Innovation

Musk Reads: Tesla's unexpected product could be 'kickass'

Tesla and the EPA dispute Model S range, and Tesla makes further moves into the clean energy markets. Will Texans take to the Cybertruck?

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Tesla and the EPA dispute Model S range, and Tesla makes further moves into the clean energy markets. Will Texans take to the Cybertruck? It’s Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #166.

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

Musk quote of the week

“Tesla stock price is too high imo”

Tesla

How many miles can the Tesla Model S drive? Musk claimed during the first-quarter 2020 earnings call last week that the vehicle’s 391-mile range is inaccurate and it’s more like 400, but “the EPA left the car door open and the keys in the car” and lost two percent of its range during the test. The EPA told Inverse Friday that the agency “tested the vehicle properly, the door was closed, and we are happy to discuss any technical issues with Tesla.” Musk responded on Monday that the firm has “precise car logs that confirm it happened,” but the dispute is over “just” two percent and the firm will re-submit the car once testing re-opens. Read more.

  • Tesla Autopilot has a Google-like advantage in its pursuit of full autonomy. Read more.
  • Video conferencing inside a Tesla? “Definitely a future feature,” Musk declared this week.
  • BMW has reportedly canceled its “Vision M Next” Tesla Roadster competitor.
  • The Tesla Model 3 ranked as the number one EV in the United Kingdom for the month of April, selling more than the second and third-placed vehicles combined.

Tesla solar

Tesla could make a “kickass” HVAC system, Musk declared during the firm’s earnings call last week. Musk explained how the team could take “all those things we’ve learnt” from the Model S and X’s air filtration system, plus the Model Y’s heat pump, to make a system that could also act as a water source. Read more.

Tesla is taking steps toward becoming an electricity service provider. The company has applied for permission in the United Kingdom to start delivering electricity to houses, while its Autobidder software is aiding facilities in Hornsdale and Vermont. The moves come after Musk declared in October 2019 that the end goal was “effectively to become a giant distributor global utility.” Read more.

What’s next for Tesla: Tesla is expected to host its battery day on an as yet undetermined date. Electrek reported this week that Tesla is reducing the cobalt and improving the energy density in its batteries. Read more.

In other Musk news…

Musk’s partner of two years, Grimes, has given birth to their first child named “X Æ A–12 Musk.” The name includes a reference to the Lockheed A–12 OXCART, a supersonic spy plane built for the CIA. Singer Grimes described it on her Twitter as the couple’s favorite aircraft: “No weapons, no defenses, just speed. Great in battle, but non-violent.” Read more.

Musk Reads mailroom

Joseph Meehan writes:

As a naturalized Texan, I am predicting that the modern looking pickup will get a cool reception in Texas. This seems incongruous considering the several SpaceX facilities Elon has already developed. My prediction is based on a cultural reality. Millions of “GOOD OL’ BOUYS” and girls love their old truck. They will have to be replaced, but they still are emotionally attached to this iconic identity. From what I see on performance, he could easily buy frames from other manufacturers, and retrofit electric in a very short period. Retooling would be of small consequence. Texans are a stubborn breed. Case in point: the resistant group of Boca Chica residents who don’t want to sell.

It will be interesting to see whether traditional pickup truck fans take to the Cybertruck, as fans voiced concerns to Inverse ahead of its unveiling. Kyle Kootstra, a farmer from Bakersfield, California, told Inverse that “the blue collar and agriculture market will be very skeptical of this pickup.” However, since the November 2019 unveiling, analysts like Loup Ventures have reconsidered their position after picking up on a warm reception from consumers. Will this translate into a warm reception among traditional fans or expand the market to less traditional buyers? Time will tell.

Ernie Wise writes:

On the sterilization of autonomous cars, why not just use a burst of UV light like hospitals? Use a minute when empty, all done, that simple.

Following up from the question posed in Musk Reads #164, autonomous car operators will need some sort of cleaning routine in times of coronavirus outbreaks. Unfortunately, a 2018 study from Health Quality Ontario found they were “unable to make a firm conclusion about the effectiveness of this technology” in terms of hospital-acquired infections, and the most surefire way of protecting against outbreaks may be a manned cleaning routine. On this front, Forbes reported in April that Waymo is adding more sanitizing products to its still-operational Phoenix taxi service, along with boosted cleaning routines.

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

Video of the week

The Limiting Factor explains Tesla’s battery advancements.

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 #166, 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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