Archive for the ‘Elon Musk’ Category

Elon Musk says Tesla is “vastly ahead” on self-driving

April 15th, 2019
Elon Musk

Enlarge / Elon Musk in 2015. (credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Tesla is less than two years away from full self-driving, CEO Elon Musk said in an interview with MIT researcher Lex Fridman published on Friday. And he said Tesla was far ahead of other companies working on self-driving technology.

"To me right now this seems game, set, and match." Musk said. "I could be wrong but it appears to be the case that Tesla is vastly ahead of everyone."

Musk told Fridman that Tesla customers would need to keep their hands on the wheel for "for at least six months or something like that." But he predicted that soon—"maybe even toward the end of this year, I'd be shocked if it's not next year at the latest"—Tesla's self-driving technology will become so good that "having a human intervene will decrease safety."

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Posted in autopilot, cars, Elon Musk, neural networks, Tesla | Comments (0)

Tesla has been giving some of its most loyal customers the runaround

April 9th, 2019
Elon Musk gives a talk on a stage.

Enlarge (credit: Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Nothing better exemplifies Elon Musk's haphazard approach to corporate decision-making than Tesla's treatment of customers who paid thousands of dollars to pre-order the "full self-driving" option. Tesla introduced the option in 2016, and at the time Musk predicted it would be ready in around two years. Today, the technology still seems far from completion.

Last month, Tesla added insult to injury, announcing that existing customers who hadn't already paid for the full self-driving option could do so at a lower price. That enraged some earlier full self-driving customers who had yet to get anything for their money, yet Tesla refused to offer them partial refunds.

To mollify these early adopters, Tesla promised that they would "receive an invitation to Tesla’s Early Access Program (EAP). EAP members are invited to experience and provide feedback on new features and functionality before they are rolled out to other customers." The opportunity to beta-test Tesla's software excited many eligible customers. After all, they had purchased the upgrade precisely because they wanted to be on the cutting edge.

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Posted in cars, Elon Musk, full self-driving, Tesla | Comments (0)

SEC wants to fine Elon Musk but not strip him of CEO job

April 4th, 2019
Elon Musk arrives at federal court in New York on Thursday, April 4, 2019.

Enlarge / Elon Musk arrives at federal court in New York on Thursday, April 4, 2019. (credit: Natan Dvir/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Elon Musk appeared in a Manhattan courtroom on Thursday to listen as his lawyers defended him against claims that he had violated a September deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC told Judge Alison Nathan that Musk violated the deal by publishing a February tweet stating that Tesla would produce "around 500k" vehicles in 2019—without getting the tweet pre-approved by a Tesla attorney.

Musk's lawyers disagreed, arguing that his September deal gave him discretion to decide which tweets needed legal review. The settlement requires Musk to seek legal review for tweets that "contain or may reasonably contain" information that's "material"—i.e., significant for people trading Tesla's stock. But Musk's lawyers argue that the 500k figure is consistent with Tesla's past guidance (the SEC disputes this) and therefore wasn't new information that needed fresh legal approval.

People who came to the courthouse hoping to see Musk smacked down—or vindicated—by Judge Nathan left disappointed. Rather than ruling directly on the SEC's contempt motion, she ordered the parties to go back to the bargaining table and draw up a new, more-specific agreement governing Musk's use of social media.

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Posted in cars, Elon Musk, Tesla | Comments (0)

Why Elon Musk is an increasingly bad choice to run Tesla

April 4th, 2019
Man in T-shirt and sunglasses waves at crowd before speaking into microphone.

Enlarge / Elon Musk in 2018. (credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

There have been a lot of signs recently that Elon Musk's tenure as CEO of Tesla is not going well.

Musk's lawyers are scheduled to appear in a New York courtroom today to convince a judge not to hold Musk in contempt for tweeting out a production forecast without first clearing the tweet with Tesla's lawyers—something the Securities and Exchange Commission says Musk committed to do in a September settlement.

Yesterday, Tesla announced a 31 percent quarter-over-quarter drop in vehicle shipments. The decline was partly driven by difficulties shipping the Model 3 to Europe and China and partly by a dramatic 44 percent fall in shipments of the more expensive Model S and Model X. Tesla's stock dropped about 9 percent when trading opened this morning.

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Tesla deliveries fall—especially for high-end Model S and X

April 4th, 2019
Elon Musk.

Enlarge / Elon Musk. (credit: Robyn Beck-Pool/Getty Images)

Tesla delivered 63,000 vehicles to customers in the first quarter of 2019, the company announced on Wednesday evening. That's a dramatic 31 percent decline from the previous quarter, when Tesla delivered 90,700 vehicles.

Analysts have been expecting that Tesla would announce a quarter-to-quarter decline in deliveries, but this drop exceeded Wall Street's expectations. Wall Street analysts were expecting Tesla to deliver around 75,000 cars.

Analysts expected Tesla to have a down quarter because the US tax credit for buying a Tesla was scheduled to fall from $7,500 to $3,750 on January 1. So Americans thinking about buying a Tesla late last year made sure take delivery by December 31, causing US demand to dry up in January.

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Posted in cars, Elon Musk, model 3, model s, model x, Tesla | Comments (0)

New Tesla chair on Elon Musk: “I don’t think he poses any challenges”

March 27th, 2019
Robyn Denholm, chairwoman of Tesla, during an American Chamber of Commerce in Australia event in Sydney, Australia, on Wednesday, March 27, 2019.

Enlarge / Robyn Denholm, chairwoman of Tesla, during an American Chamber of Commerce in Australia event in Sydney, Australia, on Wednesday, March 27, 2019. (credit: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Last fall, the Securities and Exchange Commission forced Elon Musk to give up his role as the chairman of Tesla's board. The agency hoped the move would give Tesla's board a measure of independence, allowing it to conduct more vigorous oversight over Tesla's CEO.

But the woman who got the job, Robyn Denholm, doesn't see a need for Musk to change how he tweets—or any other aspects of his unconventional management style.

“I don’t think he poses any challenges,” Denholm said to Bloomberg in Sydney on Wednesday. "The company is running very well and the board itself is very engaged. We meet with him all the time."

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Posted in cars, Elon Musk, Funding secured, Robyn Denholm, Twitter | Comments (0)

Musk defense “borders on the ridiculous,” SEC tells court

March 19th, 2019
Elon Musk

Enlarge (credit: VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

The Securities and Exchange Commission heaped scorn on Elon Musk and his legal arguments in a Monday legal filing. The agency is asking New York federal Judge Alison Nathan to hold Musk in contempt for tweeting a projection of 2019 vehicle output without first getting the tweet approved by Tesla's lawyers.

Musk has been battling the SEC since last August, when he tweeted that he had "funding secured" to take Tesla private. That turned out to be untrue, and it's illegal to publish inaccurate information that has the potential to move markets. Under the terms of a September deal, Musk paid a $20 million fine and gave up his role as the chairman of Tesla's board (Tesla paid an additional $20 million).

Musk also promised to have Tesla lawyers review future tweets that could contain information that is "material"—that is, significant enough to affect the price of Tesla's stock.

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Posted in cars, Elon Musk, Funding secured, SEC | Comments (0)

At a quick Los Angeles event, Tesla announces the 300-mile-range Model Y

March 15th, 2019

Tonight in Los Angeles, Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed off a prototype version of the Model Y, the fourth mass-produced vehicle that the electric car maker will bring to market. The vehicle, as expected, will be a larger, SUV-version of the Model 3, much like the Model X was the larger, SUV-version of the Model S.

Musk revealed very few details about the upcoming car, but a few key figures stuck out: the 300-mile, long-range version of the vehicle will go into production in Fall 2020 with an MSRP of $47,000. The 230-mile, standard version will cost $37,000 and go into production in Spring 2021, according to Musk. The Y will seat seven people with 66 cubic feet of storage space.

The vehicle will also have the option of a dual-motor all wheel drive option and a performance option, at an additional cost.

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Posted in battery electric vehicles, cars, Elon Musk, model 3, model y, Tesla | Comments (0)

How “Elon Musk” came to SXSW and launched a rocket to Mars (but not really)

March 13th, 2019
How “Elon Musk” came to SXSW and launched a rocket to Mars (but not really)

Enlarge (credit: SXSW)

AUSTIN, Texas—In 2018, Elon Musk showed up at South by Southwest to inspire humanity. In 2019, "Elon Musk" showed up to destroy it.

“By the way, my accent? It’s correct," "Musk" told a sold out theater on Friday night toward the beginning of "his" SXSW Comedy keynote, Elon Musk: The Frightening and Awful Future of Humanity. "I’m South African and also Canadian, so I’m evil but kind of shy about it.”

If you're thinking something looks a little different about "Musk" at SXSW 2019, it's not the choice of sweater. "When I’m doing an impression, I’m most interested in making fun of folks who are already larger-than-life personalities: bombastic figures, figures with giant egos, and maybe bigger blind spots—I love that," "Elon," aka comedian James Adomian, tells Ars. "That’s what makes it interesting to me and the audience. I’m not going to be doing a Robert De Niro impression. Obviously, sometimes you do an impression someone else has done before, but you want your own take on it, and that involves finding the craziest thing about them and exaggerating it—that’s where the comedy is. It’d be boring if I didn’t pick big targets."

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Posted in Elon Musk, Gaming & Culture, spacex, SXSW, SXSW2019 | Comments (0)

Musk lawyers accuse SEC of “unconstitutional power grab”

March 12th, 2019
Image of an exasperated man giving a speech.

Enlarge / Elon Musk speaks at the 68th International Astronautical Congress 2017 in Adelaide on September 29, 2017. (credit: PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

Elon Musk's lawyers have fired back at the Securities and Exchange Commission, arguing that the Tesla CEO did not violate the terms of his September settlement with the agency—and that the agency's attempt to gag Musk violates the First Amendment. The SEC has asked a federal judge to hold Musk in contempt for tweeting out a projection of Tesla's 2019 car production without first clearing the tweet with Tesla's lawyers.

The core disagreement in the case is over whether Musk's February 19 tweet stating "Tesla made 0 cars in 2011, but will make around 500k in 2019" was material—legal jargon for information that's significant enough to affect Tesla's stock price. If that 500k figure is material, then Tesla's policy required Musk to clear the tweet with his lawyers. Failure to do so would be a violation of Musk's deal with the SEC, which settled a previous lawsuit over another tweet containing allegedly inaccurate information.

But if Musk's 500k tweet is not material, as Musk's lawyers claim, then Musk did nothing wrong. Musk's lawyers argue Tesla's policy gives Musk discretion to decide which tweets are material and that Musk reasonably determined that this February 19 tweet was non-material. They argue that Musk's "around 500k" figure wasn't providing new information to the market but rather reiterating information Tesla had disclosed previously.

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Posted in cars, Elon Musk, Funding secured, Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla | Comments (0)