Innovation

Musk Reads: Tesla Cybertruck updates coming

Cybertruck tweaks on the way and Tesla announces plans for another big battery in Australia. What about Giga Kentucky?

Cybertruck tweaks on the way and Tesla announces plans for another big battery in Australia. What about Giga Kentucky? It’s Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #216.

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

Musk quote of the week

“Closest we got [to bankruptcy during Model 3 production] was about a month. The Model 3 ramp was extreme stress & pain for a long time — from mid 2017 to mid 2019. Production & logistics hell.”

Tesla

Tesla may unveil a revised version of the Cybertruck “in a month or so,” Musk revealed this week. The all-electric truck was first revealed in November 2019, and it’s set to hit roads late 2021. Musk teased changes to the Cybertruck during the third-quarter 2020 earnings call, declaring that there are “a lot of small improvements compared to what was unveiled.” Musk later claimed via Twitter that the new design is “better.” He also revealed that, if Tesla can get it approved, he’s not against bringing the full-size Cybertruck to Europe. Read more.

Tesla solar

Tesla is planning to build one of the world’s biggest lithium-ion batteries in Australia – again. The Financial Times reports that the Victorian Big Battery, installed in partnership with Neoen, will offer 300 megawatts and 450 megawatt-hours of storage. The battery could be used to power half a million homes for one hour. The project, expected to go live by the end of 2021, will use the Megapack grid storage product. The Victorian Big Battery is expected to eclipse the 100-megawatt Hornsdale battery that made headlines when it was finished at the end of 2017.

What’s next for Tesla: Musk is planning to hold in-person interviews for “ace engineers” on Friday, November 6 for Giga Berlin. Musk put out the call for applicants the day before, inviting fans to send their resume to 25Guns@Tesla.com. Reuters confirmed that Musk has traveled to Germany.

In other Tesla news…

  • Canada and Norway will be the next countries to receive the full self-driving beta.
  • Research from the Center for Automotive Research found that if Tesla Autopilot was installed on every car in Germany it would prevent 90 percent of road accidents.
  • Honda has joined Fiat Chrysler and pooled its fleet with Tesla. The move is intended to help reduce the combined group’s average carbon dioxide emissions and avoid fines from the European Commission.
  • Pride Group Enterprises has announced a reservation for 150 Semi trucks with the option to purchase 500 more. Electrek suggests it could be the biggest order yet.

Musk Reads mailroom

Kenny Westerman writes:

Would Elon ever consider opening a solar plant in Eastern Kentucky? I think it would be a great move. The state could train out of work coal miners for the jobs. These workers are very loyal to their employers & it would help the solar industry get a foothold in “coal country.” Thanks.

Funnily enough, it seems like Musk may have considered something. In February 2017, in response to a question about whether to build a factory in West Virginia, Musk suggested a factory on “a tristate border” may work, which Electrek suggested could mean between West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. There’s also the border with Virginia that would fit the criteria. In March 2020, Louisville Business First asked whether Louisville could host the Cybertruck factory that ultimately went to Austin.

Mike Clinton writes:

I signed up for the low-end Cybertruck at $39,000. What do the battery and driving announcements mean for my truck?

It’s not clear at this stage, but it might not change much.

What we know is that Tesla plans to produce the Cybertruck at its under-construction Austin facility. The Austin Business Journal also reported last month, based on documents filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, that Tesla plans to build a cell manufacturing facility at Giga Texas. Musk also stated prior to Battery Day that it “affects long-term production, especially Semi, Cybertruck & Roadster.”

So while the battery looks set for the Cybertruck, it’s not clear how, if at all, the announcements change what we already know about the truck. Tesla kept the battery range vague for the Cybertruck when it unveiled the car in November 2019, so the entry-level model is listed as offering more than 250 miles. But rumors were swirling that Tesla would start building its own batteries months before the unveiling, which suggests the company was laying the groundwork before the truck was announced. For all we know, the Cybertruck may have already been unveiled with the Battery Day improvements in mind.

Got any comments or queries? Don’t forget to send them over to muskreads@inverse.com.

Photo of the week

Kenn and Barb Stinchfield sent in this week’s image of their Tesla-themed tent trailer camper. Thanks for the submission!

Tesla trailer in action.

Got a photo or video you’d like to see featured? Send it over to muskreads@inverse.com!

The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #216, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.

  • Email me directly at mike.brown@inverse.com and follow me on Twitter @mikearildbrown.
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  • Got any comments or queries? Don’t forget to send them over to muskreads@inverse.com.

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

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