Musk Reads: Cheaper Tesla Model Y coming

Cybertruck alternatives suggested and Tesla wipers face legal issues. What about a Tesla boat?

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Cybertruck alternatives suggested and Tesla wipers face legal issues. What about a Tesla boat? It’s Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #192.

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

Musk quote of the week

“There’s no question that our headquarters will remain in California for the short term. Long term, we’ll have to wait and see.”


Tesla looks set to release a rear-wheel-drive version of the Model Y Long Range after Electrek reported the company had started trial production. The release would bring the compact SUV to an even lower price point than the current lowest of $49,990. Musk declared last month that, contrary to previous expectations, Tesla would not release a standard range version as the range would be “unacceptably low.” Read more.

Could the Cybertruck come in different shapes and sizes? While the iconic truck cut an impressive figure during its unveiling in November 2019, Musk suggested this week that the company could switch to offering a more conventional truck if the angular design makes it too much of a niche in the marketplace. Musk also suggested it’s "highly likely the company will offer a smaller truck for markets with smaller roads like Europe. Read more.

What’s next for Tesla: Tesla is expected to host its planned Battery Day soon. Comments from Musk suggested the event could take place on September 15 alongside the shareholder meeting. Visitors should receive a tour of the cell production system. The event is expected to be one of the most important in the firm’s history. Read more.

In other Musk news…

  • During the company’s second quarter earnings call, Musk hinted at a bold vision for the future of electric cars, where drivers are free to focus on productivity and entertainment. Read more.
  • Tesla’s wiper controls are ruled illegal in Germany following a crash.
  • Who said it: Elon Musk or Rick from Rick and Morty? Select Car Leasing has a new quiz to find out more.
  • A special visualization is coming to show other Teslas on the road around you with their correct model, Musk claimed on Twitter.
  • Panasonic aims to boost the energy density in its batteries for Tesla by 20 percent, Reuters reported.

Musk Reads mailroom

Milt Johnson writes:

A company in Idaho had developed a solar material for use as a road surface. Have not heard anything about them recently so probably killed by their competitors.

Solar Roadways’ panels are designed to be walked and driven on. The website boasts they have completed three funding contracts with the US Department of Transport. The firm’s Facebook page also shows progress in successfully simulating 15 years of truck driving in three months. In a 2014 interview with Greentech Media, the Department of Transport’s Eric Weaver explained that he sees it as unlikely that the roads will all be paved with solar, but developments like these can lead to interesting byproducts. The big question, Weaver explained, is whether it’s as safe as asphalt. That could influence whether we hear more about the product in the future.

Terry McCormick writes:

It always enters my mind when I read of electric cars, motorcycles, bikes, scooters, and planes. Where are the battery-powered recreational boats?

The environmental value is obvious. No gasoline tanks or oil additives to leak into the water. Less noise pollution from the offtimes lengthy grinding of a reluctant engine and its subsequent grating roar. Less air pollution, including the smoke clouds from burning oil at the start.

A boat’s hull has ample room for batteries, the weight of which would help stabilize the craft. The deck space would be clean and could be made of solar panels. Gone would be things like massive outboards, nasty trolling motors, and gas tanks. There’d be more room for things like live wells, seating, and recreational gear. The electronics (GPS, remote control, radio, fish finder, etc) could all be integrated.

Since recreational boats are used for only a few hours on any given day (usually sunny), battery-power seems a natural fit.

Sleek, powerful, quiet, fast, and most importantly, clean. Our waterways deserve no less and neither does the pro-electric recreational consumer.

A battery-powered boat seems like a logical step, and we covered some fascinating projects back in Musk Reads #123. You may be interested in the Hinckley Dasher electric yacht that hit shores in November 2017, or the solar vessel created by Jessica Minh Anh and the Race for Water in September 2019. While Tesla’s current master plan is focusing on ground-based transport, perhaps they could take to the seas in the next plan?

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Photo of the week

Reader Carter Brown shared this cool photo of a white Model 3 from above.

Tesla from above.

Carter Brown

Got a photo or video you’d like to see featured? Send it over to!

The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #192, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.

What did you think of today’s stories? Hit reply to this email to let us know. Thanks for reading!

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

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