Musk Reads: How Tesla could soon beat gas cars on price

Tesla’s mystery battery emerges and The Boring Company hits a key milestone. Where’s the Semi truck?

Electric Car Close-up 3D Rendering

Tesla’s mystery battery emerges and The Boring Company hits a key milestone. Where’s the Semi truck? It’s Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #170.

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

Musk quote of the week

“People have forgotten how much in-person events matter! Also, there’s a lot to see. It’s not just a presentation.”


Tesla’s mystery battery project may be set to bring a killer bow to the gas-powered car. A report last week explained how the firm is developing a battery that would offer high energy density, high production speed, long lifespans, low prices, and low cobalt usage. The battery, jointly developed with China-based Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited, could help Tesla reach “terawatt-hour” levels of production that Musk previously suggested would be necessary to “move the needle” on transitioning to sustainable energy. The project could even utilize Jeff Dahn’s research into a million-mile battery. Where researchers claim a battery would need to offer prices below $100 per kilowatt-hour to compete with gas cars, Tesla’s project is expected to reach as low as $80 at the pack level. Read more.

Keep your eyes peeled for Tesla’s full self-driving option to rise in price by $1,000 on July 1. Musk claimed this week that the price will increase as the team approaches offering a full self-driving suite with regulatory approval. After that stage, Musk claimed, the value would be “probably somewhere in excess of $100,000.” Research in April 2019 from ARK Invest claimed a robo-taxi service powered by Tesla’s autonomy could earn owners around $10,000 per year.

Will Tesla’s next factory come to Austin, Texas? Electrek reports it’s on the agenda, and it could happen fast.

Tesla solar

Panasonic is reopening its operations at Giga New York, The Verge reported. The factory, which produces solar products including the Tesla Solar Roof, has been closed for two months. Full production is expected to restart Friday. While Panasonic announced in February that it’s ending its operations in New York as Tesla moves to a Chinese supplier for its solar panels, it’s fulfilling some leftover overseas orders before shutting down.

What’s next for Tesla: The season premiere of Jay Leno’s Garage is set for 10 p.m. Eastern time on May 20 on CNBC. The new season is set to feature Musk and Leno trying out the upcoming Tesla Cybertruck.

In other Musk news…

The Boring Company reached a key milestone last week as it completed tunneling for its first public tunnel. The Las Vegas connection will ferry passengers across the Las Vegas Convention Center using Tesla vehicles that move across a tunnel measuring a mile in just under two minutes. The project is expected to be finished in time for next year’s Consumer Electronics Show. Read more.

The firm has big plans for the future after construction is completed. Future plans include an expansion to serve more of the Las Vegas area, including a link to the nearby airport. Read more.

Want to understand Musk’s Twitter presence better? Here’s three fights that help explain Elon Musk. Read more.

Musk Reads mailroom

Al Sames writes:

Information on the other truck he plans to build?

The Semi truck was unveiled in November 2017 and was expected to launch in 2019, but this may have since changed. During the company’s January 2020 earnings call, Musk explained that the giant Semi truck would require a huge amount of batteries, and its efforts were currently focused on the Model 3 and Model Y. One for Battery Day, perhaps?

Richard Swoy writes:

Cool your jets. You need California and California needs you. Just get over your self!

For those who would prefer to see Tesla stay in California, governor Gavin Newsom told CNBC Tuesday that he’s “not worried about Elon leaving anytime soon,” adding that he’s “had a lot of conversations with him, and we’re committed to the success and the innovation and the low-carbon, green growth economy.” But with rumored plans to open a Gigafactory in Texas, Tesla may seek to spread its production out further than it has done before.

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Photo of the week

Model 3 goes for a spin in the desert.

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The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #170, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.

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

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