Musk Reads: Tesla electric van detailed

Tesla Semi production set to start and Model 3 sales soar. Should the Australian government keep its luxury car tax?

Tesla Semi production set to start and Model 3 sales soar. Should the Australian government keep its luxury car tax? It’s Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #176.

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

Musk quote of the week

“Autopilot prime directive is: don’t crash. What seems fast to humans is slow to a computer. 360 degree low light vision & sonar, plus forward radar enable to be superhuman. Upcoming software upgrades will increasingly show the potential.”


Tesla is working with The Boring Company to develop an electric van, The Mercury News reported. The van is expected to hold 12 people plus luggage, a marked improvement on the seven-seater Tesla Model X that has been used in previous demonstrations by The Boring Company. Tesla has expressed interest in such a vehicle before, and the firm’s talks with Mercedes-Benz in February 2019 sparked new rumors about an internal van project. Musk said during the January earnings call that the firm would “probably” do a high-capacity people vehicle, but the main issue was producing enough batteries.

The project is part of a plan to build an Ontario Airport Loop, a 2.8-mile long tunnel located 35 feet underground, providing a connection to the airport. The San Bernardino County Transportation Authority’s Board of Directors voted unanimously in favor of the proposal. It’s expected to take three to four years to complete. Before that, Tesla is expected to supply vehicles for its Las Vegas project, which should debut early next year, making it The Boring Company’s first public project.

Tesla is also expected to soon unveil a battery capable of running for 1 million miles over its lifespan. In its 2019 impact report, the firm explained that such a battery could reduce emissions associated with an electric vehicle even further, as it would reduce the need to produce batteries. The technology could also support grid-scale storage. Read more.

What’s next for Tesla: Tesla is expected to host its planned Battery Day some time in the near future. Comments from Musk suggest a livestream could take place in June.

In other Tesla news…

  • The Tesla Model 3 is the best-selling vehicle in the United Kingdom for the second month in a row, Electrek reports.
  • Tesla is now the world’s most valuable automaker after its share price hit $1,000. Its $185 billion market cap edges it just over Toyota’s valuation.
  • The Tesla Semi truck is now set to enter volume production, Musk said this week in an email seen by Reuters.
  • Musk stands out in the automotive industry for his comments on George Floyd, but Tesla and SpaceX have not issued statements. The industry as a whole had been remarkably silent on the Black Lives Matter movement as of last week. The main exception was statements from Nissan, Toyota, BMW, and Rivian. Read more.

Musk Reads mailroom

Brad Smith writes:

I’d like to see you build a tunnel coast-to-coast with the Hyperloop bringing with it goods and services. From New York (or some other centrally located city) to Los Angeles (or some other centrally located city) linking both our coasts east and west. In so doing opening up markets across our country.

It would be a huge undertaking, but a system like Hyperloop could help countries move to a zero-emissions form of transport. At least a track running across the United States could reach the full 700-mph top speeds. While it seems out of the question for the near future, perhaps a new European Commission could help foster a standard and bring it to life.

Kai Soukka writes

In Australia, our government imposes a luxury car tax. This was to protect local car manufacturing jobs. No car manufacture exists here anymore as all makers departed to overseas. Labour costs and energy costs are just too high.

In example, a new F 150 Ford truck, that is about 40 thousand dollars driveaway off the showroom floor in the USA - here costs in Australian dollars $125 000. One hundred and twenty five thousand dollars.

That seems like good old Gov of Oz don’t want any us common folk drivin’ a proper safe type of vehicle , y’all?

I think they will impose that Tesla trucks will need be made of tinfoil too, even if we who yearn a Tesla truck win a lotto jackpot to afford to buy one in the first place.

It seems Australia’s 33 percent tax is a tough pill to swallow for buyers looking to go green. Campaigners have called on the federal government to scrap the tax for electric vehicles, while others have called on scrapping it altogether with an absence of a local car industry. Norway, which has become a key market for Tesla, developed its electric car market with aggressive tax incentives and benefits for owners. Perhaps Australia could take some inspiration?

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Video of the week

Tesla Solar Roof installation in the American Midwest gets documented.

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The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #176, 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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