Elon Musk’s SpaceX to buy another $75 million in solar-backed bonds from SolarCity

Solar panels on the roof of SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, CA.

SolarCity revealed in a recent SEC filling that the company expects SpaceX, Elon Musk’s rocket company, to buy $75 million in “SolarBonds”. Earlier this year, SpaceX already purchased $90 million in solar-backed bonds from SolarCity, just 2 months after the aerospace company landed a $1 billion equity deal with Google and Fidelity. If this second purchase goes through, SpaceX will be holding $165 million in SolarCity debt backed by solar assets.  Read more

A company is making Elon Musk’s Hyperloop a reality: Hyperloop Technologies, inc.

From Hyperloop Technologies’ Twitter

The Hyperloop is a new mode of transportation detailed in a white paper by tech billionaire Elon Musk and with the help of informal teams of engineers from the two companies he leads; Tesla Motors and SpaceX. The idea is to create a reduced-pressure environment in which it will be easier to transport people or cargo at high-speed and efficiency. This environment would take the form of a tube in which pods would travel at up to 750 miles per hour. The original concept presented in the paper would have been able to travel the distance between Los Angeles and San Fransisco (354 miles) in less than 35 minutes.

Elon Musk, being busy running Tesla and SpaceX, decided to open-source the concept. A group of ex-SpaceX engineers, venture capitalists and other tech veterans didn’t waste any time and created Hyperloop Technologies to try to make the project a reality. Read more

Tesla’s $35,000 vehicle, the Model 3, is more likely to be available in 2018

During a presentation at the 2015 EIA Conference earlier this week, JB Straubel, Tesla’s Chief Technology Officer, confirmed the Model 3 is “planned for 2018″.  There’s been a lot of speculation around Tesla’s upcoming vehicle, which is set to be priced at around $35,000 before any EV incentives and have at least 200 miles of range. Just a few weeks ago at Tesla’s shareholders meeting, Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, said the Model 3 could be ready by 2017, but Straubel’s presentation indicates that 2018 might be more realistic.  Read more

Tesla Livestream of 2015 4. Auto Shareholder Meeting notes and observations 7.13.

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Head over to Tesla’s IR Website to follow along the livestream of the yearly shareholder meeting. We’ll be jotting down notes here of information of interest.

1. Shareholder doesn’t like leather. Doesn’t think the non-leather option is enough.

2. Full autopilot will hit some customers by end of the month. Elon says he has been testing the latest builds of Autopilot on his own vehicle.

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Complete breakdown of the $4.9 billion in government support the LA Times claims Elon Musk’s companies are receiving

The LA Times published an article over the weekend titled “Elon Musk’s growing empire is fueled by government subsidies”. The publication compiled data from government programs and estimated that Tesla Motors, SolarCity and SpaceX, three companies Musk is involved in, have benefited from “$4.9 billion in government support”. Saturday, I wrote an opinion piece about how I thought the article is grossly one-sided. Since then, the LA Times released a breakdown of the $4.9 billion figure.

Here is the complete breakdown with my comments on each government incentive and information that wasn’t included or simply glanced over in the LA Times article:

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Opinion: Times article on Musk’s “empire” being fueled by government subsidies is grossly one-sided [Updated]

The Times published an article over the weekend titled “Elon Musk’s growing empire is fueled by government subsidies”. The article is well-researched and mostly accurate, but it conveys a clear disdain for the fact that Musk’s companies are taking advantage of the government subsidies available to them.

The publication compiled data from government programs and came to the conclusion that Tesla Motors, SolarCity and SpaceX, three companies Musk is involved in, have benefited from an “estimated $4.9 billion in government support”. I will not dispute the actual amount, but I’d like to bring up a few points which weren’t discussed in the article and that are highly relevant to the subject.

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Solar City’s CEO Lyndon Rive perfectly explains Tesla’s Powerwall battery

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There has been a lot of uninformed banker-speak in the media about Tesla’s battery including by Bloomberg here. The problem is these folks don’t understand the new market that Tesla is opening up

But I’m also turning to Bloomberg for the first smart analysis and that’s not surprisingly from Solar City’s Lyndon Rive (who happens to be Elon Musk’s Cousin – perhaps you noticed the accent?).

The complaints have been that the battery wall doesn’t make economic sense – that for the average household to go off the grid with these combined with solar (or wind), it would be incredibly expensive.

That’s correct… Read more

Tesla’s original team, where are they now?

Out of the 5 founding members of Tesla motors, only two remain with the company; of course the now famous Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, Chairman and Product Architect, and JB Straubel, Tesla’s Chief Technology Officer. But the three expatriates; Marc Tarpenning, Martin Eberhard and Ian Wright, were instrumental to the founding of Tesla and although they left the car company, some in better terms than others, it is interesting to learn about what they are doing now. Unsurprisingly, most of them are still in the EV business.

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Elon Musk doesn’t have a place in the Valley, often sleeps at Larry Page’s house

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Elon Musk, although CEO of a company based on Silicon Valley, often finds himself without a place to sleep when he’s away from his $17 million home located in Los Angeles. According to statements from Google CEO Larry Page given to Ashlee Vance for his upcoming book on the Tesla CEO, Musk is “kind of homeless,” and sometimes sleeps over at Page’s house when he’s in town. Read more

Tesla plans on showing the Model 3 in March 2016 and start production in late 2017

Today Tesla announced their first quarter 2015 results and during the conference call discussing the results, Elon Musk confirmed Tesla plans to unveil their third generation vehicle, the Model 3, in March 2016.

Tesla already revealed their plan on starting the production of the Model 3 in 2017, but today Elon Musk said that he sees “late 2017″ as more realistic.

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Elon Musk hopes Apple will enter car market, says Tesla is poaching 5x as many employees as Apple

Apple's car team

Apple’s car team

Speculation regarding Apple’s plans to build an electric car has been at an all-time over recent months. Earlier this year, we broke down the team that Apple has assembled to work on its car, several members of which were poached from Tesla. In Tesla’s Q1 2015 earnings call, however, CEO Elon Musk commented on Apple’s alleged electric car plans and the poaching war that has been ongoing between the two companies.

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Tesla received more than 38,000 reservations for the Powerwall in just a week

Today Tesla announced their first quarter 2015 results and during the conference call discussing the results, Elon Musk revealed that Tesla received more than 38,000 reservations for the Tesla Powerwall. Musk called the reception of the battery packs “crazy”.

They expect 1.5 to 2 battery packs to be sold per installation. This would mean 57,000 to 76,000 packs, or over 0.5 GWh, just for the battery packs currently under reservation. Musk said they are likely already sold out through half of next year.

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