SpaceX hits a milestone and Tesla Semi makes an appearance. Full self-driving soon? It’s the free edition of Musk Reads #224 — subscribe now to receive two more editions later this week!
A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.
Musk quote of the week
“Listen, we're all gonna die someday. So if you're gonna die someday, I'm like, okay, do I want to be buried on Mars or Earth? I'm like, Mars sounds cool! Born on Earth, die on Mars.”
- Read more about Musk’s plans to die on Mars.
Tesla is rolling out its in-house batteries that offer better range and lower costs. When will they reach the company’s vehicles? The host of battery-focused YouTube channel “The Limiting Factor” explains to Musk Reads+ that it all depends on which car you want.
We dive further to reveal what fans need to know about Battery Day, how it’s going to change your next electric car, and what it could mean for all-new future vehicles. Don’t miss Jordan Giesige in Wednesday’s subscriber-only Musk Reads+.
Musk is “extremely confident” that Tesla can achieve full autonomy and release it to consumers next year, he said in an interview last week. Speaking at an Axel Springer award ceremony in Berlin, Musk also said he thinks “at least some jurisdictions” will give the thumbs-up to full self-driving next year. As for the wider industry, Musk suggested all new cars would be autonomous in 2030. It will take much longer for all cars to go autonomous, as Musk noted that it would take around 20 years longer for most cars to be replaced. That means the bulk of cars could be autonomous by 2050.
How’s that goal looking? CleanTechnica reviewed a series of beta videos this week and found the ongoing project has mixed results. While it does well with tricky maneuvers like divided highways and moving past cyclists, there’s clearly still work to go. Passing pedestrians seems shaky, and it drives past parked cars in a rather strange way. As the firm continues to roll out updates, expect more fan videos demonstrating its performance.
It could be a good time to jump to full self-driving. Electrek found last week that Tesla quietly reduced the price of the software package by $1,000 for car owners who already have Enhanced Autopilot. That brings the price down to $5,000.
Liftoff! SpaceX successfully launched the 21st Commercial Resupply Services mission Sunday at 11:17 a.m. Eastern. The mission, which lifted off from Launch Complex 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, was SpaceX’s 100th successful Falcon 9 mission. (Failed missions in 2015 and 2016 mean it’s the 102nd Falcon 9 mission overall.) The firm captured the launch with an impressive helicopter tracking system. Read more.
SpaceX’s Starship is going to the Moon, and a new fan render has caught the attention of Musk. Sweden-based designer Erik Corshammar shared an impressive rendering of how the ship could look when it lands. Musk noted Corshammer omitted the planned landing legs. Read more.
In other Musk news…
- On The Abstract podcast, a look at how carbon capture firm Air Company is looking to create fuel for vehicles like the Starship. Read more.
- Starship’s planned “SN8” hop test could take place this week. The launch would send the stainless steel ship to a height of 15 kilometers.
- A silver Tesla Semi prototype has been spotted in Fremont, California, in a YouTube video shared by Simon Alvarez. The vehicle turns a corner, demonstrating its otherworldly performance.
- Musk has told his friends that he plans to move to Texas, CNBC reports. Musk stated in May 2020 that he planned to move Tesla’s headquarters and future programs to Texas and Nevada “immediately,” following a dispute over re-opening Tesla’s California facilities amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mars is cool, but what about the rest of the Solar System? The CEO of Rocket Lab explains to Musk Reads+ why he’s got “quite a soft spot” for one planet in particular. He also reveals what he thinks of SpaceX and Blue Origin, Rocket Lab’s future focus, and why he wants his firm’s rocket launches to become “boring.” It’s all coming soon in the subscriber-only Musk Reads+.
The ultra-fine print
This has been Musk Reads #224, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.
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