Musk Reads: Tesla Roadster rocket add-ons

Tesla's Fremont plant is at the center of a dispute and Tesla Solar Roof looks set to move out faster. Plus, why the Model Y could be Tesla's best electric car.

Tesla’s Fremont plant is at the center of a dispute and Tesla Solar Roof looks set to move out faster. Plus, why the Model Y could be Tesla’s best electric car. It’s Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #168.

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

Musk quote of the week

“Way more important than it sounds.”


Alameda County may have diffused its showdown with Musk over coronavirus closures. The county, home to the Fremont factory, loosened some of its coronavirus restrictions on May 4. Officials from the county told the New York Times that Tesla had been working with the county to reopen the factory on May 18. Over the weekend, Tesla filed a lawsuit against the county regarding its health orders, which are stricter than statewide orders. On May 11, Musk declared via Twitter that he would be “restarting production today against Alameda County rules,” adding that “if anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.” Musk also declared that “Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately.” The county acknowledged that day that Tesla had opened beyond the allowed minimum basic operations. The following day, the county announced it had received a Covid–19 prevention plan from Tesla, also stating they had agreed the firm could start preparing to possibly reopen as early as next week. It’s unclear what, if any, action will be taken against Tesla for opening this week.

The Tesla Roadster will “take some things from rocket world,” but it’ll take a while to hit roads. During an appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience last week, the Tesla CEO explained how the team was planning to “do some things that are kind of unfair” to reach high performance. That’s likely to include the previously announced “SpaceX options package,” which adds a series of small rocket thrusters around the car to “dramatically improve acceleration, top speed, braking & cornering,” and perhaps “even allow a Tesla to fly.” Unfortunately, during the same appearance, Musk also suggested the car wouldn’t launch until after the Cybertruck in late 2021. Read more.

Tesla solar

Tesla has a plan to reach 1,000 homes per week with its third-generation Solar Roof. During the company’s earnings call, Musk outlined plans to increase the size of its install teams and reach 1,000 installations per week. This follows an increase in manufacturing speed at the company’s New York facility. The solar-storing tiles have made waves with their ability to harvest solar energy while looking like standard tiles. Read more.

In other Tesla news…

  • Musk has a three-step plan to roll out fully autonomous robo-taxi rides. Read more.
  • Is Mars the Elon Musk of planets? Read more.
  • The Tesla Model Y is set to receive some design tweaks. Read more.
  • Lucid Motors has released a video showing its fleet of Lucid Air beta prototypes lined up. The 40 electric cars are waiting to continue testing.
  • Looking for a fun and short Tesla game? UK-based Select Car Leasing has released a game to test whether your reactions are faster than Tesla’s automatic braking system.

What’s next for Tesla: Tesla may host its Battery Day company event this month, Musk suggested via Twitter in April. The event could reveal some of Tesla’s biggest advancements in battery technology.

Musk Reads mailroom

Frank Hochman writes:

Hey Elon. You move from California/Fremont and I will sell my Tesla [Model] 3 and advocate the same for all other Tesla owners in California. If you can’t support us, we can’t support you. It’s that simple.

Yours is not the only email we received this week annoyed at Musk’s actions. His latest moves have also received a mixed response on the Tesla subreddit. It’s unclear how much of Tesla’s operations Musk would like to move out of California.

Eric Miller writes:

I read “Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #166” and noted the quote of “naturalized Texan,” Joseph Meehan, and his idea that the “love [for] their old truck” will lead to a cool reception of the Cybertruck among “good ol’ bouys and girls.” I think he’s wrong. There will be, no doubt, a cool reception from average, non-commercial truck buyers, but it will not be wholly due to brand identity and fear of a new and radical look. It will be a complicated mix of the cyber truck being on the vanguard of plug-in electric vehicles in the light truck market segment, range anxiety associated with towing, inconvenience of a bed that is inaccessible from the side (don’t underestimate this issue - loading firewood and similar loads in that thing will be a PITA) and conviction based resistance (some will consider it a veritable sin to drive a vehicle marketed as an answer to a global warming problem many truck buyers believe is a hoax).

These are some of the issues truck fans indeed highlighted in previous comments to Inverse, particularly about battery range and towing capacity. The tri-motor edition can run for over 500 miles on a single charge, but is it much good if the figure plummets when towing something?

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Video of the week

Sandy Munro declares the Model Y as the best EV Tesla makes.

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The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #168, 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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