Musk Reads: New Cybertruck details emerge

Musk reveals more about the Tesla Cybertruck; the United States could run entirely on solar; and a shattered Cybertruck window leaves doubts.

Musk reveals more about the Tesla Cybertruck; the United States could run entirely on solar; and a shattered Cybertruck window leaves doubts. It’s Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #131.

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

Musk quote of the week

“Couldn’t afford to pay for repairs, so I fixed almost everything on that car from parts in the junkyard. Ironically, that’s me replacing broken side window glass. The circle is complete lol.”


Musk released new details about the Tesla Cybertruck via Twitter this week. He confirmed that the new car will pump the HVAC to the truck bed while the tonneau cover is closed, which is ideal for camping. The rear will “probably” be accessible from the second row. Musk also confirmed the Cybertruck would “partially” offer the Bioweapon Defense System seen on the Model S and X, absent from the Model 3 due to space constraints. Cybertruck production is set to start in 2021.

Could Tesla’s Berlin Gigafactory produce an impressive number of cars per year? Germany’s Bild reports that the fourth factory could make up to 500,000 cars per year. That’s similar to the planned output for the Shanghai Gigafactory. For comparison, Tesla has produced around 800,000 cars in its entire existence. Model 3 and Model Y production are expected to start in Berlin in 2021.

The United States Congress is considering big changes to the EV tax credit rules. Under proposed guidelines, automakers that sold more than 200,000 EVs in the US would see their customers’ federal tax credits drop from $7,500 per buyer to $7,000. A new threshold at the 600,000 mark would phase out the remainder over one year. The proposal could prove critical as Tesla gears up to release the Cybertruck and Model Y.

Tesla solar

Musk’s idea to cover a patch of the United States in solar has sparked a conversation. According to analysis by PV Magazine, the country could meet 108 percent of its electricity demand through a combination of rooftop, window, and floating solar panels. Alternatively, the country could meet the goal solely by relying on parking lot covers.

Tesla plans to deploy a big battery in Alaska. The Battery Energy Storage Systems, installed at the Soldotna Generation Plant, will be able to store 93 megawatt-hours of power. The Homer Electric Association claims the project, when it goes live in 2021, will enable the association to use more renewable energy. Tesla previously completed a 129-megawatt-hour battery in South Australia, which ranked at the time as the world’s largest lithium-ion battery.

What’s next for Tesla: Tesla is expected to host a Battery Investor Day on an undisclosed date. After the Cybertruck launch, Musk stated that the company wouldn’t be unveiling any new products for a while, so this could be one of the biggest reveals in an otherwise quiet 2020.

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Musk Reads mailroom

Paul Grund writes:

*Lots of drivers leave their trucks outside overnight. In New England where I live, a truck left outside at night between November and April is often coated with ice in the morning. I foresee trouble opening and closing the Tesla bed cover under these circumstances, because ice will freeze in the cover rails and in the slot through which the cover passes.

What an annoyance it would be to have to put a tarp over the cover and antifreeze the rails every night!

Maybe Tesla will rigorously test the cover under these conditions and devise a fix, but the shattered windows at the reveal leave doubt about Tesla testing thoroughness.*

Musk claims that the window shattered because the team hit the body of the vehicle first, disrupting its internal strength. Was he right? Questions like these, and about anti-freezing the rails, may only become clear once the truck launches.

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