Musk Reads: Tesla fans react to full self-driving beta

Full self-driving beta hits the road and Tesla steps further into the energy market. How green is the electric car?

A man reads news online in a smartphone while his car is driven by an autopilot. Self driving vehicl...

Full self-driving beta hits the road and Tesla steps further into the energy market. How green is the electric car? It’s Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #214.

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

Musk quote of the week

“Sigh…there should be a new supersonic jet, this time electric.”


Tesla fans have been getting to grips with the full self-driving beta, and they’re coming away impressed. The update has rolled out to select cars in the United States, and the update notes explain that the car will “make lane changes off highway, select forks to follow your navigation route, navigate around other vehicles and objects, and make left and right turns.” Drivers are still expected to maintain attention on the road. Read more.

Here’s what people think so far: * YouTuber “Tesla Raj” shared a hands-on video hours after the release. * Twitter user “brandonee916” sent the beta to a roundabout and said he didn’t have to interact until the end. * Twitter user “DriveTeslaca was impressed by its ability to pull away from traffic lights. * Twitter user ”kimpaquette“ noted the mirrors fold in automatically on narrow one-way streets with parked cars. * YouTuber James Locke recorded a 40-minute video of the car driving from Santa Clarita to Pasadena in California. While it had ”lots of various situations“ and ”a few interventions,“ Locke found it to be ”overall very impressive."

In short, it’s not quite ready for prime time – but Tesla appears to be onto something special here. Musk explained in last week’s earnings call that the software will enable owners to share their car with friends and family as well as add it to the self-driving taxi network. Read more.

What’s next for Tesla: Tesla will increase the price of full self-driving in the United States by around $2,000 on Thursday, October 29. The new price is expected to be $10,000. Other countries will receive the price increase one week after the full self-driving beta launches in that country.

Tesla solar

Tesla stepped further into the energy market this week as it announced the Tesla Energy Plan for UK customers. The tariff, offered in conjunction with Octopus Energy, invites customers to also form part of “Tesla’s first UK Virtual Power Plant.” These “virtual power plants” link up multiple home batteries to form a giant installation. The announcement followed news in May that Tesla had applied for a license to generate electricity in the country.

Transgrid is set to bring the Tesla Megapack grid-scale energy storage system to western Sydney, Renew Economy reports. The 50 megawatt and 75 megawatt-hour Wallgrove battery will be Australia’s second largest behind the famous 194 megawatt-hour Hornsdale project. Projects like these help store renewable energy like wind and solar for daily 24-hour use.

Musk Reads mailroom

Ken Mason writes:

A question that is never asked about batteries and electric cars. While electric cars are zero emission how about the emissions from the power plants that energize the grid that charges the electric cars? Just kicking the can on emissions as the majority of power generation is from carbon burning power plants.

Good question! Tesla’s 2019 impact report went into this issue. The company noted that charging gets less carbon intensive every year as the grid moves toward greener sources. The document also claims that even in a state like Michigan, where around 64 percent of electricity comes from gas and coal, emissions equate roughly to 55 real-world miles per gallon car. A Model 3 charged in New York State, meanwhile, equates to a traditional car with 144 miles per gallon – a car that doesn’t exist.

While there is work that needs to be done to reduce emissions from the grid, a key benefit of electric cars is electricity comes from a multitude of sources. With a gas car, you’re stuck with a built-in carbon production system. It’s kicking the can from one perspective, but from another, it’s offering a way forward toward a future net-zero world.

Mark Dochnahl writes:

When can I buy a Model Y with a new battery in range increase with a single motor?

The single-motor Model Y could come any time soon. Musk stated in July that the car would ship in a few months. The company reportedly started trial production in August. Tesla seemingly accidentally listed the car that same month for $48,000. The car wasn’t mentioned in this month’s earnings call. Your best bet, if you want to order a Model Y now, is the $49,990 Long Range model that got a range boost to 325 miles this month. As for Tesla’s new cells, the company is staying somewhat vague about exact rollout details – perhaps to avoid people holding off purchases.

Got any comments or queries? Don’t forget to send them over to

Photo of the week

Old meets new in this photo from reader Ray Blessin, which shows his Tesla charging from a power point at a museum in Midway, British Columbia.

Thanks for the submission, Ray!

Ray's Tesla charging.

Ray Blessin

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 #214, 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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