Elon Musk wants to build an electric roller coaster at Tesla’s campus

March 1, 2017 by  
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Tesla is quickly becoming one of the coolest places to work. After an employee spoke out about working conditions in a Medium post, Elon Musk sent out an email detailing his vision for company fun – including free frozen yogurt stands and an electric pod car roller coaster . Tesla employee Jose Moran penned a post titled Time for Tesla to Listen earlier this month, calling out the electric car company for 60-70 hour work weeks and hourly wages lower than those earned by average automotive workers. He said many employees were exploring unionizing, and had contacted the labor union United Auto Workers (UAW). Moran said he believes in Tesla’s vision, but wants to make the company better. Related: Tesla just announced plans to build up to five Gigafactories In response, Musk sent out a company-wide email. He said he was distraught at the mention of the UAW, because in Musk’s view the union favors large car companies and doesn’t share Tesla’s mission. He also accused UAW of employing disingenuous tactics. Musk said Tesla awards employees shares and offers the opportunity to buy stock at lower prices than the public, in contrast to other car companies. Regarding work hours, Musk pointed to changes to reduce overtime hours such as the addition of a third shift. Of course, an average Tesla worker’s week is still slightly longer than 40 hours at 43 hours a week. He also looked ahead to changes that can be enacted when Tesla becomes profitable. When the Model 3 attains volume production, the company will host what Musk described as a really amazing party. But a fancy shindig isn’t all Tesla employees can look forward to; Musk said in the email, “There will also be little things that come along like free frozen yogurt stands scattered around the factory and my personal favorite: a Tesla electric pod car roller coaster (with an optional loop the loop route, of course!) that will allow fast and fun travel throughout our Fremont campus, dipping in and out of the factory and connecting all the parking lots. It’s going to get crazy good.” Via TechCrunch Images via Austin Kirk on Flickr and OnInnovation on Flickr

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Elon Musk wants to build an electric roller coaster at Tesla’s campus

SpaceX is sending two private citizens to the moon next year

February 28, 2017 by  
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Since humans first walked on the moon in 1969, many people have gazed up at the night sky and longed to do the same. Leave it to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to make those dreams reality. SpaceX announced yesterday they’ll be sending two tourists, who have reportedly paid the company quite a bit of money up front, to the moon. The groundbreaking mission could happen as soon as 2018. SpaceX didn’t say who the two private citizens are, although, according to Musk, they aren’t Hollywood celebrities. The two unnamed travelers will start with fitness and health tests, and commence training this year. According to SpaceX, “…these individuals will travel into space carrying the hopes and dreams of all humankind, driven by the universal human spirit of exploration.” Related: Watch Elon Musk’s emotional rollercoaster during successful SpaceX Falcon 9 landing They’ll be aboard a Crew Dragon, or Dragon Version 2, which has not yet ventured to space. Dragon capsules have made their way to the International Space Station (ISS), but the crew version of the vessel, with life-support equipment, won’t blast off until the end of this year, in an unmanned demonstration mission to the ISS. A manned mission could come early in 2018, before the tourists journey to the moon from the exact launch pad Apollo missions utilized near Cape Canaveral. According to the BBC, the moon trip could be at least six to seven days long. SpaceX said in a statement, “This presents an opportunity for humans to return to deep space for the first time in 45 years and they will travel faster and further into the Solar System than any before them.” This historic trip will also serve as a stepping stone for the company on their target of sending humans to Mars . NASA released a statement on SpaceX’s announcement, saying they commend their “industry partners for reaching higher.” Musk and SpaceX said the moon mission wouldn’t be possible without the agency. Via SpaceX and the BBC Images via SpaceX on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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SpaceX is sending two private citizens to the moon next year

Tesla to cover repair costs after Model S owner sacrifices his car to save a life

February 17, 2017 by  
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Not only are Tesla cars saving the environment , they’re also saving lives. Earlier this week a Tesla Model S driver in Germany noticed a Volkswagen Passat swerving on the Autobahn. Realizing the car’s driver was unconscious, Tesla driver Manfred Kick risked his vehicle to save the driver’s life. Then Elon Musk got wind of Kick’s heroism. When he saw the Volkswagen hitting the guardrail, Kick pulled up next to the car and realized the driver was unconscious – it’s possible he experienced a stroke. So Kick pulled his Tesla in front of the Volkswagen and tapped the brakes until he could bring both cars to a halt. He was able to administer some first aid and ask other drivers who stopped to call for help. A Munich fire station, who commended Kick for incredible courage, reported an emergency medical team treated the Volkswagen driver, who is around 47 years old, before taking him to a special clinic. Related: Did Tesla Autopilot predict an upcoming accident before it actually happened? https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/831972613912080384 At first Kick wasn’t sure whose insurance company would have to cover repair costs. In the process of bringing the Volkswagen to a safe stop he incurred around 10,000 Euros of combined damage. But he told German publication Muenchner Merkur, “The most important thing is that the man is all right again.” The police reported the Volkswagen driver’s condition is stable, according to Muenchner Merkur. But it turns out Kick won’t have to worry about repair costs after all. Elon Musk praised his actions on Twitter, and said his electric vehicle company will cover repair costs “free of charge and expedited.” Mashable reported while German police must conduct an investigation into Kick, policemen said he probably won’t get a fine, but an award. Via Jalopnik and Muenchner Merkur Images via Feuerwehr München on Facebook

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Tesla to cover repair costs after Model S owner sacrifices his car to save a life

Tesla to start test-building the Model 3 this month

February 9, 2017 by  
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Now that the Chevy Bolt has officially arrived, the attention is now on Tesla to see if it can meet its production deadlines for the Model 3. According to Reuters, Elon Musk’s company is now one step closer to the start of the official production as the automaker plans to test-build the Model 3 later this month. Tesla hasn’t confirmed how many Model 3 vehicles will be produced this month, but it will likely be a small number. In part this will allow the automaker test the existing assembly system, and quality test the Model 3 . It’s rumored that the pilot production will kick off on February 20, which will also give Tesla the ability to share the news and potentially reveal pre-production models two days later when it shares its four-quarter 2016 results on February 22. Related: Tesla just introduced the world’s longest range electric car Tesla is expected to shut down production at its California plant for a week later this month to prepare for the high-volume Model 3. The brief shutdown will enable Tesla to make some necessary changes to the paint shop and other maintenance upgrades, both prerequisites for kicking off production of the Model 3 later this year. If all goes as planned, this should happen in July, and Tesla hopes to ramp up production significantly by 2018. + Tesla Via Reuters All images © Tesla

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Tesla to start test-building the Model 3 this month

Family renovates century-old barn into stunning modern home in Washington state

February 9, 2017 by  
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If barn living never appealed to you before, this renovated farmhouse in Washington may be what it takes to change your mind. Seattle-based MW Works transformed an early-20th-century barn into a stunning family home with interiors that beautifully blend modern design with rustic elements. The 3,875-square-foot repurposed barn, known as Canyon Barn, is outfitted with salvaged materials from the original structure and nearby buildings. Located in the East Cascades, the three-bedroom Canyon Barn is a timber structure with a sharply pitched roof . The architects strived to preserve as much of the barn’s original form, character, and history as possible, while creating a comfortable and well-insulated home. The most eye-catching addition is the new glazed window at the entrance that stretches the full height of the gable wall, exposing a cozy warm-toned interior that contrasts with the dark weathered siding. The ground floor features a large double-height living area as well as a storage space, utilities area, and two small bedrooms. A timber and metal staircase provides access to the second-floor dining room and kitchen, secondary living room, master bedroom, and play area. Large lights hang from the exposed trusses of the wooden roof. The panel wall of apple crates and a large custom light fixture that hangs over the dining table were made from salvaged materials found around the barn. Related: Architects transform 18th century barn with seamless contemporary extension “New interventions were carefully considered to have a modern aesthetic while at the same time working within this raw palette,” wrote the architects. “A blend of preservation and intervention, the project updates an aging barn without losing sight of its history.” The renovation won a 2013 Merit Award in the AIA Honor Awards for Washington. + MW Works Images by Tim Bies

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Family renovates century-old barn into stunning modern home in Washington state

Elon Musk supports former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State

January 26, 2017 by  
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Elon Musk is a well-known clean energy advocate – but he shocked many followers this week when he threw his support behind former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Acknowledging his support could be startling, Musk took to Twitter to say the oil mogul actually ” supports a carbon tax .” https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/824010489449431040 The Economist tweeted a December 2016 article titled ” Give Rex a chance ” on the occasion of Tillerson’s narrow approval as Secretary of State. Musk responded to the article, saying “This may sound surprising coming from me, but I agree with The Economist. Rex Tillerson has the potential to be an excellent Sec of State.” Related: Rex Tillerson says Trump is wrong about climate change Naturally Musk followers were quick to ask him why he’d support Tillerson, and he said , “Rex is an exceptionally competent executive, understands geopolitics and knows how to win for his team. His team is now the USA. I share The Economist’s opinion that he should be given the benefit of the doubt unless his actions prove otherwise.” Musk also pointed to statements from Tillerson’s confirmation hearing where Tillerson said the United States should “maintain its seat at the table in the conversation on how to address threats of climate change . They do require a global response.” https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/824149662366126087 Several hours after he sparked the conversation Musk tweeted , “Rex Tillerson supports a carbon tax. This is what is really needed to move the needle.” He included a link to a December 2016 Bloomberg article , which back then noted Musk and Tillerson agreed on a carbon tax as the “best tool for fighting climate change.” It remains to be seen if Musk’s backing will be justified and if Tillerson will follow through on a carbon tax. Images via NASA Kennedy on Flickr and Archive of the Official Site of the 2008-2012 Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin

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Elon Musk supports former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State

Elon Musk says Tesla’s solar roof will be cheaper than ordinary roofs

November 18, 2016 by  
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Forget about foregoing a Tesla solar roof to save money. Elon Musk said his company’s roofs will be cheaper than ordinary roofs. He also said the energy-generating roofs will last longer than typical roofs, so, said the real-life Iron Man, “Why would you get anything else?” At first Tesla solar roofs will be a premium product, according to Bloomberg, as the company’s slate and terra cotta tiles are 20 times more expensive than asphalt singles. But that factor could become irrelevant because of reduced shipping costs. It’s expensive to ship traditional roof tiles because they’re so heavy and fragile. Musk said Tesla’s solar tiles are easier to ship and weigh around a fifth of what regular tiles weigh. Related: Tesla shareholders “overwhelmingly” approve SolarCity merger Tesla’s tile roofs will be cheaper to both manufacture and install, according to Musk, and will provide savings to a homeowner even before energy bill savings. He said ” Electricity is just a bonus.” Not only could Tesla solar roofs ultimately save owners a wad of money, the sleek solar roof design could convince more people to go solar . Musk said, “The key is to make solar look good. We want you to call your neighbors over and say, ‘Check out this sweet roof.'” The solar roofs will be made of tempered glass in four styles: Tuscan, slate, textured, and smooth. The innovative tiles come with solar cells invisible to a casual observer, a color louver film layer to enable the tiles to blend in, and a tempered glass layer. Tesla says the electricity from the roofs can be immediately utilized or stored in a Powerwall battery. The company aims to have their solar roofs available by the summer of 2017; you can sign up for updates here . Via Gizmodo and Bloomberg Images via screenshot and Tesla

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Elon Musk says Tesla’s solar roof will be cheaper than ordinary roofs

Elon Musk says well need a universal basic income when all jobs are automated

November 8, 2016 by  
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In a recent interview with CNBC , SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk discussed the future of work, where many of us may not have jobs at all. As more and more positions become automated by software or robots, Musk says, world governments will eventually have to step up: “There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation. Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen.” The idea of a universal basic income is not new. Earlier this year, Swiss voters were asked whether or not all citizens should receive 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,578 US) per month. Ultimately, the plan was rejected at the ballot box, but the fact that it was brought to a national level has many considering the idea. Finland, for instance, is already gearing up to test a universal basic income experiment involving 8,000 people. The sum these citizens could receive is far shy of what was proposed in Switzerland – only 800 Euros per month – and during the trial period the amount will be even lower. A similar test in planned for the Dutch city of Utrecht in 2017 will provide 250 residents with a flat sum of 960 Euros monthly. While the idea is gaining traction in Europe, American politicians have been more cautious. President Obama addressed the idea in an interview this summer, saying it was a debate that would be had “over the next 10 or 20 years.” Related: 20 Dutch cities plan to roll out guaranteed basic income for residents in 2016 While it’s easy to get swept up into a sense of doom and gloom at the idea of robots stealing our jobs, Musk goes on to elaborate in the interview that there are benefits to this type of increased automation: “People will have time to do other things, more complex things, more interesting things. Certainly more leisure time.” Though tech CEOs like Musk may see complete automation as the ultimate outcome of their work, others disagree. Blogger Eve Peyser at Gizmodo writes, “Sure, jobs will become obsolete, but we can utilize the technology we invent to create new jobs. Especially in the United States, we define ourselves by our labor; your labor and its fruits determine every aspect of your identity.” In the end, it’s impossible to say exactly what the workforce of the future will look like, or what it will mean. For now, anyway. Via Gizmodo Images via 401(K) 2012 and OnInnovation  

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Elon Musk says well need a universal basic income when all jobs are automated

Elon Musk and Leonardo DiCaprio discuss climate issues in Before the Flood documentary

November 3, 2016 by  
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For his National Geographic Channel documentary Before the Flood , Leonardo DiCaprio stopped in to chat with Elon Musk at the Tesla Gigafactory . The two celebrities talked about how a carbon tax could help countries switch from fossil fuels to clean energy, and Musk specified just how many Gigafactories it would take to enable the entire world to run on renewable energy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZm_NohNm6I On site at the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada, DiCpario and Musk talked about the dangers the world faces with climate change precipitated by burning fossil fuels like oil and gas . According to Musk, the fossil fuel industry is the world’s largest industry with “more money and more influence than any other sector.” He spoke of the hope for a “popular uprising” against the industry but also said “we are unavoidably headed towards some level of harm.” Musk showed how his company, Tesla , is working to combat that industry with their Gigafactory. Related: Elon Musk wants to build Tesla Gigafactories all around the world So how many Gigafactories do we need to enable the world to run on renewable energy? According to Musk, it would take just 100 Gigafactories. But Tesla can’t build them all; Musk called for large companies in China, Europe, and the United States to “do the same thing” and build factories to make batteries for storing renewable energy. Governments can help out too, according to Musk, by setting up regulations or laws to ease the transition away from fossil fuels. In the video Musk said, “Unless there’s a price put on carbon…” and DiCaprio completed his sentence with, “We’re never going to be able to make the transition that we need to in time.” Musk said, “the only way to do that is with a carbon tax.” The National Geographic Channel released DiCaprio’s documentary in 45 languages and 171 countries on October 30. The hour and a half documentary follows DiCaprio’s three-year journey to learn more about climate change, and the National Geographic Channel is offering the documentary for free so more people can view it. You can watch the entire documentary here . + Before the Flood + Tesla Gigafactory Images via screenshot

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Elon Musk and Leonardo DiCaprio discuss climate issues in Before the Flood documentary

Elon Musk announces all new Teslas will be self-driving

October 20, 2016 by  
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Today, Tesla finally unveiled the second half its big Model 3 reveal . Shortly after 5 p.m., the company revealed that all new Tesla vehicles will include the hardware needed for full self-driving capacity, effective immediately. While this includes the Model 3, older vehicles like the Model S and Model X will also include the new hardware — in fact, the vehicles are already in production and available for purchase. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbPqIHwSHos In a blog post today, Tesla said: “We are excited to announce that, as of today, all Tesla vehicles produced in our factory – including Model 3 – will have the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver.” The company has received criticism in the past for its Autpilot. Tesla says that they are being cautious to make sure the program is safe. “Before activating the features enabled by the new hardware, we will further calibrate the system using millions of miles of real-world driving to ensure significant improvements to safety and convenience.” All updates to the system will be delivered wirelessly through the company’s over-the-air software updates. The announcement, which launched promptly at what Tesla fans are now calling “Elon o’clock,”  followed days of mystery. With the announcement, we finally know what CEO Elon Musk mysteriously teased about in a tweet just 10 days ago. Originally scheduled for October 17 and then bumped to October 19, the announcement didn’t come with the usual set of hints and clues that Tesla is known for letting out into the wild. The secrecy surrounding this unveiling drove the rumor mill for days, with speculations ranging from the launch of Autopilot 2.0 to “Tesla Glass.” Turns out Tesla fans are pretty smart, since the Model 3 reveal centered around their new Autopilot, which will come with every new Tesla. Related: Tesla slates mysterious product unveiling for October 17 The new vehicles will include eight surround cameras, which provide 360-degree visibility around the car for a range of up to 250 meters. For even greater safety, all cars will include 12 updated ultrasonic sensors, which can detect both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of Tesla’s previous system. Rounding out the hardware is a forward-facing radar with enhanced processing which can see through heavy rain, fog, dust, and even the car ahead on the road. This cutting-edge tech goes far beyond the ordinary senses of a human driver, which the company argues will make the car’s autonomous capabilities far safer than traditional vehicles. The shift appears to be part of a larger strategy to provide on-demand mobility services to those who are unable to drive or simply can’t afford to purchase a personal vehicle. The weeks leading up to this announcement were a little unusual, even for an outlandish entrepreneur like Musk. One day before the original announcement date, the CEO tweeted an update , pushing the Tesla news to October 19. It “needs a few more days of refinement,” he said, without specifying whether he was referring to the unveiling or the product itself. In the absence of any hints from the company about the “unexpected” new product, Electrek conducted a poll of its readers last week and the majority guessed the announcement has something to do with Autopilot 2.0 or some sort of integrated augmented reality technology. In other Tesla news, the company quietly updated the marketing webpage for the upcoming Model 3, the $35,000 all-electric sports car. Musk originally promised that deliveries on preorders would begin in late 2017, but the website has now been updated to reflect that “production begins” late 2017 and “Delivery estimate for new reservations is 2018 or later.” While it seems that this represents a delay in Musk’s original timeline, the company has insisted that it doesn’t, telling The Verge that customers who have already reserved a Model 3 will still receive delivery in 2017, but all future reservations will be fulfilled in 2018 or later. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwD1hjlbhwU + Tesla Images via Tesla Cat DiStasio contributed to this report.

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