Archive for the ‘Elon Musk’ Category

Elon Musk announces Tesla layoffs, warns about weak Q4 profits

January 18th, 2019
Tesla CEO Elon Musk visiting China in January 2019.

Enlarge / Tesla CEO Elon Musk visiting China in January 2019. (credit: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Tesla is cutting its workforce by about 7 percent, CEO Elon Musk announced in a Friday morning email to employees. Musk said that the cuts are necessary to help Tesla cope with what Musk described as an "extremely difficult challenge: making our cars, batteries and solar products cost-competitive with fossil fuels."

Tesla's stock price fell more than 9 percent on the news.

Tesla grew its workforce by 30 percent in 2018, according to Musk, but that growth turned out to be unsustainable. And Tesla is facing a number of headwinds in the coming months.

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Musk: Tesla getting “regulatory pushback” on remote-control feature

January 10th, 2019
Elon Musk.

Enlarge / Elon Musk. (credit: DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)

Elon Musk's dream of customers driving their Teslas around parking lots "like a big RC car" has hit a snag, the mogul said on Twitter Thursday. The software for Tesla's summon and remote control features was weeks away from completion, he said. However, Musk said that the remote control feature was "getting some regulatory pushback"—at least in some parts of the world. He didn't specify which parts of the world he was talking about.

At the moment, Tesla vehicles only have a basic summon capability. Drivers can order a car to inch forward or backward using a smartphone—which is useful when squeezing into tight parking spaces. But this requires the driver to be close by and actively monitoring the vehicle.

For a while, Tesla has been working on a much more ambitious version of the feature called "Smart Summon." As described on Tesla's Autopilot website, it would mean "your car will navigate more complex environments and parking spaces, maneuvering around objects as necessary to come find you." In November, Musk tweeted that a future Summon upgrade would allow Tesla's cars to "drive to your phone location & follow you like a pet." Musk said that this "advanced summon" technology—which may not be the same as the "smart summon" featured touted on Tesla's website—would be ready in about six weeks.

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Tesla delivered 90,700 cars in Q4, Wall Street freaks out

January 2nd, 2019
Tesla's Fremont factory in July 2018.

Enlarge / Tesla's Fremont factory in July 2018. (credit: Mason Trinca for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Tesla produced a record number of cars in the final quarter of 2018, the company reported on Wednesday. Tesla produced 61,394 Model 3s, a 15 percent gain from the previous quarter. Production of the Model S and Model X totaled 25,161 units—slightly below last quarter's figure of 26,903.

This represented a new overall production record, but Wall Street wasn't impressed. As I write this, Tesla's shares are down about 8 percent for the day to $305.

Tesla produced about 4,700 Model 3 vehicles per week in the fourth quarter. Notably, that's still below the 5,000-car weekly production rate Tesla achieved—however briefly—in the final week of June. It's also well below targets previously articulated by CEO Elon Musk.

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Musk lawyers move to dismiss cave explorer lawsuit over “pedo guy” tweets

December 27th, 2018
Elon Musk speaks in Austin, Texas, on March 10, 2018.

Enlarge / Elon Musk speaks in Austin, Texas, on March 10, 2018. (credit: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for HBO)

On Wednesday, lawyers representing Elon Musk asked a federal judge to dismiss a defamation lawsuit brought by a British cave explorer who Musk called a "pedo guy" on Twitter. The motion to dismiss, filed in US District Court in California's Central District argues that Twitter is simply a "website famous for invective and hyperbole," and no one who read Musk's claims took them seriously.

Tangled tweets

The dispute began in July, when Musk began tweeting about using a team of SpaceX engineers to find a way to rescue 12 boys who were trapped in a cave in Thailand as monsoon waters flooded the cave. The team's solution was to develop a child-sized submarine that could keep the children safe as experienced divers guided it through the long and dangerous passage out of the cave.

But several days later, a team of experienced divers and cave explorers were able to rescue all of the children without Musk's help. A Thai official later said that Musk's solution "was not practical for this mission."

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Posted in boring company, cars, defamation, Elon Musk, Policy, Space X, Tesla, Thailand | Comments (0)

Ars takes a first tour of the length of The Boring Company’s test tunnel

December 19th, 2018


HAWTHORNE, CALIF.—On a breezy Tuesday evening across the busy street from SpaceX's headquarters, Elon Musk's Boring Company invited a group of journalists to take a ride through the company's first test tunnel. The test tunnel stretches 1.14 miles from SpaceX's former parking lot, under Crenshaw Boulevard, under the SpaceX campus, and finally terminating behind some nondescript warehouses in Hawthorne, at Prairie St. and 102th St.

The ride was hardly a finished product; judging the success of The Boring Company's tunnel-digging vision would be impossible at this point. What today's demo did, though, was offer a proof-of-concept.

Entering the tunnel

Across the street from SpaceX, journalists were ushered down a ramp to the original opening of The Boring Company's first tunnel. We got into a modified Model X—modified in that it had bumpers added to the wheels to prevent the vehicle from too much undesirable movement while in the tunnel. Then, a driver (who Boring Company employees told us we were strictly not allowed to speak to) drove us up to the mouth of the tunnel, onto the raised curbs that flanked either side of the tunnel walls.

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Posted in cars, Elon Musk, spacex, Tesla, the boring company | Comments (0)

Elon Musk makes mockery of SEC settlement in 60 Minutes interview

December 10th, 2018
Elon Musk makes mockery of SEC settlement in 60 Minutes interview

Enlarge (credit: CBS)

If anyone thought that Elon Musk had turned over a new leaf following a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over illegally manipulating Tesla's stock price, think again. On Sunday, CBS' 60 Minutes interviewed the Tesla CEO, which gave Musk an opportunity to let the world know exactly what he thinks about SEC. Spoiler alert: not much.

As you may recall, this all started in August, when Musk took to Twitter to tell his 23.6 million followers that he had secured funding to return Tesla to private ownership via way of an oblique drug reference.

Despite adding "Funding secured," it turned out there was in fact no such possibility. The resulting yo-yo effect on Tesla's stock price led to a deluge of complaints with the SEC from investors both short and long who lost money as a result, and it caused us to question whether or not Musk's presence at Tesla was actually a good thing for the company.

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

The Boring Company’s first tunnel is all dug up

November 17th, 2018

On Friday night, Boring Company CEO Elon Musk tweeted images of his tunnel-boring machine appearing to emerge from the dirt into a cavernous hole, with bystanders at the hole's edge watching the spinning boring head.

The tunnel began in January 2017 in the parking lot of SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, California. Musk's goal has been to improve the speed and cost of tunnel boring, not only to alleviate surface-street traffic by lowering cars onto electric skates and then speeding them through a so-called "loop" system, but also to potentially dig sewer, water, and electrical tunnels for cities in a more cost-effective manner.

In late October, Musk tweeted that the more-than-two-mile-long Hawthorne tunnel would be completed by December 10, and The Boring Company would celebrate by giving rides to the public.

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Posted in cars, Elon Musk, Energy, the boring company, Transportation, tunnel | Comments (0)

Elon Musk on double-decker freeways, permitting, and building sewers

November 11th, 2018
boring machine segments

Segments of The Boring Company's boring machine, called Godot. (credit: The Boring Company)

Tesla, SpaceX, and Boring Company CEO Elon Musk is good at finding alternative markets for his products. He did this with the lithium-ion batteries he was building and sourcing for his Model S, X, and eventually Model 3 cars: by developing a line of stationary storage battery products, he tapped into another well of potential customers at little additional expense.

Similarly, Musk told mayors on Thursday that he wants The Boring Company to dig sewers, water transport, and electrical tunnels under cities, in addition to the transportation-focused tunnels he hopes to dig to house electric skate systems.

Musk mentioned this alternate use for his boring machines at the National League of Cities' City Summit, during a "fireside chat" with Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti. According to Forbes, Musk told the audience, "The Boring Company is also going to do tunneling for, like, water transport, sewage, electrical. We're not going to turn our noses up at sewage tunnels. We're happy to do that too."

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Posted in cars, electrical, Elon Musk, Energy, sewers, the boring company | Comments (0)

Tesla replaces Elon Musk as chair—he’ll stay CEO

November 8th, 2018
Tesla replaces Elon Musk as chair—he’ll stay CEO

Enlarge (credit: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Tesla has announced a new chair of its board of directors: Robyn Denholm. The move is part of the deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle claims that CEO Elon Musk misled investors. The deal required Musk to not serve as chairman for three years. Elon Musk will remain as CEO.

Denholm, who has served on Tesla’s board since 2014, will leave her role as CFO of Telstra, the Australian telecom giant, in six months.

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

Musk: new Tesla summon feature will “follow you like a pet”

November 1st, 2018
Elon Musk in Adelaide, Australia in 2017.

Enlarge / Elon Musk in Adelaide, Australia in 2017. (credit: Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Elon Musk took to Twitter late on Wednesday night to tout Tesla's forthcoming "advanced summon" feature, which he says is due out in about six weeks.

"Car will drive to your phone location & follow you like a pet if you hold down summon button on Tesla app," Musk tweeted.

In another tweet, Musk said that "you’ll be able to drive it from your phone remotely like a big RC car"—though only if the car is within the line of sight.

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