Musk Reads

Tesla's Q3 production numbers will shock you (and other automakers)

Tesla finally delivers, SpaceX departs the ISS, Elon Musk sends Bezos his condolences.

Fremont California, USA - September 24, 2021:  The Tesla automobile manufacturing plant in Fremont C...
JasonDoiy/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images

Tesla finally delivers ... SpaceX leaves the ISS ... Elon Musk sends Bezos his condolences. It’s the free edition of Musk Reads #268subscribe now to receive two more emails later this week.

Last week, Musk Reads+ subscribers got a taste of Mars. This week, subscribers will hear from Xiaofan Zhang, who has developed a solar car for his next project: Tunnel transit!

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Musk quote of the week:

“Tesla sales will soon exceed [the] mass of the universe.” — Elon Musk tweeted on September 27, inspired by a popular tweet about the exponentiality of paper folding. Musk was joking, but we’ll let you know if anyone succeeds in exponentially folding their Model 3 receipt.

Tesla defies the odds on delivery day

Despite a seemingly unending semiconductor chip shortage and a well-documented tendency for being late, Tesla has managed to surpass expectations for Q3 production with a total of 237,823 cars produced and 241,300 delivered. This is especially impressive considering that Tesla’s Q2 2021 production and delivery numbers were 206,421 and 201,250, respectively, and that the chip shortage has put significant strain on car production and sales globally.

So how did Tesla manage to avoid what’s crushing the rest of the car industry? According to Barron’s, it might have to do with the company’s simplified supply chain.

“Chinese-based production seems to have helped Tesla,” Barron’s observes, also mentioning that the chip shortage has released its grip on China this September, “But the chip shortage seems to be hitting different automakers at different times as chip-makers struggle to fill orders. Timing is the final potential reason [for Tesla’s success].

Regardless of why Tesla managed to dunk on expectations, Musk took to Twitter to celebrate his Tesla team, writing a special thanks to Tesla’s “suppliers and logistics partners for coming through despite great difficulties.”

Elon Musk praises Tesla’s manufacturing.


SpaceX: A simple trip back from the Space Station

SpaceX successfully completed its 23rd cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station the morning of September 30, proudly sharing a photo of placid Florida waters after Cargo Dragon made an easy splash down on October 1.

Cargo Dragon’s nighttime landing.


The Dragon capsule contained a few science goodies from its month-ish long stay at the ISS, including biomedical and microgravity experiments that NASA retrieved after a helicopter dropped them off.

The descending Crew Dragon capsule also created a sonic boom so powerful that some Floridians reported their houses shook. Although space ephemera and SpaceX have both caused sonic booms before, in light of the amateur Inspiration4 flight (and the amateur crew members who recently received their astronaut wings), the event is indicative of how daily living environments could change as spaceflight becomes more common.

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More stories from Musk’s world...

A ranked list of everything Musk-related and online, handpicked weekly with bionic precision.

10. In an email, Elon Musk told Forbes he was sending Jeff Bezos “a giant statue of the digit ‘2’ [...], along with a silver medal” as consolation for once again swapping places as the world’s second-richest person. He's humble!

9. On Saturday Night Live, Jeff Bezos is Owen Wilson. Or is it the other way around?

8. A group of police officers is seeking $20 million in damages following a Tesla Autopilot crash involving an inebriated driver and faulty software. The lawsuit names both Tesla and the Texas-based Mexican restaurant that “over-served” alcohol to the driver. Abolish margaritas?

7. YouTuber Shelby Church tried Tesla’s subscription Full Self-Driving service for a month with the goal of determining if it’s “worth it.” The verdict? Not yet.

6. The French Canadian artist Munya is releasing an album called Voyage to Mars, inspired by her love of SpaceX. Listen to tracks like “Boca Chica” now.

5. Musk’s semi-separated partner, Canadian musician Grimes, has successfully “trolled” tabloids following her split with the world’s meme-eist billionaire, staging photographs of her poring over The Communist Manifesto in famously Marxist Los Angeles. In the Instagram caption she wrote to accompany the photos, Grimes mentions being “personally [...] more interested” in a Universal Basic Income that could be achieved through “gaming, but I haven’t ironed that idea out enough yet to explain it.” Hm, yeah, maybe keep working on that one.

4. Inspired by the public’s increasing interest in space travel, a team of researchers have developed a calculator for various “parameters in theoretical interstellar space travel,” like how long it would take to travel to the nearest galaxy. A very long time!

3. Elon Musk’s brother, Kimbal, has laid off a significant portion of his workforce for trying to unionize at his gardening nonprofit, Big Green. Former employees aren’t surprised.

2. Not one to be left out, Elon Musk criticized President Joe Biden for being “controlled by unions.” Seize the means of production.

1. A piece of Musk history: It’s about time we recognize Musk’s 420-friendly relationship with The Joe Rogan Experience over the years, but let’s ignore the stoner stuff and focus on the wellness facts Musk illuminated during his last Joe Rogan appearance in 2020. That’s what this CNBC article from May 9, 2020 attempts to do, compiling Musk’s remarks about how he “wouldn’t exercise at all if [he] could” and comparing them to previous comments about how if he could stop eating in order to work more, he “would not eat.” Watch out, Gwyneth Paltrow.

The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads #268, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Ashley Bardhan, assistant to Musk Reads.

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