Innovation

Musk Reads: Tesla's stock price soars

Tesla short shorts debut and The Boring Company is set to hold a competition. What about solar paint?

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Tesla short shorts debut and The Boring Company is set to hold a competition. What about solar paint? It’s Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #184.

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

Musk quote of the week

“Long-term purpose of my Tesla stock is to help make life multiplanetary to ensure it’s continuance. The massive capital needs are in 10 to 20 years. By then, if we’re fortunate, Tesla’s goal of accelerating sustainable energy & autonomy will be mostly accomplished.”

Tesla

Tesla’s stock price “seems unstoppable,” CNBC declared Wednesday, as its staggering $258 billion market cap made it larger than 97 percent of the S&P 500. The stock price has risen 223 percent since March. The company’s meteoric rise has made it the world’s most valuable automaker at the time of writing.

Last week, the company shared its quarterly production rates. The firm produced 82,272 cars and delivered 90,650 cars. Of those, Model 3 and Model Y accounted for 75,946 produced and 80,050 delivered. The quarter covered a period where Tesla had shut down its Fremont facility.

Amid this news, Musk released a new pair of Tesla “short shorts.” The shorts, priced at $69.420, are an elaborate reference to the short sellers that bet against Tesla’s stock price. Those looking to “entertain like Liberace,” as the website suggests, will be out of luck — the shorts are currently out of stock. Read more.

What’s next for Tesla: Tesla is expected to host its planned Battery Day soon. Comments from Musk this week suggested the event could take place on September 15 alongside the shareholder meeting. Visitors should receive a tour of the cell production system. The event is expected to be one of the most important in the firm’s history. Read more.

In other Musk news…

The Boring Company is set to run a Tesla remote control car down a tunnel. The Not-a-Boring Competition, announced Wednesday, invites teams to compete to construct a 30-meter (98 feet) tunnel with a cross-sectional area of 0.2 square meters (2.15 square feet). The event will be held in Spring 2021.

Tesla is set to use its German manufacturing facility, Tesla Grohmann Automation, to help CureVac develop “RNA microfactories.” This would help firms produce Covid–19 vaccines in the millions. An mRNA-based vaccine is the current focus for researchers, which would use non-living genetic material rather than live viruses. Read more.

Musk Reads mailroom

Peter Mackichan writes:

Has any research ever been done on using paint as solar panels? Where the whole painted surface would act as a solar panel. This would of course greatly increase the available surface area on cars and trucks but could also be used on planes, ships, trains, buildings parking lots and highways. It could be a world where every surface on the planet could be generating power.

Researchers have been exploring solar paint. The selling point tends to focus on its potential low price and ease of use. A team at the University of Kansas explored organic semiconductors dissolved down. Because a solar panel is two electrode layers and a semiconducting layer, it would be a case of layering up paint and wiring up to harvest the energy. Wai-Lun Chan, one of the researchers, told Inverse in October 2019 that solar paint “could really drive the cost down” as it skips the expensive manufacturing process, making it one to watch for the future.

John Monin writes

I contend that in order to make the long range ability of electric cars more feasible that flatter batteries which could be loaded quickly from the bottom of a car would allow for a quick exchange while on the road. I.e. large batteries which are connected in series to produce the output of several. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to drop a battery on a palate jack, pull it out, and put a new or recharged one in for an exchange fee during long trips.

Swappable batteries would seem to make it faster to get back on the road, but it does have some issues. The first is that drivers would be swapping out their new battery for a potentially very old cell. The second is, with the third-generation Superchargers, recharge times can already reach as fast as 1,000 miles of range per hour of charge. Tesla experimented with battery swaps in 2013, boasting swap times of 90 seconds, but two years later the firm concluded that customers were more interested in faster recharging. Much like smartphones and laptops, it seems the trend in electric cars is moving away from swapping batteries.

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

Photo of the week

A Tesla Model Y has been spotted charging next to the upcoming Ford Mustang Mach-E, as spotted by Electrek.

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 #184, 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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