Elon Musk

Musk: ‘It won’t be long’ until the Model S goes 400 miles on a charge

“We’re rapidly approaching a 400-mile range for Model S,” Tesla chief Elon Musk has revealed during a conference call following the company’s Q4 2019 financial results announcement. “So, it won’t be long before Model S has a 400-mile range.” Musk made the revelation when he was asked when the Model S and X vehicles would switch to Tesla’s newer battery cells, which are being used for its Model 3 vehicles.

Apparently, instead of switching the batteries inside the current versions of the more expensive vehicles, Tesla decided to work on the chemistry of the cells they’re using. Musk said the core chemistry inside those cells “has improved many times over the years” and that the company is “pretty happy” with their energy content. That said, the automaker is slated to launch a higher-performance “Plaid” Model S with larger battery packs later this year.

Tesla’s long range Model S is already a range leader in the US. The company’s website lists its range as 373 miles, but Musk says the cars it’s currently manufacturing will actually be able to run for 380 miles on a single charge — Tesla simply hasn’t gotten around to updating the EPA number. While a 400-mile range may not really be necessary, seeing as Tesla continues to expand its customers’ charging options, it may help show those on the fence about buying EVs that they can be as flexible as gas-powered cars.

This story originally appeared on Engadget.

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Elon Musk, the boring company

First underground traffic tunnel could open in Las Vegas this year, Elon Musk says


Leave it to Elon Musk to inject some life into the news desert that is the holiday season. In his guise as CEO of tunnel-boring company, The Boring Company, Musk got the ball rolling with a Twitter poll gauging support for building “super safe, earthquake-proof tunnels under cities to solve traffic” and wrapped it up by saying that he hopes to have the first section completed in Las Vegas in 2020.

Musk said on Twitter that the Boring Co. is completing its first commercial “Loop” tunnel in Sin City, stretching about a mile from the Las Vegas Convention Center to the Strip, “then will work on other projects.” He further elaborated: “These would be road tunnels for zero emissions vehicles only — no toxic fumes is the key. Really, just an underground road, but limited to EVs (from all auto companies). This is not in place of other solutions, eg light rail, but supplemental to them.”

Autoblog unsuccessfully sought confirmation from the Boring Co., but a spokesperson from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority told CNN the 2020 deadline was in line with previous projections and would mean it could be open in time for the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show. The company has said the Las Vegas project will feature two mile-long tunnels that will transport passengers on skateboard-like autonomous platforms at up to 155 mph. It’s also working on projects in Chicago and Baltimore.

Musk had originally said the Vegas tunnel could be completed by the end of 2019, but digging reportedly only got under way in November.

Predictably, Musk drew a receptive audience via his Twitter poll, but he also stoked backlash from many users, who quipped that what he was describing would be better suited as a subway system and that the Tesla CEO was simply doubling down on private car use, not finding solutions to traffic congestion.

As other outlets have noted, the tunnels as currently designed are wide enough for only one car at a time, so there would likely be congestion at tunnel entry and exit points. And there is no word on what it would cost to use such tunnels, though the company says they’ll be “comparable to or lower than current public transpiration fares for pedestrians.” Given that electric vehicles — and especially Teslas — are already expensive, is what Musk is proposing simply a way for well-heeled motorists to avoid the unpleasantries of surface traffic?

There are still a lot of ifs surrounding Musk’s tunnel vision. The Boring Co. says it’s targeting 4,000 vehicles per hour at 155 mph for each tunnel that it builds, which is a small fraction of the kind of traffic seen in major U.S. cities. Its goal is to decrease the cost of boring tunnels underground by a factor of more than 10, in part by reducing the diameter of tunnels and increasing the speed of the boring machine.

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Elon Musk, vernon unsworth

Unsworth’s lawyer calls for $190 million payment from Elon Musk

LOS ANGELES — Tesla founder Elon Musk should pay at least $190 million in damages for defaming a British cave explorer in tweets that suggested he was a pedophile and were like a “nuclear bomb,” the plaintiff’s lawyer said on Friday.

In his closing argument at Musk’s defamation trial, the lawyer for Vernon Unsworth said his client would feel the sting from Musk’s calling him a “pedo guy” for many years to come, affecting his relationships and job prospects, and jurors should teach the “billionaire bully” a lesson.

At least $150 million of the proposed payout would be punitive damages, which Unsworth’s lawyer L. Lin Wood said “would be a hard slap on the wrist” for Musk, who during the trial estimated his own net worth at $20 billion.

“He dropped a nuclear bomb on Vernon Unsworth,” Wood said, referring to Musk.

A lawyer for Musk will also deliver a closing argument on Friday and the three-man, five-woman jury may begin deliberating later in the day. The trial in federal court in Los Angeles began on Tuesday.

The case is believed to be the first major defamation lawsuit by a private individual to go to trial over tweets.

Musk could appeal if the jury finds him liable or imposes a large damages award.

Unsworth gained fame when he helped coordinate the rescue of a boys’ soccer team and its coach from a flooded Thailand cave, which was completed successfully on July 10, 2018.

Three days later, Unsworth gave an interview on CNN where he criticized Musk’s offer of a mini-submarine to help with the rescue as a “PR stunt” and that Musk could “stick his submarine where it hurts.”

Two days later, on July 15, 2018, Musk fired off the three tweets underlying the lawsuit, questioning Unsworth’s role in the rescue and calling him “pedo guy,” with no evidence.

In his own testimony, the 48-year-old Musk called the tweets an “off the cuff” response to viewing a replay of the interview.

He said it was perhaps borne of fatigue from spending 80 to 100 hours a week running Tesla, which makes electric cars, and SpaceX, the rocket company where the mini-submarine would have come from.

Unsworth, 64, testified on Thursday that his own insult was “not to Mr. Musk personally” and declined to apologize.

“I’m not sure how I need to apologize. It was my opinion at the time and I stand by that opinion,” Unsworth said when cross-examined by one of Musk’s lawyers.

The trial has revived discussion of Musk’s erratic behavior during 2018.

This included when he used Twitter to float a leveraged buyout proposal for Tesla that was nowhere near a reality, prompting a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit that he paid $20 million to settle.

For most of 2019, Musk, who has more than 29.9 million Twitter followers, has largely kept his public comments focused on Tesla’s new models and improved profitability and on the technical progress of his SpaceX aerospace company.

To win the case, Unsworth must prove Musk was negligent in publishing a falsehood that clearly identified him and caused him harm.

He does not need to show Musk acted with “actual malice,” which is much tougher to prove.

If jurors found Musk liable, their assessment of what he had been thinking would likely affect the amount of punitive damages they assess.

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Elon Musk

Jury says Elon Musk didn’t defame British cave diver as ‘pedo guy’

Elon Musk did not defame a British cave explorer when he called him “pedo guy” in an angry tweet, a Los Angeles jury found Friday.

Vernon Unsworth, who participated in the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped for weeks in a Thailand cave last year, had angered the Tesla CEO by belittling his effort to help with the rescue as a “PR stunt.”

Musk said the attack was unprovoked and he only meant the term as an insult for “creepy old man” and wasn’t literally calling Unsworth a pedophile.

Unsworth’s attorney suggested to a federal jury Friday that it award $190 million in damages to a British cave explorer who is suing Elon Musk for allegedly branding him as a pedophile during a Twitter spat.

Attorney Lin Wood said the suggested award would include $150 million as a “hard slap on the wrist” to punish Tesla CEO for what he said was akin to dropping an atomic weapon on his client.

“What in the world would it take to discourage Elon Musk from ever planting a nuclear bomb in the life of another person?” Wood said.

Musk, who testified his stock in Tesla and SpaceX is worth about $20 billion, contends that he was not literally calling Vernon Unsworth a pedophile when he referred to him as “pedo guy” on Twitter.

Musk’s lawyer told the jury the tweet was an insult provoked by Unsworth and did not rise to the level of defamation. Attorney Alex Spiro said Unsworth also failed to show actual damages.

A jury of five women and three men deliberated for less than an hour in the afternoon in U.S. District Court.

Unsworth had ridiculed Musk’s effort to help in the rescue by having engineers at his companies, including Space X and The Boring Co., develop a mini-submarine to transport the boys. Despite working around the clock to build the sub, Musk arrived in Thailand late in the rescue effort and the craft was never used.

Unsworth called it nothing more than a “PR stunt” and said Musk could stick the sub “where it hurts.”

In his closing argument, Wood called Musk a “billionaire bully” who lied when he claimed “pedo guy” only means “creepy old man” and said his apologies to Unsworth were insincere.

“When Elon Musk tweets something it goes around the world,” Wood said. “It can never be deleted.”

Unsworth testified that he had to sue Musk for defamation because if he didn’t, the allegation would seem true.

In his testimony, Musk insisted that the phrase he tweeted off-the-cuff “was obviously a flippant insult, and no one interpreted it to mean pedophile.”

Spiro mocked Unsworth’s claims that he had been shamed and humiliated and that the tweet effectively sentenced him to a life sentence without parole.

Spiro noted that Unsworth had been honored by the queen of England and the king of Thailand, had his photo taken next to British Prime Minister Theresa May and been asked to speak at schools and contribute to a children’s book, which showed that no one took Musk’s insult seriously.

“People accused of pedophilia don’t get celebrated by world leaders,” Spiro said. “Kings and queens and prime ministers don’t stand next to pedophiles.”

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Elon Musk, vernon unsworth

Elon Musk testifies at defamation trial he responded to ‘unprovoked attack’

LOS ANGELES — Elon Musk testified Tuesday that he was being insulting, not literal, when he called a British diver a pedophile in a tweet, prompting a defamation lawsuit from the man who helped rescue a dozen boys and their soccer coach from a flooded Thailand cave last year.

The Tesla CEO told jurors that he called Vernon Unsworth “pedo guy” because he was upset the diver had belittled his efforts to help by building a mini-submarine to transport the boys. Unsworth called it nothing more than a “PR stunt” and said Musk could stick the contraption “where it hurts.” The sub was never used.

“It was wrong and insulting, so I insulted him back,” the billionaire said in federal court in Los Angeles. “It was an unprovoked attack on what was a good-natured attempt to help the kids.”

Unsworth’s lawyers argue that Musk’s tweet overshadowed what should have been one of the diver’s proudest moments and left him no choice but to sue.

“Just as I hadn’t literally meant he was a pedophile, he didn’t want to shove a sub up my ass.”

At the time, Musk said he didn’t know Unsworth had helped with the rescue. He said his tweet wasn’t intended as an actual allegation.

“Just as I hadn’t literally meant he was a pedophile, he didn’t want to shove a sub up my ass,” Musk said, provoking snickers in the courtroom.

Unsworth is seeking unspecified damages for pain, suffering and emotional distress. The defense has resisted efforts to turn over documents showing Musk’s wealth but says his net worth exceeds $20 billion.

Musk’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, said earlier that Unsworth deserves nothing for what he called “joking, taunting tweets in a fight between men.”

The shame and mortification Unsworth said he experienced is undercut by the attention he received after the rescue, Spiro said, including honors from the Thai king and British prime minister and offers from agents and film crews.

“There’s a little more to this Twitter insult, and you’ll hear it,” Spiro told jurors.

Musk has apologized for lashing out at Unsworth and removed his tweet, but he also has defended using the phrase.

“‘Pedo guy’ was a common insult used in South Africa when I was growing up,” Musk said in a court declaration. “It is synonymous with ‘creepy old man’ and is used to insult a person’s appearance and demeanor.”

Unsworth’s lawyers laughed off that explanation, saying Musk responded to a question about whether he had accused Unsworth of being a pedophile with another tweet that said, “Bet ya a signed dollar it’s true.”

The diver’s lawyers also said Musk hired private investigators to dig up evidence Unsworth was a child molester, which they never found.

Musk suggested in emails to BuzzFeed that Unsworth was a “child rapist” and had moved to northern Thailand to take “a child bride who was about 12 years old at the time.” He provided no evidence.

The lawsuit is not the first time Musk’s tweets have landed him in hot water.

Musk and Tesla reached a $40 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission last year over allegations he misled investors with a tweet declaring he had secured financing to buy out the electric car maker. He agreed in the settlement to have future tweets about the company screened.

He went back to court on accusations he violated that agreement by tweeting a misleading figure about how many cars Tesla would manufacture this year. The SEC sought to hold him in contempt of court, which led to a new agreement imposing tighter controls on Musk’s tweets about the company.

The cave drama played out for more than two weeks in summer 2018.

Musk and engineers from his SpaceX rocket company custom-built a mini-submarine, which was heavily publicized but never used.

Unsworth, a diver and caving expert whose advice was considered crucial in the rescue operation, said the sub would never have fit in the cave.

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Elon Musk, tesla cybertruck

Elon Musk says Tesla has about 146,000 Cybertruck orders so far

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Saturday that there have been about 150,000 orders thus far for the electric carmaker’s Cybertruck, which was unveiled late on Thursday.

“146k Cybertruck orders so far, with 42% choosing dual, 41% tri & 17% single motor”, Musk said in a tweet, adding separately that the orders were achieved without any advertising or paid endorsements.

The launch of the Cybertruck pickup suffered a setback when its “armored glass” windows shattered in a much-anticipated unveiling. The overall look of the electric vehicle had worried Wall Street on Friday.

At the launch, Musk had taken aim at the design, power and durability of mainstream trucks, only to be shaken when the windows of Tesla’s new vehicle shattered while being tested.

The blunder overshadowed the launch, which was live-streamed from Los Angeles and made #cybertruck a trending word on Twitter.

Some Wall Street analysts praised the launch, but others doubted the futuristic design’s mass appeal.

With a starting price of $39,900, the Cybertruck’s angular body in gun-metal grey resembles an armored vehicle. Its website shows that an immediate payment of $100 is required to reserve an order for the Cybertruck. That means Tesla has collected roughly $14.6 million in reservations so far.

Tesla plans to start manufacturing the truck around late 2021.

The U.S. pickup truck market is one of the world’s most profitable vehicle segments and is dominated by Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

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cybertruck, cybrtrk, Elon Musk, tesla cybertruck, tesla pickup

Tesla Cybertruck livestream

The hype has been building for what feels like forever now, but tonight, we’ll finally get to see the Tesla electric pickup truck. It’s getting its big reveal at a live event in California, which you can watch here.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the pickup will be big — big enough that the late, great Andre the Giant could drive it. He’s also said it will be powerful, futuristic, and relatively affordable. “You should be able to buy a really great truck for $49K or less,” Musk once said.

Musk also said, “The goal is to be a better truck than an F-150 in terms of truck-like functionality and be a better sports car than a standard 911. That’s the aspiration.” We have our doubts about it being that great at the $49,000 level, but, of course, performance will improve by trim level and price point.

We’re also skeptical that this could be in customers’ garages anytime soon. Tesla still has the Semi and Model Y to roll out, and the company has had issues with production capacity in the past.

We’ll also find out tonight what the vehicle will actually be called, but all signs point to “Cybertruck.” Elon Musk has referred to it that way before, we recently learned that Tesla filed for trademarks of “Cybertruck” and “Cybrtrk,” and even the landing page for the livestream says”Cybertruck Unveil.” That would fit with his descriptions of it resembling something from “Tron” or “Blade Runner,” an aesthetic that could turn off traditional pickup customers in middle America (not that Musk cares what they think).

We’re hoping to get lots of information tonight, but Musk is notorious for leaving out details at these unveilings, so it could be a while before the complete picture of the truck’s features, capabilities, price breakdown and production plans comes together.

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