Innovation

Musk Reads: Tesla Model 3 range gets a big boost

Tesla Model Y deliveries draw closer and the Cybertruck appeals to police. When is a 600-mile Model S arriving?

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Tesla Model Y deliveries draw closer and the Cybertruck appeals to police. When is a 600-mile Model S arriving? It’s Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #146.

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

Musk quote of the week

“Getting there was super hard. Very proud of Tesla team!”

  • Read more about Musk’s support for the Tesla team. The Tesla Model 3 reached 350 miles of range during Consumer Reports testing despite the EPA only reporting a 310-mile range.

Tesla

The Tesla Cybertruck could sport a tweaked design, Musk revealed this week. The CEO claimed the body width would come in closer to 82 inches and come standard with upper laser blade lights. Musk also claimed the vehicle, due for launch in late 2021, will offer “real-time changes to max acceleration, braking, cornering, speed on gradient & range, latter factoring in route elevation changes & cargo or tow mass & drag impact.” Read more.

The Tesla Supercharger network spans the globe today, but it was tough getting there. Inverse spoke with Doug Alfaro, a former Tesla regional manager who helped build the original network. He explained that there was so much skepticism, some locations “would just hang up the phone” as soon as they heard “electric car.” Alfaro also explained how the network made the business case for electric cars in general, leading to the rise of competitors like Ionity and Electrify America who had an easier time selling to investors. Read more.

What’s next for Tesla: Tesla is expected to start shipping the Model Y compact SUV. Fans on Reddit have started receiving emails claiming their vehicle will arrive soon. An engineer told InsideEVs this week that he expects the cast parts to be larger than expected.

Tesla solar

Panasonic plans to stop building solar cells at Tesla’s Buffalo factory, the company announced Wednesday, a process that will conclude by September. Nikkei reports that Panasonic struggled to meet Tesla’s aims for a Solar Roof that looks like a regular roof, and its third-generation tiles use China-made cells. The company claims the announcement will not change its work with Tesla at the Nevada factory.

What happened to using solar in Tesla Superchargers? Although Tesla originally announced its chargers would use solar when they were first unveiled in 2012, it wasn’t until 2019 with the third-generation chargers that the idea really took form. Doug Alfaro, a former Tesla Supercharger regional manager, explained to Inverse that Tesla needed to make a tradeoff between speed, timing, and cost that pushed solar to the back burner in the network’s early days. Read more.

The Tesla Solar Roof on display.Bloomberg/Bloomberg/Getty Images

In other Musk news…

  • Cops could be the most loyal customers for the Cybertruck. Read more.
  • Toy maker Mattel is set to start selling two toy versions of the Cybertruck, one a remote-controlled car and the other a Hot Wheels-style racer. Read more.
  • The Cybertruck faced off against the Tesla Roadster in a fan render. Read more.
  • Tesla is leading a movement away from a scarce resource found in electric car batteries: cobalt. Read more.
  • Electrek reports Tesla is exploring a 110-kilowatt battery pack, which would make it its largest ever.
  • The Boring Company has switched on its first custom-built tunnel-digging machine, “Prufrock.” Read more.

Musk Reads mailroom

Bob Prefontaine writes:

When will the S model Tesla have a battery good for 600 miles? […] If I get a Tesla now–the S Model– and they upgrade the battery to a 600 will there be an automatic upgrade available?

It is not guaranteed at all. Previous range boosts have come from software updates improving efficiency or unlocking previously unused battery parts in lower-end models. Also, a 600-mile Model S likely won’t launch for a while, as Tesla is only just approaching 400 miles and the high-end Roadster is set to reach over 600 miles by using a giant 200 kilowatt-hour battery. Your best bet, without forking out the $200,000 for a Roadster, may be the $69,900 Cybertruck, set to offer over 500 miles when it hits roads next year.

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

Photo of the week

Tesla Model Y spotted on the Fremont test track ahead of launch.

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 #146, 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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