What Did Elon Musk Promise?

Musk is a crony-capitalist of the worst ilk. He plays both side of the aisle and wraps it all up in fanciful oratory about colonizing Mars. American’s literally eat it up. Musk is so popular you would think he was the real Tony Stark. His latest dazzling promise was to send colonists to Mars by 2024 (for $200K a one-way ticket). No guarantees you will make it alive, and no, Musk won’t be joining you on the trip. Have fun being the first Martians.

The lofty interstellar goal of living on Mars is inspired by Star Wars and Star Trek dreams and comes with an out of this world price tag…about $10 billion. Rockets are expensive and Musk has plans to blow up a few more of them as he pretends to be colonizes the red planet. The last rocket that blew, the Falcon 9, cost several hundred million in lost cargo alone. Musk actually blames that on real Martian sabotage, but that’s another story.

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SpaceX customer switches a satellite launch order to European competitor

A SpaceX customer has switched to a European competitor for one satellite launch, citing delays in the Hawthorne space company’s schedule after a September explosion.

Satellite communications firm Inmarsat said Thursday that it has signed a contract with French rocket company Arianespace to launch a satellite for the European Aviation Network, a broadband system comprised of both satellites and ground networks.

That satellite is set to be launched in mid-2017 from French Guiana.

Inmarsat had originally planned to launch the satellite with SpaceX, but said it decided to switch to Arianespace “following the delay in SpaceX’s launch schedule.”

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Elon Musk makes cryptic comments about Tesla competing with Uber

Tesla CEO Elon Musk suggested Wednesday that he can create a car-sharing network that’s so good, customers will abandon Uber and other ride-sharing companies in droves to adopt it.

During an earnings call Wednesday, Musk was asked to explain whether his proposed car sharing network, dubbed the Tesla Network, would generate revenue for Tesla or help Tesla owners offset the costs of their vehicles. In response, Musk made some cryptic comments about the scope of his so-called “Tesla Network.”

Musk said people have been characterizing his car-sharing proposal as “Tesla versus Uber or Lyft or something like that. It’s not Tesla versus Uber, it’s the people versus Uber.” There was no follow-up question, so Musk’s statement was left hanging like that.

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Luxury automakers to Tesla: We’re coming for you

The message from Dieter Zetsche was clear.

Shortly after the Daimler chairman unveiled Mercedes-Benz’s concept electric SUV at the Paris Motor Show Thursday, CNBC asked if the German automaker was fighting back against Tesla and its growing hold on the luxury electric car market.

“If you want to interpret it that way it’s fine,” Zetsche told CNBC. “Tesla is a successful electric automotive company…[but] we want to be No. 1 by latest 2025 in the electric premium segment.”

Make no mistake: Mercedes, BMW, Audi and practically every other luxury automaker is gunning for Tesla with a slew of high-end electric vehicles scheduled to come out over the next several years.

Mercedes, for instance, plans to release 10 new electric models. BMW says it will introduce an electric version of every model it sells. And Audi plans for 25 percent of its sales by 2025 to come from electric vehicles.

“Tesla is highly likely to lose its dominant position,” UBS told investors last week, describing the coming wave of electric cars from established luxury brands as a “tsunami.”

Stephanie Brinley, senior auto analyst for IHS Markit, agrees Tesla will feel some pressure.

“The mainstream luxury brands can really reach beyond the early adopters in a way Tesla cannot,” he said. “They have the dealer network, strong brand recognition and strong customer loyalty.”

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Tesla Motors Inc – How Much Worse Could It Get? (TSLA)

Lithium, the key component found in battery packs, is necessary to propel an electric vehicle. It’s the lifeblood of the vehicle, so to speak. The problem, however, is that lithium miners are having a hard time meeting the demand. And what is available is becoming stunning expensive.

Since the middle of 2015, lithium prices have jumped about 200%, reaching $20,000 per metric ton. And as lucrative as it’s become (and it will likely remain at those prices), it’s not as if the industry can easily ramp up output. Indeed, CEO Elon Musk has already commented “we would basically need to absorb the entire world’s lithium-ion production.”

More sources are being found and developed, but the math of the supply/demand dynamic is concerning. Battery prices could soar. Granted, they’ll soar for all EV companies, but Tesla Motors is the most vulnerable.

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Jeff Bezos unveils giant new rocket to compete with SpaceX

Amazon.com Inc.    Chairman Jeff Bezos, renowned for keeping quiet about strategic goals for his fledgling space company Blue Origin LLC, on Monday reversed course by disclosing plans for a giant, reusable rocket — named after iconic 1960s astronaut John Glenn — and powerful enough to blast people as well as satellites into high-Earth orbit.

The New Glenn rocket would feature a cluster of seven main engines and stand more than 310 feet tall. If it flies by the end of the decade as intended, the largest version of the proposed booster could vault Blue Origin, based in Kent, Wash., into head-to-head commercial rivalry with Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, founded and run by another billionaire entrepreneur, Elon Musk.

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Tesla Out, Chevy Bolt In

Summary

  • Silicon Valley’s dean of tech fashion, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, gets some seat time in the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt.
  • Previously, he was singing the praises of the Tesla Model S, which he has been driving for at least a couple of years.
  • After driving the Bolt, he changes his tune: “I was surprised and blown away.”.
  • “You like this one the best?”, Woz is asked. “Extremely” he responded.
  • The writing is on the wall. Woz may be the first to dump his Tesla for a Chevy Bolt, but Tesla just hit the competitive ice berg. RIP.

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More details on Audi’s Tesla Model S competitor emerge

Audi’s upcoming four-door luxury electric car will have a 311-mile range, along with Level 4 self-driving features (essentially full autonomy, for those keeping track) and three separate electric motors, according to a new report from Autocar. The car is set to go head-to-head with the Model S, based on these new stats, and will likely be called the “A9 e-tron” when it goes on sale sometime in 2020, the publication says.

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