Musk Stories November 3, 2015

gty_elon_musk_tesla_ll_130918_33x16_1600Tesla CEO Elon Musk held a conference call today to discuss the company’s third quarter financial results with analysts. During the call, Musk commented on the recent release of the Autopilot and the technology going forward. When asked how he sees the market with full autonomous driving and manual driving vehicles, the CEO said that once self-driving cars are being produced, non-autonomous cars will have a “negative value” and be the equivalent of owning a horse – meaning it would be for “sentimental reasons”. expand full story

Musk Stories October 21, 2015

Tesla_at_Hilton_McLean_1

As is usual with Elon Musk’s Twitter habits, the Tesla CEO has come out this afternoon to tweet a series of interesting tidbits, including — most notably — a rebuttal of Consumer Reports’ recent report regarding Model S reliability issues. The CEO also mentioned that a big UI update is coming in version 7.1 of the cars’ software, announced plans to enter Middle Eastern markets as well as Mexico, and — of course — threw in a few jokes for good measure… expand full story

Musk Stories October 16, 2015

google-driverless-car

Tesla CEO Elon Musk held a press conference a couple of days ago to explain the Autopilot features included in the company’s 7.0 software update, but LIDAR, one of the remote sensing technologies that Google uses in its self-driving car, also came up briefly. Elon Musk had some bold comments about to use of LIDAR in autonomous vehicles, in response to one inquiry from a WSJ reporter, which questioned whether the Model S would need more sensors for greater levels autonomy… expand full story

Musk Stories October 9, 2015

Yesterday we reported on comments made by Tesla CEO Elon Musk during a recent interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt. The CEO, known for speaking his mind candidly on occasions, made comments that could easily have been interpreted as critical to the design of the Apple Watch and the quality of the company’s hires from Tesla, but Friday afternoon Musk took to Twitter to soften those comments. expand full story

Musk Stories September 29, 2015

Tesla-Wall-ChargerIf you have been following news about Tesla Motors lately you know that the company is launching the Model X today, but you might have also heard that they will launch a “600+ miles vehicle” in about 2 years. Several publications have been publishing articles with a variation of the following headline: “Elon Musk says Tesla will have a 600 miles vehicle by 2017“.

These headlines, to no fault of Musk, are due to either a severe lack of knowledge about electric vehicle range or a malicious click-baiting attempt. expand full story

Musk Stories August 5, 2015

tesla-app-elon

Those who updated their Tesla Model S app today are seeing a new red button in the upper right hand side called “From Elon”.

from-elon-tesla-app

Clicking that button brings up the text of the announcement of the affiliate program which we covered last month (full text). From there you can “choose friends” from your contacts list to send invites to set up a Model S and soon a Model X with including your unique affiliate code.

What’s even cooler is that the leaders globally (currently leader is Bjorn from Norway) and local leaders (I’m tied for 1st with 1 in my area!) are also listed, see below.

Oh and don’t forget to get your $1000 off Model S here using my link.

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Musk Stories May 24, 2015

SpaceX transferred friction stir welding techniques and equipment to Tesla Motors according to Ashlee Vance, a Bloomberg journalist who recently published a book about Elon Musk. Musk, CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, often speaks of the difficulties of running two companies, but he also acknowledged some advantages of being active in two different industries. SpaceX aims at dramatically reducing the cost of rockets and if there’s an industry who mastered the art of making complex vehicles cheap, it’s certainly the automotive industry.

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Musk Stories March 31, 2014

It appears Tesla CEO Elon Musk and family are on their 3200-mile “elec-trek” cross country with his 5 children. Actress/wife Talulah Riley tweeted the above yesterday signaling that the trip has started and included what looks like the California Desert taken from the passenger compartment of a Model S.

Musk had previously tweeted some specs for the trip but those tweets have been deleted so they may not be up to date info.

I wonder if Musk has the special 400 Mile battery in his car?

Update: It would appear that Musk and family are further along than thought?

Update 2: It looks like Musk&Fam might have taken an even more posh ride to South Dakota. Musk’s Jet flew from LA to South Dakota yesterday:

Screenshot 2014-03-31 14.11.44

 

Update 3: Tesla did confirm to me that Musk is indeed on his roadtrip. A spokesperson told me:

While we can confirm Elon is on his road trip, I cannot give any details about the journey, his timeline, or location. You may feel free to gather information from his personal twitter feed.

Musk Stories March 2, 2014

There is a lot of interesting info from a talk that Elon Musk gave at the CPUC last week. Of particular note, Musk gave some spec estimates for the mass market “Model E” vehicle expected to be released in 2017 with batteries coming from the Gigafactory. In the video above he says the car will have a 200 mile range and be 20% smaller than the Model S. Therefore the battery will need to have about 80% of the energy of the current Model S (Musk’s words). To be clear, since Tesla uses the constant sized 18650 cells (and looks to continue to do so) physical size and Watt-hours are fairly constant.

So given that a 60kWh Model S has a range of around 200 miles (EPA 208), that means that the Model E would need to have a battery around 80% the size of the Model S or 48kWh.

That’s still about double what leading ‘mass market’ electric cars have today. The Chevy Spark EV, with a range of 82 miles has a 21.3 kWh battery. The Nissan LEAF which has a 75 mile EPA range rating has a 24 kWh battery. The Chevy Volt has a 16kWh battery while the BMW i3 is 18.8.

Tesla cancelled its $49,000 40kWh battery Model S before it got an EPA estimate but most guesses were that it would get around 150 miles.  Add another 8kWh to the battery and take off 20% of the overall car size and 200 mile range seems doable.

Musk also mentions that besides the 20% drop in price, he expects economies of scale and other innovations to drop the price another 30% on the battery alone helping to get the Model E to around 50% the cost of the Model S at $35,000.

Below is a snippit of Musk talking about the upcoming battery swap: expand full story

Musk Stories January 25, 2014

China is going to be big for Tesla according to CEO Elon Musk, who comes off a win in a Chinese court against a squatter who was trying to extort the automaker for its name. 

Tesla had resolved a trademark issue that had long prevented the company from using “Te Si La” – the Chinese name best known among Chinese consumers, which Tesla wanted to use in China. “We went to court and we won,” she said. “The court has given use right to use the name, which is why you see the Chinese name in our store now.” The name had been registered by a local businessman who had refused to give up the trademark. The U.S. company had started offering its popular Model S sedans in China, but with no Chinese language name.

We discussed the relatively low price earlier this week. Musk talked to Bloomberg on China:

Tesla’s billionaire co-founder and chief executive officer, will travel to China in late March to inaugurate the company’s entry there, he said in a phone interview.

For Tesla, “it could be as big as the U.S. market, maybe bigger. I don’t want to get overexcited about it,” Musk said yesterday. “Even without building there locally, it’s always going to be the second-biggest market after the U.S.”

After a rocky start ramping up Model S assembly in 2012, Palo Alto, California-based Tesla surprised analysts and investors this month when it said fourth-quarter deliveries were 20 percent above its target. Musk, 42, has pinned his goal of selling hundreds of thousands of electric autos annually to a global strategy in which China, Europe, Japan and other markets bolster its U.S. business.

If all goes well, Model S shipments to China can match U.S. sales by 2015, Musk said. “It’s not my firm prediction — it’s more like a low-fidelity guess.”

Expectations are high and Musk is certainly

Musk Stories January 16, 2014

tesla-giga-factory-battery

Tesla CEO Elon Musk yesterday said that the company was partnering with other companies in building its battery Giga-factory, a plant that he said that is far larger than any other battery factory on earth. Why? If Tesla is going to go mas market with its Model E, it is going to need to get far more battery power than is available on earth right now.

Musk said they were looking for a US state where the factory was going to be built and would announce plans at next month’s Q4 earnings call. He also said Tesla would be partnering with ‘other companies’ on the plant.  Here’s why I think Tesla will partner with Solar City and Panasonic on the plant:

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Musk Stories January 10, 2014

fire_hazard-wiring-teslaI kid you not. Bloomberg:

The charger connectors, which tether Tesla-issued cables to wall outlets, will be mailed out in the next two weeks, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said in an interview today.

“These are very rare events, but occasionally the wiring isn’t done right,” Musk said. “We want people to have absolute comfort, so we’re going to be providing them with an upgraded adapter.”

Tesla fell 2.6 percent to $143.72 at 12:20 p.m.

Tesla also upgraded the Model S firmware last month to prevent cars from drawing too much power from inadequate wiring.

At first blush, you might be thinking (as I had) that this is silly. My house is wired properly so I shouldn’t ever have issues like the person in California whose garage caught on fire after a short in the wiring in November.

But what if you go to a vacation rental or visit the family/relatives for a weekend. Can you be sure that the electrician that did their wiring was competent?

Good on Tesla for covering this; ‘Short sighted’ on investors for seeing this as a sign of weakness and not strength.

Update: Press release follows: expand full story

Musk Stories November 21, 2013

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Kind of a no-brainer IMO. Fortune doesn’t mention it but Musk has taken to social media and direct communication with the public unlike any CEO and certainly any Car/Aerospace CEO of our time. His honest and often overly transparent views have managed to turn media controversy into positives for the company.

Also throw in the fact that he’s CEO of two game-changing companies and the Chairman and largest stakeholder of another: Solar City….and if he wasn’t so busy, he’d be building a ultra high-speed hyperloop train connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Also he doesn’t seem to be too terribly pretentious..and there you go.

FORTUNE NAMES ELON MUSK THE 2013 FORTUNE BUSINESSPERSON OF THE YEAR

FORTUNE’s 2013 List of the Top 50 People in Business Includes: The “Activist Investor” at #2; “Pony” Ma Huateng at #3; Angela Ahrendts at #4; Jeff Bewkes and Reed Hastings tie for #5

Musk Tells FORTUNE Contributor and TED Curator Chris Anderson About the Early Years at Tesla and SpaceX: “I thought the likeliest outcome was failure”

(New York, November 21, 2013) – Today, FORTUNE reveals its annual choice for Businessperson of the Year and names Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX and Chairman of SolarCity, the 2013 FORTUNE Businessperson of the Year. Chris Anderson, TED Curator, writes the cover story on Musk, comparing him to Steve Jobs. FORTUNE also reveals its list of the Top 50 People in Business for 2013, which includes Pony Ma, Angela Ahrendts, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Warren Buffett, Marissa Mayer, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey. FORTUNE Editors write: “Fortune’s annual list is filled with executives who defied expectations (buying a newspaper, leaving luxury for Apple), executed big turnarounds, and delivered stellar results for their shareholders.”

Adam Lashinsky writes the blurb:

Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity

–Cultural impact –No. 1 revenue gainer –No. 2 stock price gainer

It is no Secret that Elon Musk is a triple threat: The co-founder of PayPal has gone on to disrupt aeronautics with Space Exploration Technologies, known as SpaceX; shake up the auto business with Tesla Motors; and retool the energy sector with SolarCity. (He is CEO of the first two companies and chairman and largest shareholder of the third.) But 2013 was an especially notable year for Musk, as investors and consumers wholeheartedly embraced his ideas and vision. After a rocky start a decade ago, Tesla has emerged to become the world’s most prominent maker of all-electric cars. Revenue at Tesla is up more than 12-fold for the first three quarters of the year, and the company is on track to top $2 billion in sales in 2013. The stock is up more than fourfold year to date, and that’s after giving back some gains when recent vehicle sales missed some analysts’ estimates. (A series of troubling car battery fires has not helped.) And just as SpaceX has helped reignite interest in space exploration, Musk’s plans for a “hyperloop” between San Francisco and Los Angeles got Americans buzzing about ultra-high-speed transit when Musk released his design plans in August. Musk’s creations have already made him tremendously wealthy — Bloomberg Wealth says he is worth $7.7 billion — but it is his audacity and tenacity that make him Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year.

Not terribly surprising considering the year and the press. Congrats! expand full story

Musk Stories September 18, 2013

After plans for Autonomous driving were revealed this week via Tesla’s job site, Musk went on the offensive saying that yes they were working on a program and the team reports directly to him.

This is a stark (get it?) change from a previous stance where Musk said Tesla was taking a more wait and see approach. Perhaps Google’s plans to build their own car spurred him on? expand full story

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