The global stock market had a horrible day. Even Wall Street darlings like Google and Apple saw billions of dollars trimmed off their market capitalizations. A surprising exception, SolarCity, the largest residential solar installer in the US, managed to go against the grain and closed the day with an impressive 7% gain thanks to its Chairman and major shareholder Elon Musk who bought another $5 million worth of shares during the stock’s price fall to add to his holding in the company now worth over $900 million of SolarCity’s total market cap of just over $4 billion. expand full story
Elon Musk ▪ August 24
CBS today announced a full lineup of guests for the upcoming kick off of The Late Show hosted by Stephen Colbert, and scheduled for the second show is none other than Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
With the upcoming Model X release, that will surely be one topic of conversation among the two, but it’s possible something bigger is planned given this will the second show of the new Late Show with Colbert. Musk has appeared with Colbert on his old program several times over the years, but we’ll have to see what Colbert’s new format at The Late Show adds to the mix. expand full story
Elon Musk ▪ August 22
Sources familiar with Tesla’s new firmware update explained that version 7.0, which is currently being tested and should be released later this year, will include auto-steering, lane change activated by the turn signal, auto-parking (in parallel spaces) and an updated UI (see picture above).
A few months ago, I wrote an in-depth article about Tesla’s Autopilot, its hardware and its limitations. I based the article on information Tesla released when first unveiling the Dual motor version of the Model S in October last year. The company has since been advertising the Model S with the autopilot features, but owners have only been enjoying a fraction of what was promised during the unveiling.
Now, based on what we are learning about the upcoming software update, Tesla appears to be set to deliver on these promises, or at least most of them…
Elon Musk ▪ August 20
Elon Musk ▪ August 13
Tesla Motors sent out a press release this morning to announce a $500 million public stock offering. During the conference call discussing their second quarter financial results earlier this month, Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, let analysts know that the company didn’t need to raise money, but it could be a good idea to do it anyway in order to mitigate risk as the company increases its capital expenditure, which they think could reach $1.5 billion this year.
The company intends to use the money from the offering for “the growth of its stores, service centers, Supercharger network and the Tesla Energy business, and for the development and production of Model 3, the development of the Tesla Gigafactory, and other general corporate purposes.”
Elon Musk ▪ August 10
Elon Musk ▪ August 6
When Elon Musk unveiled the Dual Motor Model S in October last year, he announced that the company will be working on a robotic electric charger, a sort of “metal snake”, to automate the charging process of Tesla’s fleet. Today, Tesla released a video of the prototype at work. expand full story
During yesterday’s conference call about Tesla’s second quarter financial results, Elon Musk refused to answer a question from a financial analyst about Travis Kalanick’s, Uber’s CEO, recent comments that his company would buy 500,000 Teslas in 2020 if they are equipped with Tesla’s self-driving technology by the end of the decade.
The short conversation was very revealing. Here it is in full: expand full story
Elon Musk ▪ July 31
Almost ready to release highway autosteer and parallel autopark software update—
Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 31, 2015
According to a series of tweets from Tesla CEO Elon Musk at 5am ET this morning, the Model S vehicles released since the D event will soon gain the ability to steer on the highway and parallel auto park.
Final corner case is dealing with low contrast lane markings (faded white on grey concrete) while driving into the sun at dusk—
Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 31, 2015
This is a pretty big deal when combined with the current traffic aware cruise control. It means you can essentially put on “autopilot” when you get on the highway and don’t have to turn it off until it is time to recharge or get off the highway. While I wouldn’t (and Tesla certainly doesn’t) recommend sleeping or getting out of your seat, one could theoretically pick up a newspaper, tablet or smartphone during this time (Oh, that’s against the law in most states currently).
At the very least, it is a great safety feature.
The parallel auto park will also be a very nice selling point for those who fear parallel parking. I’m sadly unfamiliar with this phobia as I can parallel park perfectly into any spot *crash*.
Elon Musk ▪ July 29
Tesla announced a new program for its owners today. People who refer new buyers will receive $1000 for every sale of a Tesla vehicle they can initiate.
- Owners who make five referral orders will receive an invitation for them and a guest to attend the Gigafactory grand opening party.
- Those who make ten referral orders will get the right to purchase a Founder Series Model X, which is not available at any price, for the cost of a base Model X, an approximately $20,000 difference.
- The first owner in each region, North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific, to make ten referral orders will get a fully loaded Model X for free.
“At this point we can only speculate about what could be Tesla’s “secret weapon”, but here’s an idea: a reward program for Model S owners who are generating leads and offering test drives. SolarCity, which could be considered Tesla’s sister company, found success with their “Solar Ambassador Program“. People can sign up to an app and submit leads to SolarCity. If a lead turns into a sale, the “solar ambassador” receives $250. Tesla could implement a similar program with their current Model S owners. Tesla is known to have a very enthusiast and knowledgeable customer base. Owners in regions where Tesla is not allowed to sell directly could offer test drives to potential customers, talk about their experience with the car and then maybe submit a lead to Tesla in a similar manner as SolarCity does with their program.”
Some more details:
Anyone who orders a new Model S before September 30 using the referral link of a current owner will get $1,000 off the purchase price. In return, the current owner will get a $1,000 discount that can be applied to a new car, service center visit or accessories.
Referral discounts are limited to ten and are awarded on a first to purchase basis. New orders must be placed prior to September 30, 2015.
This really should spur both sales and salesmanship amongst current owners. It will also spur debate on whether Tesla owners really love their cars or they just want to make a quick $1000 (both!).
Update: USE MY LINK! http://ts.la/seth8185
Full text of offer follows: expand full story