New Model

Musk Reads: Tesla updates the Model 3

SpaceX prepares for a Super Heavy feat, Tesla delivers a record number of vehicles, and Starlink expands into more countries.

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SpaceX prepares for a Super Heavy feat, Tesla delivers a record number of vehicles, and Starlink expands into more countries. It’s the free edition of Musk Reads #228 — subscribe now to receive two more editions later this week!

Last week, Musk Reads+ subscribers got to read an exclusive interview with Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck. The SpaceX rival has carved out a niche that shows bigger isn’t always better, and Beck has big plans to explore another planet in the Solar System. This week, subscribers will hear from Cosmic Perspective on what it’s really like to witness a rocket launch.

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Musk quote of the week

“So proud of the Tesla team for achieving this major milestone! At the start of Tesla, I thought we had (optimistically) a 10% chance of surviving at all.”

Tesla

Tesla ended 2020 on a spectacular high note, declaring its best year of deliveries yet. On January 2, the company announced it had produced 509,737 vehicles over the past year and delivered 499,550 vehicles. Of those, 54,805 produced were Model S and X, while 454,932 were Model 3 and Y. In the fourth quarter of 2020 alone, Tesla produced 179,757 vehicles and delivered 180,570 vehicles. The feat represents an impressive 36 percent growth year-over-year. It does mean, however, that Tesla missed its delivery goal of 500,000 for 2020 by just 450 cars.

The company also started rolling out tweaked versions of the Model 3 and Model Y last week. Electrek reports the Model 3 now features new wood panelling and a heated steering wheel, while the Model Y offers the same wood panels and a tweaked interior console that matches the Model 3. Upgrades for the latter vehicle first appeared in the Chinese Model Y, which has officially started production.

Looking to the future, a tweaked version of the Tesla Model S was spotted on the streets of Palo Alto last week. The new vehicle features chrome delete, a wider body, and a new rear diffuser. It’s unclear whether this is the planned “Plaid” model due for launch later this year. Read more.

SpaceX

The Super Heavy, the booster set to help the Starship leave Earth on a course for Mars and beyond, is set for a test soon. Last week, Musk revealed that booster could undertake its first hop test in a few months. Unlike the Starship tests, which saw a prototype soar 41,000 feet before exploding on a landing pad, SpaceX may try to catch the Super Heavy with the launch tower arm. Read more

SpaceX has started rolling out its service in the United Kingdom as part of its ongoing beta service, Teslarati reports. The move follows a rollout in the United States and Canada, with users of SpaceX’s satellite internet service being asked to pay £439 for the kit plus £54 shipping. The service itself costs £89 per month. SpaceX is ultimately aiming to deliver the service to almost anywhere in the world.

What’s it really like to see a SpaceX rocket launch? Cosmic Perspective’s Mary-Liz Bender described it to Musk Reads+ as “a transformational feeling.” Find out why she had “tears flowing down” during the Falcon Heavy launch, and why covering launches full time is like being Indiana Jones. Her exhilarating interview is coming this week in the subscriber-only Musk Reads+.

Subscriber spotlight

Welcome to our subscriber spotlight, where we’re giving a shout out to the fantastic Musk Reads+ subscribers around the world that help support our mission.

This week, Peter in Victoria, British Columbia, shares this hilarious photo of his Model 3 “asserting that a domestic turkey loose on the road is really a human trash can centaur.”

Perhaps the car knows something we don’t. Thanks for sharing, Peter!

Peter's Model 3 spotting a bird.Peter

Are you a Musk Reads+ subscriber and want to be featured here? Reply to this email with your first name, city, and your coolest photo of your Tesla/a SpaceX launch/any fun memorabilia. We’ll feature the best ones in a future edition!

The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads #228, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.

Why subscribe to Musk Reads+? You’ll be supporting in-depth, high-quality journalism about the world’s most ambitious change-maker, Elon Musk. Tesla investors, SpaceX critics, and anyone with an interest will find something they love in our offerings. Independent journalism is important now more than ever, and your contributions will help us continue in our mission to deliver interviews and analysis you won’t find anywhere else.

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Musk Reads+ is a fully independent operation. We are not Elon Musk, nor are we employed by him. Our job is to report the events we find newsworthy, giving you the inside look at the worlds of space rockets, electric cars, clean energy, and more. It means firsthand accounts of a SpaceX rocket launch, Tesla insights from third-party analysts, and more. If you want to support us in our mission, and receive exclusive interviews and analysis, consider contributing with a subscription.

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