Elon Musk venture updates: Tesla - Cybertruck - SpaceX - Starlink - Neuralink - Boring Company

BigBone

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This is the Crew Dragon C206 capsule in the SpaceX Hawthorne California factory in testing, before heading over to NASA for final checkup.


In other news, Bill Gerstenmaier, former NASA human spaceflight head, one of the most respected space figures has been hired as a consultant for SpaceX crewed missions. It's an important snatch as his experience and decision making process will add huge value to Crew Dragon missions. He'll likely be hired on permanent basis later.



In other other news, Trump is raising both NASA and US Space Force budget for 2021. NASA in particular will get lots of funds for the Moon to Mars initiative, part of which NASA plans to land the first woman on the Moon and possible set up a base sometime later for Mars missions. Ironically I've just started watching Apple's For All Mankind TV series based on an alternate 60-70s where USSR beats US to the Moon, both first man and first woman, and how that ups the space race.


Yeah, as critics point out it's filled with popular subjects such as strong women (lesbian and otherwise), illegal Mexican immigrants, a woman of color in white male environment and whatnot... but at least it's properly taking time in the subject matter and uses realistic science. We'll see where it goes.
 

Broxi

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Did you see that Joe Rogan had Garrett Reisman on his JRE pdocast last week, I've only caught the clips so far but it seems interesting and he talks a bit about working with Elon Musk and his ridiculous drive.

"Garrett Reisman is a former NASA Astronaut. He is currently a Professor of Astronautical Engineering at USC and a Senior Advisor at SpaceX."

 

BigBone

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Tesla stock has settled down around the $750s over the past week or so, sitting around $130-140B market cap. The street probably calculates all positive trends into stock price tho I think Q1 report will see a massive drop due to low deliveries (traditionally shitty car quarter + virus + some subsidies have ended in 2019). Good opportunity to buy shares before an improved Q2 and major Q3-Q4 due to Model Y ramp, IF we as humans and our economies survive this coronavirus BS.

But the April battery & drive train day will be the make or break moment IMO. Tesla is battery constrained, tho still utterly outsells key rivals such as the Jaguar I Pace that's production is now halted due to battery shortages, or the Mercedes-Benz EQC, with a production of just 7000 last year and 30k projected in 2020, all the while Mercedes can't even sell its low stock. Tesla went absolutely bonkers investing in battery tech, purchasing Maxwell & other companies, funding research, building assembly lines and getting major licences with the best lithium-ion companies in the world. That's where most of the profits went, a risky proposition that seems paying off as rivals just can't get damn cells on the cheap.

Still, I'd be disappointed if Tesla doesn't announce at least 3 of the following possibilities:
  • million-mile dry electrode battery tech that lasts long without significant degradation
  • same tech offering cheaper manufacturing and fast scaling as Tesla needs to quadruple in 12 months
  • same tech offering improved energy density & allowing 1000 km charge
  • tri-motor Plaid drivetrain entering production for Model S, breaking track records
  • 2020 Roadster delivery announcement with Plaid, Maxwell & SpaceX tech
  • Cybertruck / Giga Texas / Semi production info
If Tesla can scale battery production BIG TIME, it'll be its most significant breakthrough toward sustainability and predictable profits, perhaps even licencing or selling batteries to rivals that just can't get enough. Tho Semi needs monumental amount of batteries and so do battery farms and Tesla Solar Roof storage unity. Tesla has done everything in its power to push the battery envelope, but right now it's anyone's guess if they CAN scale, tho Elon talking about "nuts" and "alien" tech is cause for cautions optimism.

9958

Did you see that Joe Rogan had Garrett Reisman on his JRE pdocast last week, I've only caught the clips so far but it seems interesting and he talks a bit about working with Elon Musk and his ridiculous drive.

"Garrett Reisman is a former NASA Astronaut. He is currently a Professor of Astronautical Engineering at USC and a Senior Advisor at SpaceX."

Aye, and Musk is putting in full time per company, crazy stuff. Also, look at SpaceX employees before sending Crew Dragon off to NASA: I need to look hard to spot ppl. in their 40s let alone 50s or 60s. Many are younger than 30. Tesla and SpaceX are soaking up freshman engineers and enthusiastic ppl. who really do believe these companies move humanity forward, whether that's the case or not. Workforce is almost a generation younger than at any rival, and that's a pretty big deal moving forward.

 
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BigBone

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Tesla has raised about $2B in capital yesterday by selling secondary stock at $767 a pop, to strengthen its investments in battery, Giga Shanghai & Berlin and future tech. Rumors says they have also acquired SilLion Inc., a li-ion battery expert startup from Colorado. Tho Musk said a few weeks back at earnings call it's not time to raise money, since then stock soared, and both coronavirus & slowing economy predictions lead to a sensible decision to gain some capital and have more cash on hand.



Giga Shanghai is not yet at full production and training for night shift is essentially halted, so they're not gonna hit 3000/week capacity anytime soon. It's also questionable when will Chinese economy recover, as ppl. are dealing with coronavirus, they ain't spending so much on cars. Giga Berlin got more permits however, tho need some more to start real groundwork (site pictured above, those are planted trees for cardboard production). Brandenburg has Tesla's back to send a message to local brands (BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Daimler and VW) to get the EV act together or get passes by.



In space news, SpaceX has finished testing its mark3 parachutes for Crew Dragon and it's now up to NASA to check and test them before getting those a green lite and sending ppl. up. SpaceX is targeting Sunday morning launch for the next Starlink satellite batch, plan is to start offering limited satellite internet service in a few months. Of course speeds and latency will drop when the constellation is not hundreds, but thousands strong in a few years.



And in boring news, Musk's electric boring machine is about to pop its head out some 2 miles off where it started digging, finishing one of two planned tunnels under the Las Vegas Convention Center. The two tunnels will be used to move ppl. quickly from one end to the other via self-driving Tesla's rather than trains or anything that requires hugely more expensive diggin'. At this rate boring should be done in a few months time, signalling the first completed project for Musk's Boring Company, that's only 2,5 yrs old. Then Vegas will ask the question whether to order similar tunnels under the Strip, connecting the Airport, Downtown Las Vegas & the casinos via the same type of transport.
 
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BigBone

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Boring machine broke thru final wall yesterday right after I posted, finishing tunnel 1 digging. They will disassemble, move back and start digging tunnel 2, as well as start work inside tunnel 1, making it drive-read, adding electricity, lifts, ramps etc.



While the April battery and drive train day can't come soon enough, Tesla is doing a good job at improving current li-ion cell efficiency, so the long-range Model S EPA range has just been updated to 390 miles / 628 km, Model X to 350 miles / 563 km. The EPA is controlled real-world range measurement. Many Tesla fans expect a 500-mile Model S in April via new cell tech, larger battery pack & Plaid drive train, tho I'm not so positive about that. Still, Musk did promise a 620-mile / 1000km Roadster 2020 so who knows. Addig more battery is easy, significantly upping Wh/km is much harder.


SpaceX is very busy building Starship SN1 for sub-orbital test flight, but those stainless steel rings still look a little fragile to me. They will need to endure extreme heat change, pressures, acceleration and vibrations without any significant distortion in shape, and for landing the structure will need to flip and burn in thick atmosphere. This is not The Expanse guys, this is real world!

 
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Broxi

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And in boring news, Musk's electric boring machine is about to pop its head out some 2 miles off where it started digging, finishing one of two planned tunnels under the Las Vegas Convention Center. The two tunnels will be used to move ppl. quickly from one end to the other via self-driving Tesla's rather than trains or anything that requires hugely more expensive diggin'. At this rate boring should be done in a few months time, signalling the first completed project for Musk's Boring Company, that's only 2,5 yrs old. Then Vegas will ask the question whether to order similar tunnels under the Strip, connecting the Airport, Downtown Las Vegas & the casinos via the same type of transport.
I had almost forgot this company existed or was assuming Musk wasn't paying attention to it but I wonder how capable this company would be at digging a tunnel, say under the French Channel or under the North Sea between Scotland and Ireland, there's talk of building a 22 mile long bridge but the engineering seems impossible, why not just dig a tunnel.
 

BigBone

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I had almost forgot this company existed or was assuming Musk wasn't paying attention to it but I wonder how capable this company would be at digging a tunnel, say under the French Channel or under the North Sea between Scotland and Ireland, there's talk of building a 22 mile long bridge but the engineering seems impossible, why not just dig a tunnel.
Since the Boring Company isn't even 3yo with zero commercial track record, even Musk can't sell large projects, especially risky ones running under the seabed. Much depends on the Vegas success: construction is fast, cheap and simple, but these tunnels only serve EVs, bikes and ppl., not ICE cars (no large-scale air filtering) or electric buses (can't fit inside). The idea is Teslas then larger autonomous vehicles arriving every few seconds and moving ppl. around, and that concept is vastly different to public transportation today, fitting hundreds into metro cars etc. Cities and countries are just not too keen to be "first!!" testing new waters, same goes with hyperloop.

Then there are the legal hurdles: Tesla found out in LA that neighborhoods can veto digging under them even if it's safe, silent with no carbon emissions or significant traffic increase since tunnels would just run through under them, not divert overground traffic to the area. Still, ppl. always find ways to legally object projects they don't understand, and there are plenty of agitators spreading fears, when in reality, these tunnels are likely more earthquake-resistant than highways, plus just 10-20k EVs taken off in rush hour roads could significantly decrease jams and air pollution. Chicago isn't too keen going forward with the project either, so The Boring Company needs to prove its concept works, and with very positive number. Then maybe larger projects and at some point going under sea. But likely not this decade.
 
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BigBone

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Giga Berlin land work is halted as local Green League protesters succeed in higher court

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/feb/16/german-court-tesla-gigafactory-forest



Tesla and contracted land clearing companies seemingly got the green light last week to start removing trees for initial construction phase of Giga Berlin, however, an environmental group called Grüne Liga Brandenburg successfully petitioned at a higher level court order to halt the work. This is an area that was carpet bombed clean in WWII then used to grow trees for industrial purposes (cutting them and making card boards to be precise). Experts also made it clear that construction won't affect local water quality or have water shortages, however German and EU laws allow for any protester or civil group to ask for another independent research (out of someone else's pocket obviously), so on the very day trucks started to clear trees, work was halted.

It was a smartly timed move by whomever pulling the League's strings (use your imagination), as bird mating season starts in March, birds making nests and start families, so local law bans tree clearance for the next several months. Then again, everything is in order from an environmental standpoint and Tesla is planting 3 times as many trees as it removes, plus it's 99% sure that League won't be able to KO the plans, since, you know, factories need to be built somewhere and Brandenburg wants those jobs. But they can, and it seems will effectively push Tesla's 2021 Giga Berlin manufacturing plans into 2022, then again, benefiting other local parties. Who might they be?
 
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What do they do with old used up batteries? Isn't recycling them is pretty useless? Will there be giant toxic graveyards full of old Tesla batteries?
 

BigBone

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What do they do with old used up batteries? Isn't recycling them is pretty useless? Will there be giant toxic graveyards full of old Tesla batteries?
Here's what I've found: at a share holder meeting in 2018 Tesla CTO JB Straubel said that they are receiving and recycling every depleted battery pack. It's not that hard since once the pack is removed from the car, engineers have easy access to single cells such as this one:



In 2019 Tesla also announced an automated, closed-loop recycling system that extracts the lithium, cobalt, aluminium, copper and steel parts. Dunno, if that machine is up and running, probably not yet, but Tesla has only just started to receiving depleted Model S battery packs and it will be some time before they start arriving in bunches. I guess the machine will replace human disassembly then.



The good news or rather rumor is the million mile battery pack to be announced in April - long lasting dry electrode batteries could stay in the car several years longer, plus replacing toxic liquid parts with solid ones would make recycling cleaner and easier. Once again, April's battery day can't come soon enough.
 
May 7, 2016
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Here's what I've found: at a share holder meeting in 2018 Tesla CTO JB Straubel said that they are receiving and recycling every depleted battery pack. It's not that hard since once the pack is removed from the car, engineers have easy access to single cells such as this one:



In 2019 Tesla also announced an automated, closed-loop recycling system that extracts the lithium, cobalt, aluminium, copper and steel parts. Dunno, if that machine is up and running, probably not yet, but Tesla has only just started to receiving depleted Model S battery packs and it will be some time before they start arriving in bunches. I guess the machine will replace human disassembly then.



The good news or rather rumor is the million mile battery pack to be announced in April - long lasting dry electrode batteries could stay in the car several years longer, plus replacing toxic liquid parts with solid ones would make recycling cleaner and easier. Once again, April's battery day can't come soon enough.
Good stuff
Id still imagine there would be some waste... if they can figure out to recycle it completely and not pollute shit in the process then that's great news.
 
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BigBone

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Ooops, looks like the Falcon 9 1st stage booster missed the drone ship this time, safely touched down near it on water so could be salvaged. It's a rare miss. There was some valve issue yesterday so perhaps not all Merlin engines functioned 100%, tho the booster successfully put the next batch of Starlink satellites into proper orbit and they are deployed as planned, we'll see soon if they caught the fairing halves.

 

BigBone

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All right, so today's launch pushed Falcon 9's limits as SpaceX attempted (and completed) a direct injection of the Starlink satellites into an elliptical orbit. This might've meant a little more fuel and larger distance of return for the B1056 first stage, in which case it had to deal with more heat and faster speeds upon reentry. Falcon Heavy's middle booster gave SpaceX problems before due to this.


Ppl. also noticed some debris separating from first stage just before T + 6 minutes, tho someone under the name of Elon Musk posted on YouTube that it was just some binding wire between stages. This was the trusted B1056 booster's 4th mission with 3 successful landings before, as a matter of fact, it's been very long since a first stage missed the landing.


It did touch down about 20-50 meters away just by looking at the drone ship cam, as light grey smoke (and not fireballs or black fume) appears on the right at T + 08:43, and they even called landing leg deployment. B1056 just decided to gently splash down a little off the ship and send same water over his buddy, for whatever reason. Could be Merlin engine or cold gas thrusters issue, perhaps SW/giro miscalculation.



A pity, this would've been a record 50th landing of the first stage booster, but the satellites are in intended orbit. On the next Starlink mission maybe.
 
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Broxi

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I'll throw this up here for anyone with absolutely zero to do one day...


Haven't watched it yet but it's 3.5 hr long interview with Musk.
 
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BigBone

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Dunno how Starship is supposed to work out. Those metal rings are so thin they literally dent due to winds!



Now I know cryogenic hardening and loading up for launch will add significant structural strength, and steel is durable. But Starship needs to be super thin to do the thrust/weight numbers and this thing is supposed to blast through our atmosphere, take a round trip to Moon/Mars, lift off again, do the round trip back, enter out thick hot atmosphere at huge velocity, turn around mid-air and perform propulsive landing with dozens on board and no escape system? :lol: How about no?



P. S. Please don't throw up here @Broxi thx!
 
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Broxi

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Jul 24, 2012
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Dunno how Starship is supposed to work out. Those metal rings are so thin they literally dent due to winds!



Now I know cryogenic hardening and loading up for launch will add significant structural strength, and steel is durable. But Starship needs to be super thin to do the thrust/weight numbers and this thing is supposed to blast through our atmosphere, take a round trip to Moon/Mars, lift off again, do the round trip back, enter out thick hot atmosphere at huge velocity, turn around mid-air and perform propulsive landing with dozens on board and no escape system? :lol: How about no?



P. S. Please don't throw up here @Broxi thx!
Yep, I don't like the stainless as a material for starship and the expectations of this thing seem far-fetched... if they pull it off, I will never doubt another thing that comes out of SpaceX's mouth.
 
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BigBone

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Interesting news from China via Reuters: Tesla's may be readying to use CATL cobalt-free lithium iron phosphate batteries for locally made cars

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tesla-china-electric-exclusive/exclusive-tesla-in-talks-to-use-catls-cobalt-free-batteries-in-china-made-cars-sources-idUSKBN20C0RP

Even though Tesla is becoming more and more like a battery / energy company, they are very tight lipped about tech and still only expected to share limited data of the innovations come April's battery and drive train investor day. While Maxwell's dry electrode lithium-ion tech manufactured by Tesla is expected to be announced (right now only Panasonic is supplying Tesla cars with batteries, tho the latter owns the chemistry blueprint), Tesla has partnered up with LG Chem (South Korea) and CATL (China).

And now the rumor is: the latter is readying lithium iron phosphate battery tech rather than more expensive and environmentally unfriendly cobalt-based (nickel-cobalt-aluminum and nickel-manganese-cobalt cells). Elon himself set a goal to achieve cobalt-free batteries in the next several years. CATL is rumored to significantly up Tesla's battery capacity AND Elon said in the podcast above that local battery production is just months away, and this could further cut cost and increase margins in China compared to Fremont. Perhaps this will also be discussed in April.

10047

P.S. those Starship SN1 dents look maaad!
 
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