler of the world.' "Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind. It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world," Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
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