When CEO Elon Musk reflects on the last decade, he grounds himself in Tesla company goals that were designed to spur the world’s transition to clean energy. Today, he is practical yet optimistic — he sees a future in which energy production moves from reliance on fossil fuels to pragmatic sustainable energy generation. A pervasive and systematic global shift to renewables is a core vision.
“My expectation is not like that the energy production must be pure as the driven snow, but it also cannot be using the world’s dirtiest coal, which it was for a moment there,” Musk said in his role as panelist at The B Word conference, which was focused on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. “So, you know, that’s just difficult for Tesla to support in that situation. I do think long-term renewable energy will actually be the cheapest form of energy — it just doesn’t happen overnight.”
Musk explained during the conference panel discussion that energy storage systems, combined with solar and wind, aren’t the only ways to transition bitcoin to cleaner energy. He endorsed drawing upon existing hydropower, geothermal, and nuclear energy sources to reduce the environmental impact of bitcoin mining.
Square Crypto lead commentator Steve Lee asked Musk his advice about what can the energy-intensive bitcoin industry do “to accelerate the transition to renewable energy.” He also interjected, “Could Tesla Energy play a role?”
Musk replied, “Well, I think Tesla can play a role.”
Musk Reflects on the Tesla Journey
Musk’s capacity to excel in tangible innovations, such as batteries, all-electric cars, and rockets, is often in conflict with a risk-averse and heavily-regulated corporate and government environment. Yet he has shown that the US can be a center again for manufacturing at a time when most have moved off seas.
Tesla has installed a number of utility-scale energy storage systems, Musk reminded his bitcoin audience, that have helped utilities with “load-leveling the grid,” including in South Australia and elsewhere. But he noted that battery production was currently constraining production.
In a Twitter exchange with fans after The B Word Conference, Musk wrote that Tesla is still “not quite done” getting to “volume production” of its custom-designed 4680 battery cells.
“In fact, the limiting factor for us right now is cell production,” he noted. “So we need to both internally get our Tesla internal battery cells produced as well as increase supply from suppliers.”
Musk also repeated that, even once Tesla can make its own battery cells, it will still rely on other battery cell makers. Its current cell suppliers include Panasonic, LG, and CATL.
“Generally, when I talk to our suppliers and they say ‘how many cells would you like?’ I say ‘how many cells can you make?’ You know, ’cause sometimes they’re concerned. Is Tesla gonna compete with them on cells? I’m like, ‘No no, if you want to make the cells, be our guest.’ It’s just that we need a crazy number of batteries.”
Stories that Chronicle How Musk Reflects
Two new books — both written with Musk’s cooperation — peer into the mindset that made Musk the entrepreneurial genius of his times.
- Liftoff by Eric Berger reviews the highs and lows of the SpaceX early years.
- Power Play by Tim Higgins traces Tesla’s tumultuous journey from the launch of the 2009 Roadster, onto the Model S luxury sedan, and then to the mass appeal Model 3 — now the world’s best-selling electric car.
A New York Times book review chronicles the 2 books and Musk’s stormy rise to success.
In 2008, the Great Recession had hit the US. This sharp decline in economic activity, caused by the abrupt rise and fall of the US housing market due to mortgage-backed securities speculation and derivatives, hit many sectors. Musk assembled his top execs and admitted that Tesla was in real trouble — ready to run out of money. Millions of dollars of customer deposits for the Roadster had already been expended without deliveries. Replacing the existing CEO with himself, Musk cut 25% of the Tesla workforce, realizing that only 3 weeks of cash remained.
But on his BlackBerry was an image of the Model S luxury sedan that he envisioned as the next auto in the Tesla catalog. He borrowed the necessary funding to keep the company afloat and prodded his investors to match him.
When he received confirmation that the investors would back his idea for the company redirection, Musk was quite emotional. “All of his fortune was now on the line,” Higgins writes. “From the depths of the Great Recession, he’d done something that other US automakers were unable to do: avoid bankruptcy.”
Musk reflected on his feelings at that moment in time. “It felt like I had been taken out to the firing squad, and been blindfolded,” he admitted. “Then they fired the guns, which went click. No bullets came out. And then they let you free. Sure, it feels great. But you’re pretty [expletive] nervous.”
What Musk Knows Matters
What makes Elon Musk different than his competitors? He has a deep knowledge of the physics, thermodynamics, and technology underlying his products. Thus, he knows what boundaries he can push. “In meetings, Musk might ask his engineers to do something that, on the face of it, seemed absurd,” Berger writes. “When they protested that it was impossible, Musk would respond with a question designed to open their minds to the problem, and potential solutions. He would ask, ‘What would it take?’”
In an incredibly honest exchange at the bitcoin conference, Musk opened up to the audience.
“I would say I’ve had some pretty tough life experiences,” Musk revealed, “and Tesla’s probably responsible for two-thirds of all personal and professional pain combined, to give you a sense of perspective there.”
But in the same week, one of Musk’s fans attempted to assuage Musk’s admitted turmoil. The account user — named the “Pope of Muskanity” — featured a clip from the popular video game Super Mario Bros. in a tweet. The character Mario had to wade past a variety of tough challenges and obstacles to win the game. The accompanying tweet noted, “How hard it is for Elon Musk to avoid controversies.”
The user tagged the Tesla CEO, who decided to react. “Although to be fair, I dig my own grave a lot.” He included some laughing emojis in his response.
The “Pope of Muskanity” continued the conversation, adding a tweet that contemplated the ideal of freedom. “Freedom of speech and freedom of thought are only actually positives if you act and think like you’re expected to, Master Elon! PS: Don’t worry, we faithful appreciate your candor.”
🤣🤣 although to be fair, I dig my own grave a lot
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 25, 2021
We’ve all watched Elon Musk navigate a spectrum of emotions in his public role as Tesla CEO –ranging from high anxiety to jubilant glee. He admits to his own foibles, such as the “significant mistakes” the company made in its Solar Roof project, which has had delays and cost overruns. He stated that the Cybertruck might flop, but said he doesn’t care, as he loves its unusual trapezoid-like design.
He’s often filtered, sometimes quick to react, and always eager to promote Tesla. Elon Musk reflects and previews, explains and exclaims, but he is always an inspiration for us who hope to live in a sustainable world one day. As Musk reflects on his rise to prominence, he offers us instruction about the ways that we, too, must self-assess yet move on with the will to transcend forks in the proverbial road.
This guy built a six-seater electric bike for $150, and it absolutely rips
I’ve always enjoyed multi-seater electric bikes, which bring passenger-carrying utility to small-format, easy-to-produce vehicles. But I never thought I’d see the concept taken this far. At least not until I stumbled upon a six-seater electric bike that has me all kinds of jealous.
It’s no surprise where this custom e-bike originated. If you want to see the most creative and ingenious transportation solutions in the world, you have to head over to Asia.
The Chinese often get a lot of credit for some of the more wacky vehicles popping up on Alibaba, but India usually takes the cake with some of the coolest auto and motorcycle innovation on the planet. And that’s exactly where this impressive six-seater bike comes from, where it was hand-built by Ashhad Abdullah from Lohra in eastern India.
Abdullah seems to have caught my recent Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week entry for a three-seater electric bike and said “Hold my lassi.”
Instead of a three-seater, Abdullah doubled the capacity to six seats. His stretch-limousine electric bike looks like it wears a scooter fork on front complete with drum brake, off-road lighting kit, and even a motorcycle horn. The rear seems to hold a hub motor wheel in a swingarm supported by dual coilover shocks. There’s a battery box mounted just in front of the swingarm, though how much capacity he’s rocking seems to be a mystery.
Bridging the two ends of the bike is a bespoke ladder frame with six seats, six handlebars, and six pairs of foot pegs.
There’s no word on the turning radius, but we’d wager it’s somewhere around the width of the state of Bihar.
Abdullah created the custom-designed bike after climbing fuel prices made petrol-powered motorcycles less appealing. In total, he says the bike cost him around 12,000 INR (US $150) to build.
It gets a range of around 150 km (93 miles) and costs around 10 INR (US $0.12) to recharge.
I’m not sure if this is technically an e-bike, at least by electric bicycle standards. It certainly looks like a tandem-style bicycle setup with bicycle seats, but the lack of pedals means it would be classified more like an electric scooter or motorcycle.
But whatever you call it, the six-seater bike has received a warm reception around the world.
The novel creation went viral on Twitter after a video of it in action was reposted by Anand Mahindra, the chairman of Mahindra Group, one of the largest automakers in India (and similar in size to GM).
It’s unlikely we’d see an awesome ride like this in the West, where safety regulations and an unhealthy aversion to two wheels would likely make this six-seater dead on arrival.
I’ll admit that it’s hard for me to argue with the safety concerns, especially when seeing six helmet-less heads and a few bare feet as well.
There are some good alternatives available in the US, at least if you’re alright with just two-seater e-bikes. But with options like a $999 Lectric XP 3.0 or a $1,499 RadRunner helping put more riders on smaller electric vehicles, the chances for sharing the fun on e-bikes are growing, even in laggard countries like the US.
We may never get six bodies on one bike, but even two would be a good start!
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.
Tesla launches in Thailand, opens Model 3 and Y orders at competitive prices
Tesla has officially launched in Thailand and opened orders for Model 3 and Model Y at competitive prices.
It has been a little while since Tesla has expanded into a brand-new market. The company was trying hard to enter the Indian market for years, but the effort was put on hold earlier this year after negotiations with the government stalled.
A few weeks later, we learned that Tesla’s new market team turned its attention to Southeast Asia, and more specifically Thailand.
The automaker filed to register its product for sale in the country. That was the first indication that Tesla planned to enter the market.
In September, we reported that Tesla started to hire in Thailand – indicating that a launch was imminent.
Today, Tesla has officially launched its Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in Thailand with a small event in a luxury mall in central Bangkok.
The automaker has started taking orders through a new Thai configurator for those two models. Tesla is offering all variants of the Model 3 and Model Y for sale in Thailand:
The Model 3 starts at ฿1,759,000 in Thailand, which is the equivalent of about $50,000 USD and fairly competitive compared to other luxury EVs in the market.
The Model Y starts ฿1,959,000, or about $58,000 USD.
Interestingly, while Tesla is starting to take orders through the new configurator, the automaker doesn’t list expected delivery windows in the country.
While we don’t know when official deliveries from Tesla will start in Thailand, there are already a decent number of Tesla electric vehicles in the country.
They have been imported privately by the owners – and that’s a factor that Tesla takes into account when considering entering a new market. If many people are willing to go through the trouble of importing the vehicle, there’s a good chance that there’s a market for its vehicles in the country.
We even reported on the Thai police buying a fleet of Tesla Model 3 vehicles for police patrol back in 2020, pictured above.
The Thai auto market is more significant than most people would think. More than 750,000 cars were sold in the market last year, and it is expected to ramp up to 800K–900K this year. However, most of those vehicles are not in the same price range as Tesla vehicles.
Thailand is also a vehicle assembly hub with up to 2 million vehicles produced locally per year.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.
U.S. pledges to ramp up supplies of natural gas to Britain as Biden and Sunak seek to cut off Russia
Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden photographed on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Indonesia on Nov. 16, 2022.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
LONDON — The U.K. and U.S. are forming a new energy partnership focused on boosting energy security and reducing prices.
In a statement Wednesday, the U.K. government said the new partnership would “drive work to reduce global dependence on Russian energy exports, stabilise energy markets and step up collaboration on energy efficiency, nuclear and renewables.”
The U.K.-U.S. Energy Security and Affordability Partnership, as it’s known, will be directed by a U.K.-U.S. Joint Action Group headed up by officials from both the White House and U.K. government.
Among other things, the group will undertake efforts to make sure the market ramps up supplies of liquefied natural gas from the U.S. to the U.K.
“As part of this, the US will strive to export at least 9-10 billion cubic metres of LNG over the next year via UK terminals, more than doubling the level exported in 2021 and capitalising on the UK’s leading import infrastructure,” Wednesday’s announcement said.
“The group will also work to reduce global reliance on Russian energy by driving efforts to increase energy efficiency and supporting the transition to clean energy, expediting the development of clean hydrogen globally and promoting civil nuclear as a secure use of energy,” it added.
Commenting on the plans, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “We have the natural resources, industry and innovative thinking we need to create a better, freer system and accelerate the clean energy transition.”
“This partnership will bring down prices for British consumers and help end Europe’s dependence on Russian energy once and for all.”
The news comes at a time of huge disruption within global energy markets following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
The Kremlin was the biggest supplier of both natural gas and petroleum oils to the EU in 2021, according to Eurostat, but gas exports from Russia to the European Union have been signifciantly reduced this year. The U.K. left the EU on Jan. 31, 2020.
Major European economies have been trying to reduce their own consumption and shore up supplies from alternative sources for the colder months ahead — and beyond.
Top CEOs from the power industry have forecast that turbulence in energy markets is likely to persist for some time. “Things are extremely turbulent, as they have been the whole year, I would say,” Francesco Starace, the CEO of Italy’s Enel, told CNBC last month.
“The turbulence we’re going to have will remain — it might change a little bit, the pattern, but we’re looking at one or two years of extreme volatility in the energy markets,” Starace added.
Sports1 year ago
Team Europe easily wins 4th straight Laver Cup
Politics1 year ago
Yvette Cooper promoted and Lisa Nandy to shadow Gove on levelling up brief in Labour reshuffle
Politics1 year ago
Have the last few wobbly weeks seen a turning point for Johnson as PM?
Politics1 year ago
Govt minister says she ‘doesn’t believe’ Stanley Johnson inappropriately touched MP
Environment1 year ago
Sprinting Into An Integrated Cleantech Future
Business2 months ago
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng insists government ‘protecting people across UK’ with mini-budget announcement
Business2 months ago
Liz Truss’s ‘favourite’ economist says chancellor ‘took his eye off ball’ and ‘overstepped the mark’ with mini-budget
Politics1 year ago
‘It’s going to be a great Christmas’: Defiant Javid defends not imposing stricter restrictions to combat new variant