Elon Musk ▪ Yesterday

TSLA: 266.15

-0.64%
Stock Chart

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.

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

TSLA: 263.82

-1.00%
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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.

We had a hunch Tesla was up to something when Elon Musk said he had a “secret weapon agains the car dealers”In May we wrote:

“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

Elon Musk ▪ July 11

TSLA: 259.15

1.23%
Stock Chart

A great ground look at what’s happening in Hawaii, the state where energy costs the most and where there is plenty of solar energy.  Over 12% of Hawaiians have solar power which is 20x the US national average.  If you count all the rooftops on Oahu together, Solar is a 300MW plant that is more than double the size of the next biggest plant on the island.

The problem is: That power plant dies when the sun goes down and the other plants have to crank way back up. expand full story

Elon Musk ▪ June 28

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.  expand full story

Elon Musk ▪ June 21

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. expand full story

Elon Musk ▪ June 19

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.  expand full story

Elon Musk ▪ June 9


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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Elon Musk ▪ June 2

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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Elon Musk ▪ May 30

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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Elon Musk ▪ May 23

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… expand full story

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