Michael Krewson

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  1. Amid all the excitement over the Tesla Model 3 Delivery Event tonight, another big piece of news managed to slide under the radar this week: All of Tesla’s premium interior options will be completely leather-free. While the company hasn’t released an official statement, a Tesla spokesperson confirmed the news to USA Today, saying that Tesla now only sells its premium seating option, a non-animal seating material designed specifically for the company. Teslas still come with leather steering wheels, but there are leather-free options available. “Cars still come with leather-wrapped steering wheels, but cruelty-free vegan options have been offered upon request in the past,” PETA said in a blog post. Animal agriculture — including the leather industry — is responsible for 51 percent of all greenhouse-gas emissions. Turning animal skins into leather also requires 130 different chemicals, including toxins like cyanide, and to cap it off, leather production uses 15,000 gallons of water per ton of hides. Tesla has always offered the vegan option of standard cloth seating, but PETA, which is a Tesla shareholder, has long pressured the automaker to drop leather seats entirely by 2019. Although Tesla stockholders voted against the proposition, the following year Tesla rolled out its first synthetic leather premium seating option in “Ultra White” for the Model X, a victory for vegan Tesla lovers. PETA Director of Corporate Affairs Anne Brainard noted that other luxury car companies have also begun offering faux-leather seating as an option. “PETA will continue to urge all companies to follow Tesla’s lead in choosing sustainability and kindness over cruelty,” Brainard said. We’ll keep our eyes and ears open at tonight’s delivery event to see if Musk mentions a leather-free future for Tesla. The post Tesla dumps leather seating in older models as company goes cruelty-free appeared first on TESLARATI.com. Via
  2. Tesla CEO Elon Musk teased on Instagram a sneak peek of Friday’s highly anticipated Model 3 Delivery Event, which looks to be the company’s biggest party yet. The serial tech entrepreneur posted a video showing a massive triple-stage adorned by a gorgeous red Model 3 serving as the centerpiece. Perhaps we’ll see all 30 Model 3s being lined up on stage? Oh, and let us not forget about the winning Project Loveday videos which are expected to be featured during the event. A Tesla employee once told us, “There’s a unanimous feeling of being blessed to be part of this company.” To that, and on behalf of the Tesla community, we want to tell them that the sentiment is shared. Thank you. See you Friday night. The post Sneak peek of Tesla Model 3 event: it’s going to be an epic and emotional party appeared first on TESLARATI.com. Via
  3. SpaceX has closed a new round of funding as the company proves its abilities to dominate the launch industry. The company raised over $350M from investors at a valuation north of $21B. SpaceX’s last round of funding closed at $1B from Google and Fidelity, that round valued the company at $12B. The Series H funding round was disclosed by Equidate, a site that provides financial data on privately held companies. SpaceX’s $21B valuation brings in into a club of 7 VC backed companies that have valuations north of $20B. Musk has previously stated that he wants to wait as long as possible until bringing SpaceX public. The latest funding round comes as SpaceX accelerates the frequency of launches and continues to chip away at their large order book. SpaceX’s COO Gwyneth Shotwell has been focused on the company’s ability to generate revenue through a sustainable launch business, and SpaceX’s launch manifest is a clear representation of that goal being achieved. Other competitors in the space business include Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. But, neither have been as successful or committed as Elon Musk in making meaningful headway in lowering the cost of space flight. Rather than seeking venture funding, Jeff Bezos’ sells roughly $1B of Amazon stock per year to fund its operations. While it’s unclear how much of SpaceX Elon Musk actually owns, it was last disclosed by an FCC filing in November last year that he owned over 50% of the company. The new valuation on SpaceX has brought his net worth at least $5B higher. Source
  4. Attendees of Friday’s Tesla Model 3 Delivery Event at the company’s Fremont factory will be required to present their unique QR code before being allowed entrance into the exclusive event. The move is seen as a way for Tesla to streamline the check-in process for invitees and their guests to what’s expected to be more of a Tesla employee celebration party. The anticipated event which will take place at an outdoor venue set up outside of the main factory, and live streamed on Tesla.com. CEO Elon Musk will provide remarks beginning at 9PM Pacific (4AM GMT). Based on our experiences from past Tesla events including last year’s Model 3 unveiling event, the “check-in” process for both press and non-press generally requires waiting in a lengthy line that leads to a registration table. A handful of franticly-moving Tesla employees behind the registration table will ask for your name/company, verify your name against a paper list, and then issue you a wristband and/or badge for attendance. The use of a QR code will allow Tesla staff to expedite the registration process, ensure smoother crowd control by keeping the line moving, while also allowing the team to validate that invitations are not used more than once. A big thanks to Model S owner and YouTuber DÆrik for providing us with an early look at the Model 3 QR code pass. Event details as follows: As a reminder, you are confirmed to attend the Model 3 Delivery event in Fremont, CA on Friday, July 28. PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING: The unique barcode below is valid for you and three guests only Invitations are non-transferable IDs will be checked upon arrival Guests must arrive at the same time as the primary ticket holder Doors open at 7PM Food and drinks will be served beginning at 7PM Remarks will begin at 9PM Light outerwear is recommended in case of cool weather, as the event will be held outdoors Closed-toe shoes must be worn. Flat-heeled shoes recommended PARKING AND CHARGING Valet parking will be available at the Tesla South Lot and all guests will be required to provide their parking pass to security If you take a ridesharing service, you will be required to present your parking pass to security upon arrival. Please enter via the Tesla South Lot and enter “Tesla South Lot” for your destination and pick up location Due to very high traffic at the Fremont Supercharger location, please plan for limited charging onsite Source
  5. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has once again defended the potential for positive AI growth. Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday that he was excited about AI progress because as technology grows, it has the potential to impact many areas of our lives. Initially, Zuckerberg had spoken about his optimism for AI development while smoking meat in his backyard during a Facebook live post. “I have pretty strong opinions on this. I am optimistic,” Zuckerberg said. “And I think people who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday scenarios — I just, I don’t understand it. It’s really negative and in some ways I actually think it is pretty irresponsible.” His comments fly directly in the face of Musk’s who has long had a doomsday attitude toward the technology. “I have exposure to the most cutting edge AI and I think people should be really concerned about it,” Musk said. “I keep sounding the alarm bell, but until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react because it seems so ethereal … There’s a role for regulators that I think is very important and I’m against over regulation for sure, but I think we better get on that with AI.” As the public debate continues on, two camps seem to be emerging: Musk’s cautious outlook and Zuckerberg’s rosy views. Source
  6. A former employee of Elon Musk’s The Boring Company has started an Ask Me Anything thread on Reddit under the username “Gizmo,” and some juicy details have emerged. The user’s account has been verified by Reddit moderators, so we know that Gizmo is speaking from a place of authority. There aren’t many public details about the company aside from it being primarily run by interns and only taking up 2-3% of Musk’s time, so Redditors jumped at the chance to learn more. One user asked about the plan for when the company’s tunnel reaches the end of the SpaceX parking lot, to which Gizmo replied: “Hope really hard that LA lets us continue. No, really. The permitting is a huge nightmare and there wasn’t a solid plan when I left. So it all depends on where the tunnel goes and if all the appropriate easements/landowners/laws can be satisfied.” The tunnel has been lauded by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, but there are still many regulatory hurdles to overcome, as Gizmo pointed out. Another user asked about the company’s biggest risks. “Ooh. Well there’s a lot of them. In no particular order Buy-in from cities/[landowners] Permitting (oh god the permitting) Public acceptance (a big concern I’ve heard is “where are the windows?”) NIMBY (not in my backyard) folks Time required (right now we still can’t even move at the speed of a snail) Honestly, the technical details are not a huge risk. Elon’s already discussed why earthquakes aren’t a big issue, and tunneling isn’t exactly new – we’re just looking to apply new technologies to an old industry.” My favorite username of the bunch, Donttouchmyficus, asked how Gizmo was first hired by the company. “I was actually recruited through my college. One of my good friends (currently an associate engineer working on MVac) had an internship as a junior. SpaceX tends to keep in contact with their interns and so he was essentially our campus recruiter. Maybe February or March he forwarded me an email to apply for Boring Company jobs, they were hiring just a few people. The week of my graduation (first week of May) I actually got a call from Steve Davis who’s in charge of the whole project, and 4 days later I was in LA. As for who they’re looking for, I would say it’s definitely younger or more motivated people. They love students that are involved in clubs like Formula SAE or have done research, rather than just completing courses and doing honors work. We’re working out of the SpaceX headquarters and the culture is therefore much the same as you might hear about them.” A fourth user inquired about the production side of the business, which shed some light on The Boring Company-SpaceX relationship, since Boring operates outside of SpaceX’s HQ. “We’re using the SpaceX facilities heavily. The Tooling department hates us. They’re incredibly competent though – some of the best welds I’ve ever seen were on the elevator frame. Very few dedicated tools, but there’s plenty to borrow usually.” Gizmo adds, “The tunneling aspect is only part of the project. There’s a lot more involved in tunneling than just the actually tunnel – the support infrastructure (this includes the elevator) is very important.” The final question that caught my eye was about the safety and effectiveness of The Boring Company’s elevator and if “perfect alignment” was needed to ensure no damage to the vehicles using it. “There were a number of solutions discussed for the issue of alignment etc. I believe one solution has been to only allow Teslas which will integrate with the elevator and therefore align themselves through AP. [Besides] that, there will definitely be additional safeguards added, particularly in terms of occupant and pedestrian safety.” With interesting insider details and a potentially ground-breaking impact, the only growing concern surrounds the Hyperloop permit process. If acquiring permits is as nightmarish as Gizmo points out, it could be a long time before Americans see any kind of Hyperloop tunnel. Source
  7. Tesla’s flex circuit technology could shake things up for companies that produce wiring and other electrical products. A company specializing in wiring manufacturing called Lear Corporation was the target of bubbling doubts over how the flex circuit technology will impact future demand for wiring and cables. During an earnings report, Chris McNally, an analyst from Evercore ISI, asked if flex circuits could “significantly reduce” wiring to the point where it would impact Lear’s business. Frank Orsini, an executive at Lear Corp., didn’t seem fazed by the potential impact. “The flex circuits and different types of applications in the vehicle is nothing new to Lear even. We’ve actually used flex circuits in the past. We have the technology in our product portfolio. It is more expensive technology than traditional applications of wire,” Orsini said. “What we do well in the industry is we optimize the architecture … We don’t see the usage of wire shrinking. Wires are very secured way of connecting the signaling and data communication in the vehicle.” So while flex circuits could affect future wiring production, some company executives think that it doesn’t pose a major threat. Flex circuits are basically a circuit system that can be molded and changed into different shapes. Overall, it drastically reduces the amount of cables and wiring needed when producing big electric-based projects like an EV. Tesla patented a type of flexible circuit technology in 2013 for battery connection. All the talk can be seen by Tesla fans as another way the company is pushing EV manufacturing into the future. Tesla has already had an impact on the auto market, with major automotive companies like BMW group and Volvo making the switch to electrified vehicles. With flex circuits, the discussion can shift to how Tesla will impact production in the EV market as well. Based on CEO Elon Musk’s plans to vertically integrate all areas of vehicle production, implementing different wiring logistics could also impact how suppliers fit into the EV equation. As the Model 3 enters full-scale production, investors will get a chance to see just how big of an impact Tesla will have on EV manufacturing and the automotive industry as a whole. Source
  8. With the much-ballyhooed Tesla Model 3 delivery event happening in less than 36 hours (but who’s counting), TSLA stocks have had a quite a ride. July hasn’t been the kindest month to the company, with the stock plummeting nearly 20% after the EV giant missed the mark on its Q2 delivery target, leading analysts to question the affordable Model 3 was knocking down sales of the higher-priced Models X and S. Taking a look at this week, things started low at $330.23, but had a steady increase, peaking at Tuesday’s opening bell at $345.13. It declined after that high, and for Wednesday the stock ebbed and flowed as per usual with no noticeable changes to speak of. The stock came in to Thursday’s opening bell at $346.10, and has stayed around that mark as of the time of this reporting. The steady increase can be chalked up to rising anticipation of the Model 3 delivery event. Those invited to the highly exclusive event will witness the first thirty deliveries of Tesla’s Model 3 to their owners. This will be similar in nature to the Model X delivery event that was also held at its Fremont facility, where six early Tesla backers were given the keys to their new Falcon Winged electric SUVs. Doors open at the event beginning at 7pm Pacific Time. Tesla CEO Elon Musk will present opening remarks beginning at 9pm PT. The Model 3 event will be a major milestone for the company as it fully enters the mass vehicle market with its first affordable model. Tomorrow will also be a huge indicator of how the company will fare from this point on. Many see the Model 3 as Tesla’s make or break moment for entering the mainstream, and that will have a definitive impact on where the company stands on Wall Street. Source
  9. Tesla and CEO Elon Musk sparked major discussion after they announced they would solve South Australia’s power crisis with the world’s largest battery. The 100 megawatt, 129-megawatt-hour battery will consist of 640 Tesla Powerpacks hooked up to a windfarm produced by partner Neoen. tIt seems like a fair deal for all parties involved — South Australia needs power, Musk needs to build up infrastructure to reach sustainable energy goals. But as with other recent announcements from Musk, the question still remains: How exactly is this going to work?
  10. New details from an email that was reportedly sent by Tesla to employees with Model 3 reservations confirms Elon Musk’s plan to deliver the first vehicles to employees that are registered in California. Those looking to take delivery of their Model 3 at the Fremont factory will also receive the special priority. Tesla has generally prioritized its employees and company investors, as a token of appreciation for their support, but more so because employees allows Tesla to maintain a short feedback loop. “It’s good to have a feedback loop before customers experience them.” said Musk earlier this year during a quarterly earnings call. Getting the vehicle into the hands of Tesla employees serves as a means to tap into a segment of new owners that are likely more familiar with the car and brand than the general public, and also have a vested interest in seeing the brand succeed. As such, this core group will be more tolerant of early bugs and can provide concise feedback directly back to the Tesla team. However, those employees looking to take an early Model 3 delivery so they can churn a profit by reselling it will be stopped in their tracks. “Because employees are receiving special priority, all Model 3 cars prioritized to employees must be registered to you or your family member and may not be resold for more than the original price. Reservation holders will agree to these terms when their order is placed.” reads the email. Tesla is set to take stage this Friday, July 28 and reveal the full details behind its first affordable, mass market electric sedan. The Model 3 delivery event, which will be live streamed from a company webcast, will also showcase the top 3 winning submissions for best fan-made Tesla commercial. Here’s the entire email reportedly sent by Tesla to its employees: All, Each employee reservation holder will receive an email the evening of July 28 with details regarding their Model 3 reservation. Deliveries of Model 3 will be generally prioritized by geography, starting with owners registered in California or those taking deliveries at Fremont. Because employees are receiving special priority, all Model 3 cars prioritized to employees must be registered to you or your family member and may not be resold for more than the original price. Reservation holders will agree to these terms when their order is placed. Please note the following to ensure that you can access your Model 3 reservation on your Tesla account and receive employee priority: If you placed your Model 3 reservation under your company email address, no action is needed. If you placed your Model 3 reservation under a personal email address, please log in to your Tesla account and update your “Account Email” to your work email address. If you have questions regarding your reservation, visit the Tesla Support site. Tesla will send more details on delivery plans, FAQs, and reservation updates after Friday. Thank you! Source
  11. Tesla has announced that the top 3 Project Loveday fan-made commercials will be picked on Friday ahead of the Model 3 delivery event start time. Among 100s of video submissions, Tesla has narrowed it down to their top 10 favorite videos and will allow fans to vote on them through Twitter. “Got 100s of great Project Loveday videos. Picked our top ten – will tweet 1 by 1. Top 3 most liked by 5pm PT Fri will run on Model 3 webcast” read the Tweet by Tesla. We’ve highlighted some of our favorite fan-made Tesla commercials, including one submitted by celebrity tech YouTuber and P100D owner MKBHD. To vote on a Project Loveday video submission, be sure to like the tweet by Tesla that contains your favorite fan-made commercial. Source
  12. Following a highly informative discussion at the ISS R&D conference, Elon Musk revealed that the updated, leaner version of SpaceX’s Mars architecture would likely have a diameter of around 9 meters. Possibly the most crucial keystone of this economical update relates to the launch pad or pads that will be necessary to launch a rocket as large as either ITS. An oft-overlooked feature of the current LC-39A launch pad SpaceX leases and operates in Florida is that it and its LC-39B sibling were developed with a far larger and more powerful version of Saturn V in mind, known as Nova at the time. SpaceX is well aware of this, and is also painfully aware of just how expensive the construction of launch pads can be after having to undertake deep repairs of LC-40. Mockups of potential solutions for a dual vehicle setup at LC-39A. With this arrangement, SpaceX would be able to continue crewed and Falcon Heavy launches from the pad while conducting initial tests and launches of their ITS. (Jay Deshetler, in addition to Cameron Byers and John Archer, based on notes from KSC pad engineers)(NASASpaceflight) Buried in a fascinating article by Chris Bergin of NASASpaceflight.com fame, Bergin has revealed that documents and rumblings behind the scenes indicate that SpaceX is seriously considering either co-launching from LC-39B or modifying LC-39A with a second launch mount. This would require considerably modifications to the venerable pad, but it would not require the costly and time-consuming construction of an entirely new launch pad. Speculative renders and mockups (above) created by the skilled forum members of NASASpaceflight demonstrate this nicely, showing the launch mount for ITS and Falcon side by side. Combined with Musk’s past statements about this updated version of ITS, the future is looking increasingly bright for what was initially a somewhat crazy architecture. Easier transport, recycled development facilities, and co-location on an already-constructed launch pad show that SpaceX are completely serious about their ambitions for Mars and are willing to do what is necessary to get to the Moon, the Red Planet, and beyond. Source
  13. Just as quickly as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg went from casual acquaintances to full-on foes, 2017 is more than halfway over. Tesla had a lot of lofty goals for the year, and made some big moves like the release of the Model 3, but there are still a few ideas brewing that Musk would like to execute by year’s end. Anticipated Model 3 Release Source: Tesla As mentioned above, the Tesla Model 3 graced the world with its presence this year, and its rollout is in two days at a company handover party. As we previously reported, production is expected to kick into a higher gear and Musk’s processes and logistics will be tested following the official Model 3 event. For investors, this will be the defining moment on whether Musk’s vision for a high volume, affordable electric car is possible. The delivery event will also feature presentations from Musk on Tesla’s grand vision for a sustainable future. The Model 3, Musk’s entry into the mass vehicle market, will be $35,000 and have a range of more than 200 miles per charge. Next Level Semi Source: Tesla The Tesla Semi-truck, which Musk touted as “seriously next level,” is due for release in September. Semis typically drive millions of miles and are some of the largest polluters in the world. Tesla’s electric truck could take thousands of these off the road, making the air cleaner and quieter, but battery technology and Tesla’s charging network would need to be able to support the extreme long distance travel and weight often associated with this industry. The semi initiative is being led by former VP of Worldwide Sales and Service Jerome Guillen. “A lot of people don’t think you can do a heavy duty long-range truck that is electric. But, we are confident that this can be done,” Musk said. 10,000 superchargers globally Source: Teslarati Tesla says it plans to have more than 10,000 Superchargers and 15,000 destination chargers in its network by the end of 2017, doubling that of the existing charging network. “As Tesla prepares for our first mass-market vehicle and continues to increase our Model S and Model X fleet, we’re making charging an even greater priority,” Tesla said back in April. “It is extremely important to us and our mission that charging is convenient, abundant, and reliable for all owners, current and future. In 2017, we’ll be doubling the Tesla charging network, expanding existing sites so drivers never wait to charge, and broadening our charging locations within city centers.” As of right now, Tesla has 6,118 superchargers and 909 supercharging stations. Your Car Can Drive Others Source: Teslarati As our own Margaret Gach reported, the Tesla Network has the potential to upset ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft. The basic idea of the Tesla Network is for the car to drive itself while you’re busy. Given that the typical car owner only uses their vehicle during about 5 to 10 percent of the day, having your car make money for the other 90 to 95 percent of the day could be lucrative. While you’re at work, asleep, or even on vacation, your Tesla could be driving around the city, picking up and dropping off passengers without any extra effort on your part. Musk and company still have some way to go though as a 2017 Deloitte study shows that 74 percent of Americans don’t currently trust self-driving cars. An Eye Toward The Future With the Model 3 release event being Friday, it will become clear if Tesla was able to knock out another one of its goals for the year. Even if it does, the company still has to execute a few more of its 2017 plans before the ball drops into 2018. Source
  14. Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Instagram late Tuesday evening to demonstrate The Boring Company’s newest car elevator. The serial tech entrepreneur posted a video showing what appears to be a driverless Tesla Model S being summoned onto a platform, before being lowered into an underground tunnel. This is the first time we’re seeing a working proof of concept by The Boring Company, which comes less than three months after Musk first revealed details about his futuristic tunnel-boring project. Speaking at TED 2017 in April, Musk gave the audience a visualization of the project that would enable a car to be lowered into the ground, and transported on electric skates through a network of tunnels. According to Musk, the underground transportation network could have as many as 30 layers of tunnels, and can be used to support a Hyperloop. Though Musk’s ambitious tunnel boring project has received criticism from various city officials and regulatory bodies that have considered Musk’s plan a pipe dream, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has had more “promising conversations” about the project. Los Angeles is earmarked as one of the more complex areas that Musk’s The Boring Company will have to navigate when it comes to regulatory approval. The densely packed cities, vocal residents and fears over the unsubstantiated effects of earthquakes on tunnels contribute to the problem. Still, this won’t hold The Boring Company back from its ambitious project, as validated by Musk’s recent video that shows a Tesla Model S being lowered by a car elevator and into the entryway of an underground tunnel. Incidentally, seen in the background of the video is also SpaceX’s newest pedestrian bridge. The first set of tunnels are to alleviate greater LA urban congestion, said Musk. “Will start NY-DC in parallel. Then prob LA-SF and a TX loop.” According to Musk, The Boring Company has received verbal government approval to build an underground Hyperloop between New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Baltimore. Travel time between New York City and D.C. can be achieved in as little as 29 minutes. Tunnel walls Source
  15. An update yesterday on NASA’s Commercial Crew Program has confirmed SpaceX’s current schedule for its first launches of Dragon 2 in February and June of 2018. Previously discussed here, meetings on Monday and Tuesday offered more detailed information on SpaceX’s Dragon programs. In Monday’s NASA advisory meeting, Sam Scimemi discussed ISS operations between now and the end of the year, and went on to discuss SpaceX’s upcoming CRS-12 mission. Currently slated for no earlier than August 14th, CRS-12 will mark the final “new” Dragon capsule to visit the ISS, with all future CRS-1 launches from SpaceX to be conducted with reused capsules. Including CRS-12, SpaceX has nine more contracted cargo missions through the first CRS program. Yesterday, NASA’s Steve Stich discussed the Commercial Crew Program and provided updates on the progress being made by SpaceX, Boeing, and Blue Origin. While a skilled aerospace journalist and reliable source of CCP information has expressed some skepticism about the schedules of both Boeing and SpaceX, both partners and NASA are still sticking to their updated goals of launching both Demo flights before 2018 is out. In other news, SpaceX is just shy of two weeks from a scheduled static fire for CRS-12, expected no earlier than August 10th. This will mark the company’s first launch in over a month, following the closure of the Eastern Range in early July. Including the inaugural launch of Falcon Heavy, SpaceX has as many as a dozen missions scheduled before 2018. Fans also can look forward to another presentation from Elon Musk in late September, where the CEO of SpaceX is expected to reveal a considerably updated and slightly smaller version of the Mars booster and spaceship revealed last year. The post SpaceX to reuse Cargo Dragons on all missions after CRS-12 launch in August appeared first on TESLARATI.com. Via
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