“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” — Isaac Asimov
Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk says his ambitious tunnel-boring endeavor, aptly named The Boring Company, has officially started digging underneath Los Angeles. Musk announced the news on Twitter, where he said “Godot,” the Samuel Beckett-inspired name of the company’s tunnel boring machine, had completed the the first segment of a tunnel in the Southern California metropolis. Prior to today, it was unclear how long it would take Musk to convince the city to allow him to move the experimental effort beyond the SpaceX parking lot in Hawthorne.
Musk has made a rather public showing of his offbeat tunnel-digging venture over the last few months, with an occasional flurry of Twitter announcements and Instagram posts to commemorate each new milestone. In May, Musk posted videos of test runs of the electric sled mechanism that would theoretically ferry cars at speeds up to 124 mph. Back in April, the company also put out a pretty neat concept video showing what an interconnected tunnel network might look like in a decade or two when it’s fully built out.
Along the way, Musk has attracted a ton of interest from his usual fans, as well as and the expected crowd of naysayers who think his idea of an underground tunnel network to cut down on traffic congestion is just a pipe dream. Proving his critics wrong, as Musk seems engineered to do, The Boring Company has made substantial progress since it became a real company late last year.
We don’t have details on what Musk hammered out with the city of LA. But he did tweet earlier this month about a meeting with L.A Mayor Eric Garcetti to lay the groundwork for the neccesary permits and regulatory approvals he’d need to start digging with Godot, which weighs about 1,200 tons and runs about 400 feet long. Musk said last month that the first tunnel would run from LAX to Culver City, Santa Monica, Westwood, and Sherman Oaks, with later tunnels covering more of the greater LA area. Now, it looks like the LAX to Culver City route appears underway.
Once again, Elon Musk has prompted a flurry of speculation with a single tweet. But unlike hyperloop or his ridiculous tunneling idea, this one totally makes sense: an electric big rig.
The busiest man in tech already faces looming deadlines for getting a battery factory up to speed, the Model 3 out the door, and a secret payload (probably a spy satellite) into orbit. So you might think he’d resist adding to his to-do list. Nope. Turns out he’s got a team working on a battery-powered truck he will reveal in September, as part of his master plan to shift the world to sustainable energy.
I hear you chuckling. But this idea is not crazy as you might think. Plans for such a truck, if they truly exist, almost certainly call for batteries alone, because Musk disdains hybrids and range-extended electrics like the Chevrolet Volt. That makes his idea easier to design and build than a conventional car, SUV, or pickup (which Musk also wants to make). It helps that he’s not the first guy to think of this. Nikola Motor Company is pursuing a similar goal.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is known for short bursts of activity on Twitter, oftentimes answering fans and reporters questions on the social media platform.
On Friday, as Musk was on a flight to Cape Canaveral—presumably to attend to business related to SpaceX, the aerospace company he also runs—the billionaire entrepreneur shared a number of new details about the Model 3, a video, and even the solar roof tiles Tesla plans to sell.
Here’s what we learned:
First the basics, Musk wanted to clarify that Model 3 is not simply a next version of a Tesla.=
It’s official: After Tesla shareholders approved the acquisition of SolarCity, the new company is now an unequivocal sun-to-vehicle energy firm. And Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk didn’t take long to make his first big announcement as head of this new enterprise.
Minutes after shareholders approved the deal—about 85 percent of them voted yes—Musk told the crowd that he had just returned from a meeting with his new solar engineering team. Tesla’s new solar roof product, he proclaimed, will actually cost lessto manufacture and install than a traditional roof—even before savings from the power bill. “Electricity,” Musk said, “is just a bonus.”
If Musk’s claims prove true, this could be a real turning point in the evolution of solar power. The rooftop shingles he unveiled just a few weeks ago are something to behold: They’re made of textured glass and are virtually indistinguishable from high-end roofing products. They also transform light into power for your home and your electric car.
“So the basic proposition will be: Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, lasts twice as long, costs less and—by the way—generates electricity?” Musk said. “Why would you get anything else?”
Lost in the madness of the presidential election was a big move by Tesla to address a problem that has plagued the company for years: production delays.
It’s been said before and it will be said again: Tesla CEO Elon Musk is a much-needed visionary when it comes to the automotive space, but his inability to deliver on the production end is a problem.
But Musk is looking to change that by buying a German automated manufacturing company — the terms of which haven’t been disclosed. It’s an encouraging sign of Musk’s intention to finally deliver when it comes to vision and product.
Tesla’s Model X.Harold Cunningham/Getty Images
The most notable example of Tesla’s production issues is with the Model X, which suffered delays that pushed back deliveries to the second half of 2016. It’s an issue Musk has acknowledged himself:
“We were in production hell,” he said during the company’s second-quarter earnings call. “We climbed out of hell in June.”
Musk even said he has slept in a sleeping bag in Tesla’s Fremont factory to personally inspect vehicles as they come off the production line. (If a CEO sleeping in his factory to ensure production is going smoothly isn’t a cause for investors to worry, I’m not sure what is.)
A little more on the Fremont factory itself: the factory has the capacity to build 500,000 vehicles a year, but is currently only producing a fraction of that. Tesla is maintaining its full-year guidance of delivering 80,000 to 90,000 vehicles by the end of this year.
“I probably will name the first ship that goes to Mars ‘Heart of Gold,’” said Musk. (No, really.) (SpaceX)
Elon Musk has a vision. Someday soon, humanity will blast off from Earth, colonize Mars, and eventually become a “multiplanetary species.” All it will take is a lot of money, a lot more luck, and a really, really ridiculously large spaceship.
On Tuesday, Musk made his most impassioned and detailed case for space colonization yet at an event with SpaceX, his private spaceflight company. “Someday soon, there will be an extinction event on Earth,” Musk said. So we can either sit around and wait for that to hit. “Or, the alternative is to become a spacefaring species.”
And the first step is going to Mars — our dusty red neighbor. “We want to make Mars seem possible in our lifetimes,” Musk said. To that end, SpaceX has released a video unveiling its plans for the Interplanetary Transport System, the craft that, in theory, will get us there:
The system is composed of what the internet has dubbed a BFS (“big fucking spaceship”) sitting atop a BFR (“big fucking rocket”). Put together, they’d stretch 122 meters high — the tallest spaceship ever built, by a fair margin.
How Elon Musk wants to get humans to Mars: a step-by-step guide