Elon Musk Speaks at AI Day 2022: Optimus Wears a Giga Texas “Don’t Mess With Tesla” Belt Buckle

Optimus robot wears the Giga Texas “Don’t Mess with Tesla” belt buckle. credit, Tesla.

Elon Musk is leading Tesla towards a bright future where the company is just as much an artificial intelligence company as it is a vehicle and energy company. 

Elon spoke Friday evening on September 30 at Tesla AI Day 2022 in Palo Alto, California and he introduced the world to an Optimus robot wearing a Giga Texas “Don’t Mess with Tesla” belt buckle. The belt buckle was first seen at the October 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders in which it was used to announce the moving of the Tesla HQ from California to Austin, Texas.

Elon’s unveiling of the new Optimus is also worth a big celebration, so it is appropriate the robot wears the belt buckle. This article highlights,

  • Optimus is designed to be useful, affordable, and made at scale
  • Optimus has great potential to transform civilization into a future of abundance
  • Tesla is structured so the public can ensure a safe future in regards to Optimus
  • A technical presentation followed by a Q & A reveals more about Optimus

Optimus: Useful, affordable, and made at scale

Elon Musk explains,

“Our goal is to make a useful humanoid robot as quickly as possible and we’ve also designed it using the same discipline that we used in designing the car, which is to design it for manufacturing such that it’s possible to make the robot at high volume at low cost, with high reliability.

That’s incredibly important, I mean, you’ve all seen very impressive humanoid robot demonstrations and that’s great but what are they missing?

They’re missing a brain and they don’t have the intelligence to navigate the world by themselves and they’re also very expensive and made in low volume, whereas Optimus is designed to be an extremely capable robot but made in very high volume, probably ultimately millions of units and it is expected to cost much less than a car.

I would say, probably less than $20,000, would be my guess.

The potential for Optimus is appreciated by very few people.” – Elon Musk

Optimus has great potential to transform civilization into a future of abundance

One day our civilization may be one of great abundance, as Elon Musk explains,

“The potential really boggles the mind, because you have to say what is an economy?

An economy is sort of productive entities times their productivity.

Capita times output, productivity per capita. But the point at which there’s not a limitation on capita, it’s not clear what an economy even means at that point!

Economy becomes quasi-infinite. So, taken to fruition, in the hopefully benign scenario, this means a future of abundance.

A future where there is no poverty, where you can have whatever you want in terms of products and services.

It really is a fundamental transformation of civilization as we know it.” – Elon Musk

Tesla is structured so the public can ensure a safe future in regards to Optimus

This important issue was emphasized by Elon Musk,

“Obviously, we want to make sure that transformation is a positive one, and safe.

But that’s also why I think Tesla, as an entity doing this, being a single class of stock publicly traded owned by the public is very important and should not be overlooked.

I think this is essential, because then, if the public doesn’t like what Tesla is doing, the public can buy shares in Tesla, and vote differently.

This is a big deal, like, it’s very important that I can’t just do what I want. It’s very important that the corporate entity that makes this happen, is something that the public can properly influence.

So I think the Tesla structure is ideal for that. Like I said, self-driving cars will certainly have a tremendous impact on the world.

I think they will improve the productivity of transport by at least a half order of magnitude, perhaps an order of magnitude, perhaps more.

Optimus has maybe a two order of magnitude potential improvement in economic output. It’s not clear what the limit actually even is. But we need to do this in the right way. We need to do it carefully, and safely and ensure that the outcome is one that is beneficial to civilization and one that humanity wants.

This is extremely important, obviously.” – Elon Musk

Elon Musk also explained to the audience that, 

“At Tesla, we really care about doing the right thing or are inspired to do the right thing, and really not pave the road to hell with good intentions and I think the road to hell is mostly paved with bad intentions, but every now and again, there’s a good intention in there.

We want to do the right thing.” – Elon Musk

Tesla Optimus humanoid robot. credit, Tesla.

A technical presentation followed by a Q & A reveals more about Optimus

You can watch the presentation on Tesla YouTube, and it may be best watched in parts as it is highly technical.

Prior to questions and answers from the audience, Elon explained,

“We really wanted to show the depth and breadth of Tesla and artificial intelligence, compute hardware, robotics actuators, and try to really shift the perception of the company away from … you know a lot of people think we’re just a car company, or we make cool cars, or whatever.

Most people have no idea that Tesla is arguably the leader in AI hardware and software and that we are building what is arguably the first, the most radical computer architecture since the Cray-1 supercomputer.

I think if you’re interested in developing some of the most advanced technology in the world that’s going to affect the world in a positive way, Tesla is the place to be.” – Elon Musk

Many interesting points were made during the 40-minute Q & A session, including,

  • There will be endless possibilities for Optimus, many different versions are planned
  • You will be able to have a conversation with Optimus
  • As a safety precaution, Optimus will not have over-the-air updates.  Optimus will have a safety off-switch
  • Optimus should be ready for customers in 3-5 years
  • Tesla may begin a monthly podcast to explain what is going on behind the scenes
Tesla Optimus humanoid robot. credit, Tesla.

CONCLUSION

The incredible new Tesla Optimus robot (wearing the Giga Texas “Don’t Mess with Tesla” belt buckle!) was unveiled on Tesla AI Day 2022 and it aims to be very affordable, made to a massive scale, and also very useful.

It has great potential to transform civilization into a future of abundance.

To ensure this is done right, Elon Musk explained that, “Obviously, we want to make sure that transformation is a positive one, and safe. But that’s also why I think Tesla, as an entity doing this, being a single class of stock publicly traded owned by the public is very important and should not be overlooked. I think this is essential, because then, if the public doesn’t like what Tesla is doing, the public can buy shares in Tesla, and vote differently. This is a big deal, like, it’s very important that I can’t just do what I want. It’s very important that the corporate entity that makes this happen, is something that the public can properly influence. So I think the Tesla structure is ideal for that.”

How do you think an Optimus Robot could make your life more abundant?

Big Sur Drive, California. credit,  Iris Papillon on Unsplash

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Read Elon Musk’s essay on technology for a better future Elon Musk is optimistic, lives with a sense of urgency, and takes action daily to make the future good. His essay is an inspiration to all people, and here he talks about exciting uses for the Optimus humanoid robot!

Who will Benefit once Tesla Autonomy is Solved? I believe a world where autonomy is the norm is closer than we realize.  This article attempts to answer the question, who will benefit once Tesla autonomy is solved? 

If You Haven’t Used Autopilot Yet, Why Not? (3 Essentials) This article is for everyone who has ever thought, “I love my Tesla, but I will never do Autopilot, it’s too scary.”  I am with you, it can be scary. 

Gail Alfar, author. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – October 2, 2022. All Rights Reserved. 

If You Haven’t Used Autopilot Yet, Why Not? (3 Essentials)

Tesla vehicles using Autopilot, credit Tesla

I’ve been using Tesla Autopilot with every drive since 2019, and testing Full Self Driving beta (FSD beta) daily since June 2022.

This article is for everyone who has ever thought, “I love my Tesla, but I will never do Autopilot, it’s too scary.”  I am with you, it can be scary. 

This article covers 3 areas,

  1. Tesla Autopilot is safer than a human driving
  2. Enabling Autopilot during a drive is easy
  3. You can use Autopilot on your daily drives and disable it anytime during a drive

Tesla Autopilot is safer than a human driving

Elon Musk had a conversation on the Lex Fridman podcast about the processes that happen when a human drives,

"When you drive down the road, and try to think about what your brain is actually doing, consciously, it’s like, you’ll see a car, because you don’t have cameras, you don’t have eyes in the back of your head, or the side, so you say like, you’re basically, your head is like a, you basically have like two cameras on a slow gimbal.  
And eyesight is not that great, okay? 
Human eyes are… and people are constantly distracted and thinking about things and texting and doing all sorts of things they shouldn’t do in a car or changing the radio station, having arguments, haha. 
Like, when’s the last time you looked right and left?  Or rearward? Or even diagonally forward to actually refresh your vector space? 
So, you’re glancing around and what your mind is doing is trying to distill the relevant vectors, basically objects with a position in motion, and then editing that down to the least amount that’s necessary for you to drive."  Elon Musk

When Tesla Autopilot is engaged, all 8 cameras on the vehicle measure the surroudings without any distractions and use pure vision to drive as safe as possible. Looking into the future, Elon continues his conversation with Lex and says,

"The cars will maneuver with super human ability and reaction time, much faster than a human.
I think, over time, the Autopilot, Full Self Driving will be capable of maneuvers that are far more than what James Bond could do in like the best movie type of thing. It’s like, impossible maneuvers that a human couldn’t do." Elon Musk

The Tesla 2021 Impact Report emphasizes how much safer Autopilot is,

“Tesla vehicles are engineered for safety and when Autopilot is engaged safety is enhanced. 
 In 2021, we recorded 0.22 crashes for every million miles driven in which drivers were using Autopilot technology (Autosteer and active safety features). 
For drivers who were not using Autopilot technology (no Autosteer and active safety features), we recorded 0.77 crashes for every million miles driven. 
By comparison, NHTSA’s most recent data shows that in the United States there are 1.81 automobile crashes for every million miles driven.”

Avoiding serious accidents when car is in Autopilot: 2 examples

In these 2 examples, major accidents were avoided because Tesla’s cameras and software slowed down the vehicle to avoid hitting cars that ran red lights. In both examples, the drivers did not notice the problem as quickly as Autopilot did.

Tesla’s software reacted quickly to avoid an accident at an intersection. credit @parzar1 on twitter who is testing FSD beta. Autopilot should react similar in this scenario.
Watch this video as Tesla vehicle slows down to avoid an accident.
I am sharing a personal experience with you.  After picking up a friend, I engaged Autopilot and we were waiting at a red light.  
As the light turned green, my Tesla moved into the intersection and my car suddenly made a warning sound and came to a stop.  
We did not see why until a Nissan zoomed right in front of us.  
My Tesla resumed moving as if nothing at all had happened.
We were shook, but the vehicle was not, and Autopilot got us safely home.  
My dashcam footage below shows the car pulling into the intersection while the light was red for them.  
You can see the Nissan running the red light below. 
Tesla’s software saw a car run a red light before the driver did, avoiding a major crash. credit, the author.
This chart created by Tesla for their 2021 Impact Report shows how much safer Autopilot is.

Enabling Autopilot during a drive is easy

Now that you may be considering using your car’s Autopilot, here are my simple suggestions for your Model Y or 3

  1. Start driving and then press down TWICE rapidly on the stalk.  Take your foot off the gas pedal and keep your hands on the wheel enough so the wheel FEELS slight torque.
  2. Practice also DISENGAGING the Autopilot by tugging on the steering wheel until you are comfortable with toggling between using it and not using it.  
  3. Use Autopilot as much as possible.  You will get better at using it with practice. Like any new technology, it will soon become second nature to you and you will master it before you know it.  
  4. I recommend watching the Tesla videos that explain it, here. And always, pay attention and be prepared to take over when using Autopilot or testing FSD beta.
Tesla Youtube explains how to engage Autopilot by pressing down TWICE rapidly on the stalk.

Let’s go back to my example above where we avoided getting T-boned in an intersection. It is important to engage Autopilot as much as possible when crossing through any intersections.  Accidents commonly happen in intersections so we all need maximum safety enabled. 

There were 35,766 fatalities and 1,593,390 injuries from crashes in 2020.
T-bone (angle) crashes led to 6,432 deaths in 2020.  
There were a total of 5,982 pedestrian fatalities from being struck by a car, NHTSA reported in their Overview of Motor Vehicle Crashes 2020.
NHTSA reported a staggering 42,915 fatalities from crashes in 2021 in their September 2022 report.*

Having Autopilot engaged will protect pedestrians from harm.  The 8 cameras on your Tesla capture images and weave them together to tell the computer the safest way to navigate when people are seen. Both pedestrian and T-bone type crashes cause the most deaths, and Autopilot helps us avoid these tragedies.

In my article, “Who Will Benefit Once Tesla Autonomy is Solved?”, I wrote about how Tesla expects the safety level of autonomous cars to be 10 times safer than non-autonomous cars.

As you master Autopilot you will enjoy a higher level of safety.

CONCLUSION

  • Tesla Autopilot may seem scary at first, and it is worth getting over that fear. This is because if you drive a Tesla without using Autopilot, there are 0.77 crashes recorded for every million miles driven. But if you drive your Tesla with Autopilot engaged, there are only 0.22 crashes for every million miles driven.
  • To enable Autopilot, just press down twice rapidly on the stalk. I am thankful I did this before passing through an intersection where I was almost T-boned by a car who ran a red light.
  • In time, you will master using Autopilot as you learn to master any new technology. Toggling in and out of Autopilot is worth learning so that you can enjoy the highest level of safety for you, your family, friends and pedestrians around you.
Austin Texas by Christofer Sherman photography prints.

Want to read more excellent articles? I suggest…

Who Will Benefit Once Tesla Autonomy is Solved? I believe a world where autonomy is the norm is closer than we realize.  This article attempts to answer the question, who will benefit once Tesla autonomy is solved? 

5 Takeaways from Tesla’s 2022 Shareholder Meeting This article features highlights of what Elon Musk said about Tesla Gigafactories, AI, Cybertruck, Optimus robot, how we can help support the mission, and more.

Reasons Why Tesla Has the Best Factory Safety in the Industry This article will bring you along with me as we look into how Tesla has become a leader in job site safety in manufacturing. Our focus will be on statements about workplace safety from Elon Musk at the 2022 Shareholder’s meeting and the Tesla 2021 Impact Report. 

Meet the author, Gail Alfar. Taken at Giga Texas Cyber Roundup, August 4, 2022.

Gail Alfar, author, with editing by Abraham Alfar. Thank you to Chuck Cook for consultation on this article. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – September 24, 2022 this article was revised on September 25. –  All Rights Reserved. * NHTSA September 2022 report can be found at https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/813376

Who will Benefit once Tesla Autonomy is Solved?

Taking Al for a ride with Tesla Full Self Driving Beta, Whole Mars Catalog Youtube

Last week, my commute to work across Austin using Tesla Full Self Driving Beta version 10.69.2 was flawless! I continue to experience this daily.

I believe a world where autonomy is the norm is closer than we realize.  This article attempts to answer the question, who will benefit once Tesla autonomy is solved? 

  • Anyone who is unable or does not want to own a car
  • The Elderly and other People in need 
  • Commercial Industry
  • Mars building team 
  • Millions of people will avoid fatalities and injuries 
  • Tesla Humanoid Robot

 

Anyone who is unable or does not want to own a car

Tesla S Interior, credit, Tesla Gallery

“Self-driving electric cars will be all that matters. Gas car without autonomy will be like riding a horse & using a flip phone. That still happens, but it’s niche.” July 2022 – Elon Musk 

Three of my kids use Uber to get to work and school instead of owning a car, but the cost is high for this service. Going to work daily in a shared autonomous vehicle (a dedicated Robotaxi) will cost much less than today’s Uber or Lyft because an autonomous vehicle will not have to have a person at the wheel.

When costs to commute in dedicated Robotaxis become low enough, it can follow that many people will decide not to buy a vehicle.

The commute as we know it can be transformed when autonomy is solved.

Tim Urban tweeted, “The big story is hard to see when you’re inside of it. We’re all this wrong about something right now.” Tim quoted a newspaper clip from December 2000 from the Daily Mail which read “Internet may be just a passing fad as millions give up on it.” The article cited ‘experts’ from the Virtual Society project, which published a report saying that “predictions that the Internet would revolutionize the way society works have proved wildly inaccurate.”

So, as weird as it may sound, it may become niche to own a car at all in the future.  Can we imagine a future where the majority of vehicles are autonomous?  

“When the car is FSD without supervision, ie Robotaxi, you’ll be able to earn far more than monthly lease/loan cost by allowing others to use it. Managing a small fleet of Robotaxis will be a career for many & much better than driving a single car. “ October 2019 – Elon Musk

The Elderly and Other People in Need

I reached out to several Tesla owners and others for ideas, and many agree that when Tesla autonomy is solved, it can benefit the elderly and the disabled.

“I am completely blind, and would love to walk you through an average day, and how many times an autonomous vehicle would be of assistance.” rlloken 

“It will give the elderly greater independence for longer.  Also opens doors for the physically disabled folks who might not be able to drive currently.”  Wanda Hudson 

“People with physical disabilities and medical conditions such as seizure disorders & visual impairment would greatly benefit from such incredible technology. And those who depend on others to get places. For many, it will be independence they never experienced before.” IheartTesla  

Tesla autonomy has to be able to work on roads that the car hasn’t been on before and in situations where there is no connectivity. This will help many people who live in rural areas to gain independence if they cannot own a car.

War situations put people in great danger and autonomous vehicles could help bring supplies and rescue people. Tesla autonomy has to be able to work in millions of unpredictable situations and that will include places with unrest. 

Commercial Industry

Tesla Semi, credit, Tesla Gallery

Autonomous Tesla Semi will be a huge benefit to businesses and allow the trucker to perform other valuable tasks instead of tedious driving. 

Autonomy will lead to lower costs for production and delivery of all goods and food throughout the entire supply chain.  Delivering these essentials will be less expensive. 

Mars Building Team

Credit Arash Malik Cybertruck is like a Mars Rover for Earth.

Elon Musk tweeted right after the official Cybertruck unveiling in Nov 2019,

“Tesla Cybertruck (pressurized edition) will be official truck of Mars.” 

I believe that in our lifetime, humans will travel to Mars.  When the Mars building team gets there they can all benefit from autonomous Cybertrucks that will help deliver and haul in extreme conditions.  In this sense, these heavy-duty vehicles can protect human lives and help build the first outpost on Mars.

Just as there is a small window of opportunity for humans to make it to Mars, there is also a similar small window of time where full autonomy can be solved.  Now is that time. 

Millions of People will Avoid Fatalities and Injuries

Every day Tesla gets closer to solving autonomy, and we see vehicle safety improvements.  Tesla does not intend to create autonomy that is specific to keeping a car in its lane or even lane changes.  Autonomy for Tesla is a generalized solution.

"I definitely want talented people who are working on AI to consider working at Tesla because I think we’re solving an important part of AI, and one that can ultimately save millions of lives and prevent tens of millions of serious injuries by driving an order of magnitude safer than people.” 
Elon Musk (at 2022 Sharholder's Meeting)

If you have ever taken care of kids you know how frightening it is when a child runs into a busy street.  It is heartbreaking to hear about a life ending in a car crash.  

There were 35,766 fatalities and 1,593,390 injuries from crashes in 2020 (source data NHTSA) There were a total of 5,982 pedestrian fatalities from being struck by a car (source data NHTSA). Distracted driving led to 3,142 deaths in 2020, NHTSA reported, “The number of fatalities in distraction-affected crashes, i.e., a crash involving at least one driver who was distracted, was 3,142 or 8.1 percent of all fatalities in 2020. This represents a 0.7-percent increase from 3,119 in 2019.” – Overview of Motor Vehicle Crashes 2020 

Tesla expects the safety level of autonomous cars to be 10 times safer than non-autonomous cars.

Safety is emphasized in this excerpt from Tesla’s blog

“In the US, there is one automotive fatality every 86 million miles across all vehicles from all manufacturers. 
For Tesla, there is one fatality, including known pedestrian fatalities, every 320 million miles in vehicles equipped with Autopilot hardware. 
If you are driving a Tesla equipped with Autopilot hardware, you are 3.7 times less likely to be involved in a fatal accident. 
Tesla Autopilot does not prevent all accidents – such a standard would be impossible – but it makes them much less likely to occur. 
It unequivocally makes the world safer for the vehicle occupants, pedestrians and cyclists. 
No one knows about the accidents that didn’t happen, only the ones that did. 
The consequences of the public not using Autopilot, because of an inaccurate belief that it is less safe, would be extremely severe. 
There are about 1.25 million automotive deaths worldwide. 
If the current safety level of a Tesla vehicle were to be applied, it would mean about 900,000 lives saved per year. 
We expect the safety level of autonomous cars to be 10 times safer than non-autonomous cars.”

When Elon Musk spoke at the ONS 2022 conference in Norway, he emphasized the importance of having Tesla cars being able to do self-driving when he answered the question, “what keeps you up at night?”  he stated,


“But I am fundamentally an engineer or a technologist and so the two technologies I am focused on to ideally, get done before the end of the year are getting our Starship to orbit, which I think is important for expanding consciousness beyond earth and life beyond Earth. And then, having the Tesla cars being able to do self driving.
So have self driving and wide release at least In the USA, and hopefully, potentially in Europe, depending on regulatory approval.” – Elon Musk

Tesla Humanoid Robot

Tesla Humanoid Robot visual from Tesla AI Day 2021 August 19, 2021

Tesla is developing a helpful humanoid robot that will rely on the same technology that is available in every vehicle. At Tesla AI Day 2021, Elon Musk said,

It's around 5’ 8”, has sort of a screen where the head is for useful information, it’s otherwise basically got an autopilot system in it so its got cameras, about eight cameras, full self-driving computer, and makes use of all of the same tools that we use in the car. 

Things that I think are really hard about having a useful humanoid robot is, can it navigate through the world without being explicitly trained?  I mean without explicit line-by-line instructions? 

Tesla AI Day Part 2 on September 30 will be very interesting as it will reveal the incredible progress as well as the challenges of building a humanoid robot whose purpose is to help humans in a world built by humans.

CONCLUSION

This quote from Tim Urban invites us all to imagine the future. “The big story is hard to see when you’re inside of it. We’re all this wrong about something right now.”

When Tesla Autonomy is solved, people of all ages can benefit. This article highlights these 6 ways:

  • The elderly and also the many talented people with disabilities that make it so they cannot drive
  • People who live in areas of unrest or war and even in rural areas
  • All of us because we depend on the commercial industry and its supply chain. When this becomes driven by autonomy, it will usher in a new era
  • We will go to Mars one day, and having an autonomous fleet of pressurized Cybertrucks there will help get the hard work done
  • Fatalities and injuries will be reduced by a large margin, saving millions of lives. Tesla expects the safety level of autonomous cars to be 10 times safer than non-autonomous cars
  • People will benefit from a high-functioning Telsa bot fleet, which relies on the same tools as Tesla cars

Will you benefit once Tesla Autonomy is solved?

Austin Texas Sunset by Christofer Sherman.

This article is part one of a series.  It is written before  “Tesla AI Day II.” We’ll look at this question again after the September 30 event. Tesla and SpaceX remain the top two most desirable places to work for engineers and hire some of the smartest people in the world to work on their AI Team.

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5 Takeaways from Tesla’s 2022 Shareholder Meeting, read what Elon Musk said at the August 2022 Shareholders Meeting about Tesla Autonomy and the Tesla Bot.

Read Elon Musk’s essay on technology for a better future which is Elon Musk’s entire essay composed for China Cyberspace magazine. In it, he discusses the incredible goals Tesla has for the Tesla Bot.

Elon Musk Interview with Xenia Wickett in Norway (ONS 2022 Stavanger Conference August 29th) Less than 25 min long and packed with information (full interview) this is the readable version of this fabulous interview, in which Elon Musk got to the main points very quickly. Amazing!

Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This article was created by Gail Alfar with the goal to inspire you to support the important advancement of generalized autonomy as a force for good. The header photo is by @BLKMDL3 with permission. All Rights Reserved. September 18, 2022

Elon Musk Conversation with Reporters (Only 4 minutes long and packed with information)

Elon Musk with reporters, Stavenger, Norway. credit video image from TV 2 Norway.

You may notice that it is rare for Elon Musk to talk with reporters.  In a gesture of love for Norway and it’s people, he stopped and had an informal conversation with reporters outside under the beautiful trees on his way into the ONS 2022 Conference (on August 29, in Stavanger). Here is the conversation and major highlights. I also share my informal outlook at the end of the article.

  • Gratitude from Elon Musk to Tesla owners in Norway
  • Why we need to maintain oil and gas production 
  • Is it possible for Norway to produce more wind and hydropower?
  • Norway possibly storing wind power from North Sea in large battery packs 
  • World’s Biggest Challenges: Underpopulation and transition to sustainable energy
  • Underpopulation is at a crisis level

Elon Musk visits Norway to show appreciation for the support of the Norwegian people for electric vehicles

Elon Musk: Hello everyone, I look forward to speaking today.

Reporter: Why did you come to Stavanger?

Elon Musk: Actually I came in appreciation for the support of the Norwegian people for electric vehicles. I wanted to say thank you to the people of Norway for their tremendous support for sustainable transport over the many years. 

Reporter: What’s your message for today?

Elon Musk: Actually I came in appreciation for the support of the Norwegian people for electric vehicles. I think I’m going to maybe answer some questions and provide some ideas for the transition to a sustainable energy world, But, like I said, the reason that I’m here is in appreciation for the support that the people of Norway have provided for electric vehicles, so once again, thank you very much for that! 

Civilization depends on energy and would crumble without it

Reporter: What do you think about the oil and gas now? Should we use it?

Elon Musk: I think, realistically, we do need to use oil and gas in the short term, because otherwise, civilization would crumble. So, in order for civilization to continue to function, we do need oil and gas. And I think actually, especially these days, with the Russia sanctions, we do need to provide oil and gas to keep civilization running. I think any reasonable person would conclude that. While at the same time accelerating the advent of sustainable energy.

Winters in Norway may benefit from stationary battery packs storing wind, hydropower

Reporter: So, Norway should explore more?

Elon Musk: I think some additional exploration is warranted at this time, and also continue to support the transition to electric vehicles.

I was sort of wondering if it’s possible for Norway to produce more perhaps hydropower, and wind power as well? And potentially export that to Southern Europe?

But overall, I’m very glad to be here and I’m looking forward to a lovely day, and I always have a great time here in Norway.

Reporter: Would you consider yourself endorsing oil and gas?

Elon Musk: No, ha ha, I’ve got to focus on sustainable energy, electric vehicles, stationary battery packs, and solar.

But, one of the things I was wondering, is if there might be sort of the North Sea, places where it’s very windy, there might be a potential for a tremendous amount of wind power.  And then, when combined with stationary battery packs, this could be a very strong sustainable energy source in the winter. So, that seems like something that would be worth exploring as well.

Reporter: You were here in 2014, what is the biggest difference now?

Elon Musk: I don’t know, Norway looks great, ha ha! I mean I just got here, so… I don’t know, I love Norway, it’s a great place! 

World’s Biggest Challenges: Underpopulation crisis and transition to sustainable energy

Elon Musk also met with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on the sidelines of the ONS 2022 Conference. credit The Brussels Times

Reporter: What is the biggest challenge for the world right now?

Elon Musk: Definitely, one of the biggest challenges that civilization has ever faced, is the transition to sustainable energy.  And having a sustainable energy economy, so obviously, we’ve got that. But that will take some decades to complete.

And then one of my sort of less obvious things to be concerned about, is the birth rate. You know, I think it’s important that people have enough babies to support civilization. and we don’t sort of dwindle away. Because they say like, civilization may end with a bang or a whimper. and if we don’t have enough kids, then we will die with a whimper in adult diapers. and that will be depressing, and… 

Reporter: So make more babies?

Elon Musk: Yes, make more babies! At least make enough babies to sustain the population. you know, we don’t want the population to drive so low that we just eventually die, you know? haha 

Sorry, I’ve got to go inside guys. 

Reporter: Energy crisis, climate crisis, and also the war crisis?

Elon Musk: And the baby crisis! Let’s not forget the baby crisis. 

Reporter: More babies means more demand for energy.

Elon Musk: Trust me, the baby crisis is a big deal.

Elon then said goodbye to the press and was soon talking to Xenia Wickett inside at the ONS 2022 Conference.  You may enjoy that interview here, on Elon Musk Interview with Xenia Wickett in Norway (ONS 2022 Stavanger Conference August 29th) Less than 25 min long and packed with information (full interview)

CONCLUSION

Elon Musk at ONS 2022 Conference. credit Twitter user @kapsarc

Norway is a leader in the support of EVs. On his way to the ONS 2022 Conference, Elon Musk expressed gratitude for this, saying “I came in appreciation for the support of the Norwegian people for electric vehicles.” Norway has promoted EVs by giving certain benefits at different times to EV owners. (These have included lowering taxes on EVs, some free parking and toll road access for EV owners.) About 75% of NEW cars sold in Norway are electric and most are Teslas. Tesla vehicles are also known to perform well in cold weather.

I agree that keeping civilization running smoothly depends on energy, and today that has to include gas and oil.  Norway currently supplies about 22% of the EU’s natural gas demand using subsea pipelines.  Elon Musk said he does not specifically endorse this, and said more exploration is warranted due to the Russian sanctions.  He did emphasize that he wonders if Norway could produce more hydropower and windpower and export that to Southern Europe. He also said that stationary battery packs could store wind power from the North Sea and that could provide Norway with power in the winter. 

When asked what is the biggest challenge for the world right now, Elon spoke about both the transition to sustainable energy and underpopulation.  He said, “Definitely, one of the biggest challenges that civilization has ever faced, is the transition to sustainable energy.”

For the last 70 years, fertility rates have significantly decreased worldwide, with a total 50% decline, according to numbers from Our World in Data. Elon spoke with conviction about the low birth rate, saying “I think it’s important that people have enough babies to support civilization. and we don’t sort of dwindle away.” He later called it a baby crisis and urged people not to forget that the baby crisis is a big deal.  I agree with Elon Musk and hope to offer my personal encouragement in a future article, written from the viewpoint of a mom with 5 kids.

If this topic interests you, you may also read  Elon Musk: Discussion About Underpopulation.  I think you’ll enjoy it!

Watch the video of Elon Musk talking to reporters here. (credit, Tesla Hype)

Tesla Model 3 | Norway by Minimal Duck.
Boats in the harbor of Stavenger, Norway on the day of ONS 2022 and Elon Musk’s arrival, credit Juliet Dunlop.

Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This article was created by Gail Alfar with the goal to preserve this interview in text or written form for the purpose of 1. education and 2. preserving the brilliant insight and words of Elon Musk. All Rights Reserved. September 11, 2022

Elon Musk Interview with Xenia Wickett in Norway (ONS 2022 Stavanger Conference August 29th) Less than 25 min long and packed with information (full interview)

Arriving to Norway: Elon Musk on way to ONS 2022 Conference. cr. Jarle Aasland / Stavanger Aftenblad

Elon Musk spoke at the ONS 2022 Conference in Norway in a less than 25-minute interview with Xenia Wickett. I hope you will enjoy this as much as I have, its packed with so much important information. Elon got to the main points quickly, making this a fabulous interview.

Main Points in Interview

  • Thoughts About Trust (Twitter)
  • Taking The Set Of Actions That Are Most Likely To Lead To A Better Future
  • 3 Pillars Of A Sustainable Energy Future: Sustainable Energy Generation, Stationary Battery Packs, Electric Vehicles
  • Sustainable Rocket Propellant
  • Looking Years Ahead At The Auto Industry
  • What Are The Limiting Factors Governing The Rate At Which We Can Transition To Sustainable Energy?
  • Update On Master Plan Part 3
  • Is There A Limiting Function To The Transition To Sustainable Energy?
  • China, Gigafactory Expansion, The Fundamental Good Of Tesla
  • Approach To Risk, The Riskiest Thing Is No Action 
  • Ukraine
  • Caution in Developing Artificial Intelligence
  • Two Goals: Starship To Orbit And Self-Driving Cars 
August 29, 2022 Elon Musk speaks at ONS Conference, Stavanger, Norway in an Interview with Xenia Wickett.

Of course, Elon started out warmly thanking the Norwegian people,

“Thank you for inviting me and it’s an incredible honor to be here. I love Norway. And I just want to thank the leaders and the people of Norway for their long-standing support of electric vehicles and sustainable energy. I just want the people of Norway to know, that hey you have really made a difference. So thank you!”

Thoughts About Trust (Twitter)

In response to “what do you think about trust?“ Elon said,

“That’s really quite a philosophical question, and one could wax on at length about that. (laughter asking if talking about Twitter?)  I do think, with respect to information, generally, people want to know that the information they are receiving is accurate, that it is representative of the full picture, and they want to be able to believe what they read and not feel that it’s overly biased or at least understand the nature of the bias.

I think one of the key things to trust is transparency, and for people to really know or understand, if it’s a social media company, what the algorithm is. We should open-source the algorithm so people can know it and critique it, and so it’s not a black box. And then if there are any modifications done by people who are at that social media company, it should be clear and transparent, so it’s not hidden.

I believe in the free flow of ideas, and just generally erring on the side of free speech, within the boundaries of the law. You can’t go beyond that without being arrested I think.”

Set Of Actions That Are Most Likely To Lead To A Better Future

Elon Musk and Prime Minister (Jonas Gahr Støre) have lunch together at ONS. cr. Bjørn Shaogon / VG

“I don’t aim to disrupt for the sake of disrupting. It’s more like, what set of actions are more likely to lead to a better future? In order for humanity to have a compelling future for civilization, we must have a clear path to a sustainable energy future. That’s one of the things that I think everyone would agree with. I am not someone who would tend to demonize oil and gas, to be clear. This is necessary right now or civilization could not function. So I do think at this time, we actually need more oil and gas and not less. But simultaneously, moving as fast as we can to a sustainable energy economy.  I thought the words of the Prime Minister were spot on. I am glad to hear that there is a large effort for ocean wind. That’s a massive untapped potential. I would say go even more than what the Prime Minister said frankly, I mean if you did a 100 x 100 array, of 10 MW systems, you would have 100-gigawatt capability. And then, you do need to combine that with stationary storage battery packs to buffer the energy, because sometimes the wind blows and sometimes it doesn’t blow, or it just blows hard. So you need to buffer it with stationary battery packs. Tesla and other companies are also making that.”

3 Pillars of Sustainable Energy Future: Sustainable Energy Generation, Stationary Battery Packs, Electric Vehicles

“The three pillars of a sustainable energy future are sustainable energy generation, which is hydro, geothermal, wind, and solar.  I’m also pro-nuclear. I think we should really keep going with the nuclear plants. I know it’s an unpopular view in some quarters, and I think if you have a well-designed nuclear power plant, you should not shut it down. Especially right now.

But I try to say what I think is scientifically cogent, even if it is not popular. So the pillars are sustainable energy generation, but then you must also store the energy. The two main sources of sustainable energy, wind and solar, are intermittent, the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. So you must buffer the energy in stationary battery packs. And then the third element obviously is electric vehicles. Electric cars, trucks, aircraft, boats. with the ironic exception of rockets.”

Sustainable Rocket Propellant

“We do have a plan for sustainably producing the rocket propellant, which is actually, almost 80% liquid oxygen. So liquid oxygen you can get obviously from the atmosphere. And then we are going with Methane fuel, which is 20% of the propellant, but that you can make also sustainably long term from CO2 and water, H2O which produces CH₄ and O₂ so that’s the sustainable long-term path for rocket propellant generation and that’s how it would have to be done on Mars, for example. 

We do actually have some sustainable power generation for some of our propellant generation already, but it’s a small percentage now but will be a big percentage in the future.”

Car Industry Moving Rapidly Towards Electric

“I think we’ll see tremendous change over the next 5, 10, or 15 years. By 2030, I would say probably about half of all new cars will be electric. By 2035, it might be 80% or something like that. It could be even higher than those numbers, but the car industry is moving rapidly towards electric.

One country after another, and one state after another is making zero-emission mandates. California recently passed, I think, by 2035 all new cars can only be zero emission. So, clearly, the people of the earth, decided this is the way to go.

So we’ll see quite a tremendous change in that regard and if you look at Norway you will see kind of an advanced version of that because Norway has some of the highest, I believe Norway has gone to the majority are electric vehicles of new cars sold, which is great. Again, thank you! So, it’s pretty cool! (applause)”

What Are The Limiting Factors Governing Rate At Which We Can Transition To Sustainable Energy?

“What are the limiting factors governing the rate at which the world can transition to sustainable energy? I think it’s the rate at which one can grow battery production. So then, if you say, what are the constituents in the battery, in lithium-ion batteries? You’ve obviously got lithium, you’ve got the cathode, which is the main cathode materials are going to be metal, and that’s nickel, manganese, and iron. And on the anode side, it’s primarily carbon and graphite. So, in a sense, you’re sequestering a little bit of carbon in the battery, with some silicone added for energy density on the anode side. And then there’s the electrolytes and whatnot.

The main limitations are not that these metals are exceptionally rare, but that there’s a tremendous amount of processing equipment to take the ore and turn it into battery-grade materials. Because the battery grade anode and cathode have to be extremely pure in order for the battery to last for a long time. So, it’s sort of processing of those elements.”

Update on Master Plan Part 3

“I’m sort of writing this master plan part three, which is, what are the steps needed to scale sustainable energy, again, what are the limiting factors? And how can we potentially accelerate these? So hopefully, I’ll finish that in a month or two.”

In response to Xenis’s question, Can you give us a preview, what are the big steps, what are the gating functions? Elon said,

 “Well, the materials that I mentioned are really essential. There’s not a raw material constraint, there’s actually a tremendous amount of Lithium.  Lithium is almost everywhere, it’s one of the most common elements on earth, so is Iron, and so is Carbon. On the Iron you usually combine Phosphorus, so it’s Iron Phosphate (FePO4). So that will probably be the biggest chemistry that’s used.  It’s not so much the raw materials as it is converting the raw materials into the highly purified form used in batteries. There’s a tremendous amount of processing that needs to happen for that at the sort of scale that is currently, you know, comparable to the oil and gas industry. The scale is just tremendous. So this is all happening, it’s happening fast. It’s just a question of what we could do to accelerate that, to go even faster. So this is happening, it’s just a question of when.”

Is There A Limiting Function To The Transition To Sustainable Energy?

Elon explains that he does not see a limiting function to the transition to sustainable energy, he explains it this way,

“I don’t see a limiting function, it’s really just, what actions can we take to have it be faster? And it’s going to be, increasing the rate at which we can convert the ore into battery-grade materials. hat will set the rate at which we can build electric vehicles and stationary battery packs to capture solar and wind.

What I’m saying, is this is an optimistic and positive message. I’m not suggesting at all, complacency. But just saying that things are moving in a good direction, and but obviously if we can make them go even faster that’s better.”

China, Gigafactory Expansion, The Fundamental Good Of Tesla

“Tesla is actually investing in production in China. so we have a large factory in Shanghai that we are continuing to expand outward and invest in the factory. We’re also investing in Europe with our factory just outside of Berlin. and in the US, with our factory just outside of Austin. [note: pictures of Austin factories appear at bottom of this article] We hope to announce a location for another Gigafactory perhaps later this year. So we’re going as fast as we can. 

I’ve always said that the, I would say when you look at Tesla, the fundamental good that Tesla does, I think, sometimes it’s by profit, but rather by how many years will Tesla have accelerated the transition to sustainable energy? This is how I think one should look at it. 

I think we have accelerated it to some degree already. You know, I think if it wasn’t for Tesla, the car industry would have transitioned to EVs much later.

It is an exponential curve, yes. Most people don’t know what an exponential curve means, but it’s a (moves hand in the upward direction). I think things are improving exponentially with respect to sustainable energy. but if we can make it go faster, all the better.

What will actually happen is, the transition from, it’s following an S curve. So you have an exponential increase, then linear, then logarithmic. (points hand into the air) that’s basically how any large industrial transition happens.”

Approach To Risk, The Riskiest Thing Is No Action

“I don’t sort of like, just arbitrarily seek risk. I think some things are risky, but if the stakes are important enough then you take the risk. (applause). The stakes are extremely important. Very fundamental to the future.

I think there are probably a lot of people in this room that do take a lot of risks. I literally just try to use the scientific method, frankly. What is the importance of the outcome? What is one risking, in order to achieve that outcome? Like I said, if the outcome is important enough, even if the probability of success is low, I think, still do it, in my view, some things are very important, and in order to have a good future, if we don’t do them then we are in big trouble, and so how much of a risk really is it? Because if we don’t take those actions we won’t have a good future. I think the riskiest thing would be no action.” 

Ukraine

“We did have some guess that maybe there would be something happening in Ukraine, and so we did pre-position some STARLINK terminals there, just in case. And so that was helpful for the initial part of the invasion. And then we accelerated delivery of a lot of terminals within a few days of the invasion taking place and then the Ukrainian government tells me it’s been very helpful.

I do hope some peace can be achieved in Ukraine and Russia. I do think some thought should be given to, what’s the endgame there. I think the endgame will require some compromise on the part of both parties.”

Caution in Developing Artificial Intelligence

“Tesla‘s goal, from when we started it, has always been to accelerate sustainability, so that is still our primary goal by far. Our secondary goal is to solve at least real-world intelligence as it applies to self-driving cars, and then potentially with humanoid robots, so Tesla is in part an AI company and increasingly an AI company but it’s still primarily a sustainable energy company. I don’t think we need AI to solve sustainability. If that is happening, it might help us accelerate it. 

I think we should also be cautious about AI, and just make sure that as we develop AI, that it does not get out of control, and that AI helps make the future better for humanity. 

I think we should be more worried about AI‘s safety than we currently are. Especially, the future wars are going to be (and we’re seeing a taste of that with Ukraine), very much, drone wars. So if your drones are better than their drones, then you win, basically, it’s what will happen.”

Two Goals: Starship To Orbit And Self-Driving Cars 

In response to the closing question, “what keeps you up at night?” Elon stated,

“I’m fundamentally a technologist, it’s kind of important, or an engineer, so, yes sometimes people call me a businessman, I have to do business, I have to have a group of people because I can’t just do this in a garage by myself.

But, I am fundamentally an engineer or a technologist and so the two technologies I am focused on trying to ideally, get done before the end of the year are getting our Starship to orbit, which I think is important for expanding consciousness beyond Earth and life beyond Earth. And then, having the Tesla cars be able to do self-driving. So have self-driving in wide release at least In the USA, and hopefully, potentially in Europe, depending on regulatory approval.”

CONCLUSION

Some of the main points made by Elon Musk in the Norway interview that really caught my attention:

  • Twitter algorithm should be open-source, and Elon believes in the free flow of ideas and free speech.
  • Elon explains that in order for humanity to have a compelling future for civilization, we must have a clear path to a sustainable energy future. 
  • When asked what are the limiting factors governing the rate at which we can transition to sustainable energy?  Elon explains that Lithium, Iron and Carbon are plentiful.   He says, “The main limitations are not that these metals are exceptionally rare, but that there’s a tremendous amount of processing equipment to take the ore and turn it into battery-grade materials. Because the battery grade anode and cathode have to be extremely pure in order for the battery to last for a long time. So, it’s sort of processing of those elements.”
  • Similarly, Elon was asked again if there is a limiting function to the transition to sustainable energy, and he explains, “I don’t see a limiting function, it’s really just, what actions can we take to have it be faster? And it’s going to be, increasing the rate at which we can convert the ore into battery-grade materials. That will set the rate at which we can build electric vehicles and stationary battery packs to capture solar and wind.”
  • We are moved to action by Elon’s explanation of risk: He says, “Like I said, if the outcome is important enough, even if the probability of success is low, I think, still do it, in my view. some things are very important, and in order to have a good future, if we don’t do them then we are in big trouble, and so how much of a risk really is it? Because if we don’t take those actions we won’t have a good future. I think the riskiest thing would be no action.”
  • If you know Elon, he has warned us all about the dangers of AI many times before. Here is expresses great concern over developing artificial intelligence in the context of war.  He cautions, “I think we should be more worried about AI’s safety than we currently are. Especially, the future wars are going to be (and we’re seeing a taste of that with the Ukraine), very much, drone wars. So if your drones are better than their drones, then you win, basically, it’s what will happen.” 
  • As the world’s Technoking, Elon explains he is most driven to get Starship to orbit this year and have Tesla cars be able to do self-driving.  “But, I am fundamentally an engineer or a technologist and so the two technologies I am focused on trying to ideally, get done before the end of the year are getting our Starship to orbit, which I think is important for expanding consciousness beyond Earth and life beyond Earth. And then, having the Tesla cars be able to do self-driving.”
Tesla Gigafactory near Austin, cathode plant seen in the distance at 12 o’clock. September 3, 2022. cr. Joe Tegtmeyer
Tesla builds massive battery cathode plant next to Gigafactory Texas near Austin, Sept 3 cr. Tegtmeyer

Enjoy this article?
You might also like to read,
Elon Musk: Discussion About Underpopulation
which is a highly acclaimed article
published on July 9, 2022.

Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This article was created by Gail Alfar with the goal to preserve this interview in text or written form for the purpose of 1. education and 2. preserving the brilliant insight and words of Elon Musk. All Rights Reserved. September 4, 2022

Have questions about Buying a Tesla? From fires to how to drive one, here are the answers

Texas made Model Y at the Tesla 2021 Shareholder’s meeting. credit: the author

When it comes to asking questions about buying a Tesla, word-of-mouth is the best!  Here are the most common questions I get asked, from fires to how to drive a Tesla:

  • I heard they catch on fire, tell me about that. 
  • How do you charge a Tesla, do you plug it into a regular outlet?
  • How long does it take to charge?
  • How far does it go on a single charge? 
  • How much does a Tesla raise your electric bill?
  • Can you still own a Tesla if you live in an apartment?
  • I heard they are too expensive, aren’t they? 
  • How do you drive one?

I heard they catch on fire, tell me about that

The media used to exaggerate any report of a Tesla on fire in order to generate more revenue (clicks). It was never about Teslas being more fire-prone than combustion engine cars. The number of fires in a gasoline car is vastly higher.

“Now that the big automotive advertisers are making EVs, you will see far fewer articles about EVs catching on fire.

It is not surprising that internal combustion engine cars have a tendency to combust externally too.” Elon Musk

Credit Tesla 2021 Impact Report, p. 90

Tesla 2021 Impact Report states how low the risk is for a fire to occur in a Tesla,

Fire incidents are ~11x lower for Tesla vehicles than the average vehicle in the U.S.

From 2012 – 2021, there has been approximately 5 Tesla vehicle fires for every billion miles traveled.

By comparison, data from the National Fire Protection Association and U.S. Department of Transportation show that in the U.S. there are 53 vehicle fires for every billion miles travelled.

How do you charge a Tesla, can you plug into a regular outlet? 

Tesla Home Charging. credit, Tesla

This is a great question and I love it when people ask me this.  My answer is that you’ll likely want to plug your Tesla into an outlet that’s the same as your dryer outlet, and a regular wall outlet (110V) can work, especially if your daily commute is not very long.  Many owners install a Tesla Wall Connector in their garage.  Tesla recommends the Wall Connector on their website,

“Tesla Wall Connector is an efficient and convenient home charging solution that lets you plug your vehicle in overnight and start your day charged.” 

How long does it take to charge a Tesla?

I plug the Tesla in at home at night so that its all charged up by morning. If you go to a Supercharger it will only take 15 minutes to recharge up to 200 miles.

How far does it go on a single charge? 

The most popular Tesla,  Model Y,  has a range of 330 miles. Almost everyone asks me about traveling, so I wrote about that in my article “Tesla Summer Travel Trip.” Tesla provides an automatic navigation route that works very well. Tesla Superchargers are plentiful, and you can travel anywhere in the USA. There are over 35,000 Tesla Superchargers in the world today and more are being built every day.

How much does a Tesla raise your electric bill?

The quick answer is that our bill raised from anywhere to $30 – $50 a month.  Of course, this will vary due to daily miles driven.  Tesla has a Charging Calculator and in the above example, a Model 3 driving 49 miles a day would cost $1.69 a day to charge on a wall connector.

Tesla’s Online Charging Calculator

Tesla says,

“The most convenient place to charge your Tesla is at home, overnight. Plug in when you get home and let your car charge while you sleep. You no longer need to take trips to the pump with a gas-powered vehicle, and you can utilize low overnight utility pricing during off-peak hours, saving both time and money.” Tesla

Can you still own a Tesla if you live in an apartment?

Tesla Destination Charging, Apartments & Condos may install these. credit, Tesla

Yes. Many apartment complexes, workplaces and even schools have or are planning to install chargers.

Tesla’s website is encouraging,

“Increasingly, condos and apartment buildings are required by law to allow EV charging. Installing charging makes business sense, and the case will only get stronger as more people buy electric vehicles. 

Additionally, incentives may be available to you or your building property manager to alleviate cost, at the federal, state, county, municipal and utility levels.”

Tesla’s website is helpful, saying,

We offer the following templates to help get these conversations started with your building manager or HOA:

I heard they are very expensive, aren’t they? 

As of today, the Model Y costs $58,190 (including potential incentives and gas savings of $7,800).

I wrote about the vast savings in buying a Tesla in my article, Is a Tesla Worth it? Does Tesla Insurance and Maintenance Cost Less?

Model Y pricing from August 27, 2022

How do you drive one?

Model Y at Tesla Gigafactory Texas, Austin on 8/24/22 credit, Joe Tegtmeyer

This is a great question!  I have driven so many cars both stick shift and automatic, there is no easier car to simply drive than a Tesla.  You will enjoy that the car is always on.  You get in, there’s nothing to start, the car is silently on and ready to go.  It has the basic brake pedal and accelerator pedal, which I still call the gas pedal by mistake. 

Two things make the Tesla feel very roadworthy, that’s the fact it has a low center of gravity as the heavy battery power pack forms the base of the car.  And the other is the fact the drive train is all electric and there’s no transmission.  This leads to better safety and also a heightened experience when driving.  The car is a total pleasure to drive, it’s like happiness on wheels. 

You can schedule a test drive at a service center or rent a Tesla.  Hertz rents out Teslas and they have a good webpage “What’s it like to drive a Tesla?” They say,

“Driving a Tesla is an exhilarating experience. While the basic driving principles remain the same as in a gas-powered car, the available torque, technology and braking methods are driving features which distinguish Tesla and other EVs. Learn more about how to operate your Tesla before you get behind the wheel of this sleek vehicle.”

Hertz has a dedicated EV Customer Support Team that is there to answer any questions. The best experience is to test drive one after watching the videos on how to drive one.

CONCLUSION

  • Fire incidents are ~11x lower for Tesla vehicles than the average vehicle in the U.S.
  • Tesla Wall Connector installed at your house is the easiest way to charge every night
  • If you go to a Supercharger it will only take 15 minutes to recharge up to 200 miles
  • Model Y,  has a range of 330 miles. With over 35,000 Superchargers in the world, you can travel anywhere
  • Expect your electric bill to go up anywhere from $30 – $50 a month. Tesla’s Charging Calculator will customize this figure to your needs 
  • Apartment Living: Many condos and apartments have EV charging or are planning installation
  • As of today, Model Y costs $58,190 (including potential incentives and gas savings of $7,800) Model 3 is the best purchase I have ever made in my life, worth every penny   
  • There is no easier car to drive than a Tesla. Many cities have Tesla stores where you can test drive one https://www.tesla.com/drive

My Model 3 is the best purchase I have ever made in my life, it’s pure happiness to drive it, and it just gets better with the over-the-air software updates.

Tesla Gigafactory Texas, Austin on 8/24/22 credit, Joe Tegtmeyer

Like this article? You can read more like this

Is a Tesla Worth it? Does Tesla Insurance and Maintenance Cost Less? If you absolutely have to own a vehicle, then there is no better choice right now than a Tesla. I base this statement on the low cost of Tesla insurance, the ease of charging the battery, and zero maintenance.

American Innovation: Tesla owners share their favorite features I share the enthusiasm of Tesla owners by telling their unique stories, as well as putting a spotlight on some of their favorite features in their Tesla! Hope you’ll relax and enjoy these positive vibes!

Article by Gail Alfar. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved. August 28, 2022.

Read Elon Musk’s essay on technology for a better future

Elon Musk, Legendary Bomber Jacket, Gigafactory Texas, August 19, 2022. credit: Gail Alfar

It’s mid-August and school is starting up for many and this is a great time to read this inspiring essay by Elon Musk.

I hope you’ll relax with me and have a snack & a cold drink, may I suggest a KIND bar and a Coke Zero? This is what I enjoyed at Giga Texas right before briefly meeting Elon Musk and going on a tour of the gigafactory with brilliant Tesla engineers. I can tell you that after meeting Elon Musk, what he shares on Twitter is essentially the same as he talks about when meeting. He spoke about how important it is to get Starship into orbit and how important solving autonomy is.

I asked Elon if it was okay for me to take his picture, “Aren’t there already enough of me?”, “No, there isn’t one of you like this, alone, with Giga Texas in the background.”

Elon Musk is optimistic, lives with a sense of urgency, and takes action daily to make the future good. Yang Liu gave me permission to re-post this from his substack, Beijing Channel. 请用中文查看整篇文章。点击这里。 Elon Musk recognized Liu’s work in a tweet, “Reasonably accurate translation.”

BELIEVING IN TECHNOLOGY FOR A BETTER FUTURE 相信科技创造美好未来

Thank you for the invitation from China Cyberspace magazine. I am pleased to share with my Chinese friends some of my thoughts on the vision of technology and humanity.

As technology accelerates, it may one day surpass human understanding and control. Some are optimistic and some are pessimistic. But I believe that as long as we are not complacent and always maintain a sense of urgency, the future of humanity will be bright, driven by the power of technology. It is like a self-fulfilling prophecy: if humans want to make the future good, they should take action to make it good.

I want to do everything we can to maximize the use of technology to help achieve a better future for humanity. To that end, any area that contributes to a sustainable future is worthy of our investment.

Whether it’s Tesla, Neuralink, or SpaceX, these companies were all founded with the ultimate goal of enhancing the future of human life and creating as much practical value for the world as possible—Tesla to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, Neuralink for medical rehabilitation, SpaceX for making interstellar connections possible.

CLEAN ENERGY: THE FUTURE OF SUSTAINABILITY

Tesla Megapack and Solar. credit: Tesla

The starting point for my thinking about clean energy is how to create and store energy sustainably and for the long term, and how to provide a constant source of power for the future of productive life. In my view, the future of sustainable energy involves three components.

The generation of sustainable energy. The sun is like a giant fusion generator, from which mankind currently exploits a tiny amount of energy. In the long run, solar energy will become the main source of energy for human civilization. Of course, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and nuclear power are also useful energy supplements.

The storage of sustainable energy. Given the change of day and night and the change of weather, we need a lot of fixed battery banks to store solar and wind energy, because the sun does not shine all the time, and the wind does not blow all the time, energy needs to be stored in a large number of fixed battery banks.

Electrified transportation. Full electrification of transportation, including cars, planes, and ships. Electric rockets may be more difficult, but we may be able to manufacture the propellant used in rockets from sustainable energy sources. Eventually, the world economy will be run entirely by sustainable energy sources.

The world is on track for a sustainable energy transition, and humanity should continue to accelerate the process. The faster this transition is achieved, the less risk humanity poses to the environment and the more it will gain. When clean energy is available, carbon sequestration and desalination will be cheaper, climate change and water shortages will be solved, and when fossil fuels are out of the picture, the skies will be cleaner, the world will be quieter, the air will be fresher, and the future will be brighter.

Tesla Solar Roof. credit: Tesla

Solar power, battery packs, and electric vehicles paint a rosy picture. Next, we need to focus on the limiting factors. The electrification of cars has become a consensus among nations, but battery support on a terawatt-hour scale is needed to roll out pure electric vehicles around the globe. According to our estimates, the world needs about 300 TWh of battery storage to achieve a transition to sustainable energy. The biggest difficulty in advancing sustainable energy lies in the large-scale production of lithium battery cells. Specifically, from the mining and element refining to battery cells coming off of the production line and finally assembled into battery packs, this is a complex process that is restraining the rapid development of a sustainable energy economy.

As a pioneer and innovator focusing on energy innovation technology, Tesla was founded to solve the problem of energy innovation. On the one hand, we create integrated sustainable energy products from the three segments of energy: production, storage and use; on the other hand, we are committed to redefining battery manufacturing by innovating and developing advanced battery technology to remove restrictions on battery capacity.

I believe that the world will transition to a sustainable future through a combination of solar and wind energy plus battery storage and electric vehicles. I am pleased to see more and more companies joining this field. Chinese companies will be a force to be reckoned with in the cause of energy innovation.

HUMANOID ROBOTS: DOING WHAT HUMANS DO

Tesla humanoid robot prototype, Tesla Bot. credit: Barbara @bmt094

Today’s cars are increasingly like smart, web-connected robots on wheels. In fact, in addition to cars, humanoid robots are also becoming a reality, with Tesla launching a general-purpose humanoid robot (Tesla Bot) in 2021. The Tesla Bot is close to the height and weight of an adult, can carry or pick up heavy objects, walk fast in small steps, and the screen on its face is an interactive interface for communication with people. You may wonder why we designed this robot with legs. Because human society is based on the interaction of a bipedal humanoid with two arms and ten fingers. So if we want a robot to adapt to its environment and be able to do what humans do, it has to be roughly the same size, shape, and capabilities as a human.

Tesla Bots are initially positioned to replace people in repetitive, boring, and dangerous tasks. But the vision is for them to serve millions of households, such as cooking, mowing lawns, and caring for the elderly.

Achieving this goal requires that robots evolve to be smart enough and for us to have the ability to mass produce robots. Our “four-wheeled robots” – cars – have changed the way people travel and even live. One day when we solve the problem of self-driving cars (i.e., real-world artificial intelligence), we will be able to extend artificial intelligence technology to humanoid robots, which will have a much broader application than cars.

We plan to launch the first prototype of a humanoid robot this year and focus on improving the intelligence of that robot and solving the problem of large-scale production. Thereafter, humanoid robots’ usefulness will increase yearly as production scales up and costs fall. In the future, a home robot may be cheaper than a car. Perhaps in less than a decade, people will be able to buy a robot for their parents as a birthday gift.

It is foreseeable that with the power of robots, we will create an era of extreme abundance of goods and services, where everyone can live a life of abundance. Perhaps the only scarcity that will exist in the future is for us to create ourselves as humans.

NEURALINK: EMPOWERING THE DISABLED

Image credit: Neuralink

Some of our Chinese friends may not be as familiar with Neuralink as with electric cars. These companies focus on developing computer-human brain fusion technologies, developing brain chips the size of coins, similar to wearable devices such as smartphones, except that they integrate more deeply with the user’s body—recording and stimulating brain activity through implants in the cerebral cortex.

At this stage, the technology is helping injured people on an individual level. We have received many saddening letters: a 25-year-old young man was in the prime of his life when he had a motorcycle accident that left him unable to eat on his own, which is a great grief for the individual and the family. In light of this, brain-machine interface technology will be focused on curing or alleviating brain injury and other related disorders in the years to come. For example, it could help restore sensory or motor function to limbs of those with spinal injuries and mental system disorders or allow quadriplegics to use their brains to easily operate computers or cell phones.

This technology can also improve a wider range of brain injury problems, whether these disorders are congenital or accidental, or caused by age and external stressors, including severe depression, morbid obesity, sleep problems, and underlying schizophrenia, all of which are expected to be alleviated by human-computer devices.

With the development of brain-machine interface technology, in the long term, this connection is expected to expand the channels of communication between the outside world and the human brain, “accessing” more brain regions and new neural data. This technology could allow humans to effectively integrate with artificial intelligence and ultimately expand new ways for humans to interact with the world, themselves and others. Even if the goal of human-machine integration is difficult to achieve, brain-machine interface technology could be of great value in the field of medical rehabilitation.

SPACE EXPLORATION: THE POSSIBILITY OF CROSS-PLANET HABITATS

SpaceX team, Starship, and booster in Starbase, Texas, Feb 16, 2022. credit Austin Barnard

Finally, my greatest hope is that humans create a self-sustaining city on Mars. Many people ask me why I want to explore outer space and turn humans into multi-planetary creatures. In the vast universe, human civilization is like a faint little candle, like a little shimmering light in the void. When the sun expands one day and the Earth is no longer habitable, we can fly to a new home in a spaceship. If humans can inhabit other planets, it means that they have passed one of the conditions of the great screening of the universe, then we will become interplanetary citizens, and human civilization will be able to continue.

The first step toward interplanetary habitat is to reduce the cost of travel, which is what SpaceX was founded to do – first by building recoverable rockets and then by building reusable mega-ships with ever-increasing carrying capacity. As of earlier this year, SpaceX had successfully reused 79 rockets to deliver cargo to the space station and send ordinary people into space. We have also designed and built the largest launch vehicle in history, the Starship, which can carry 100 passengers and supplies at a time. In the future, we plan to build at least 1,000 Starships to send groups of pioneers to Mars to build a self-sustaining city.

As technology continues to change lives at an accelerating pace and the world evolves, life is more than simply solving one problem after another. We all want to wake up in the morning full of anticipation for the future and rejoice in what is to come. I hope more people will join us in our fight to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. I also welcome more like-minded Chinese partners to join us in exploring clean energy, artificial intelligence, human-machine collaboration, and space exploration to create a future worth waiting for.

CONCLUSION

Elon Musk wrote about the future of humanity in four critical areas

1. Clean Energy. Elon Musk envisions a thriving future that is powered by the sun. “Eventually, the world economy will be run entirely by sustainable energy sources.”

2. Humanoid Robots, “The Tesla Bot is close to the height and weight of an adult, can carry or pick up heavy objects, walk fast in small steps, and the screen on its face is an interactive interface for communication with people.”

3. Neuralink’s great potential to improve physical and mental health and eventually serve millions of households, especially the elderly.

4. Space exploration is the last topic and Elon’s words describing his greatest hope inspire us, “In the future, we plan to build at least 1,000 Starships to send groups of pioneers to Mars to build a self-sustaining city.”

Photo Cyber Rodeo. credit Ross Gerber

Underpopulation is very real, and Elon Musk has ideas on how to tackle this problem, you can read about what he thinks in my article, “Elon Musk: Discussion About Underpopulation,” which is highly acclaimed and noticed by Elon Musk who tweeted in response to it, “Children are essential to the future” on July 11, 2022.

I am humbled and honored to have had the opportunity to get to know some of the Dogecoin community including Gary Lachance. Elon received the Dogecoin t-shirts and was appreciative and grateful for them.

Article by Gail Alfar. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved. August 21, 2022. Featured banner photo of Elon Musk in the Legendary Bomber Jacket on August 19, 2022, credit: Gail Alfar

Reasons Why Tesla Has the Best Factory Safety in the Industry 

This article will bring you along with me as we look into how Tesla has become a leader in job site safety in manufacturing.  Our focus will be on statements about workplace safety from Elon Musk at the 2022 Shareholder’s meeting and the Tesla 2021 Impact Report.  You’ll look at Tesla’s approach to software as a way to improve safety. Finally, we’ll see how Tesla is making an extraordinary effort to protect over 5000 contractors. 

For fun, I share what it was like walking through Tesla’s employee cafeteria, where Elon says, “Everyone eats same food, uses same restrooms, etc – no executive chef or other ivory tower stuff.” You’ll see 2 rare pictures of the cafeteria area at the end of the article.

“In 2021, our focus remained on protecting people, the planet, our property and products.”

Tesla 2021 Impact Report

Elon Musk Spoke about Factory Safety on August 4th at the 2022 Shareholder’s Meeting

Elon Musk at Shareholder’s Day, credit: Tesla

While sharing a chart titled “Safety Records Continue to Improve,” Elon said,

“We’ve also made a lot of improvement with factory safety, so I believe we now have the best factory safety in the industry.

We are excited to have very good safety, and getting better, and a bunch of this is driven by just encouraging people in the factory to submit ideas for safety improvement.

We have passed our goal of three suggestions per employee this year.  This really is a game changer for improving safety.”

Elon Musk

“Safety Records Continue To Improve” credit: Tesla 2022 Shareholder’s Meeting

Tesla featured employee Sherry Ihrig in the 2021 Impact Report. Sherry made over 1,800 improvement suggestions using the “Take Charge” software.  Her suggestions were to safety, processes, cost-savings, and more since the program’s start in early 2021. Sherry stated,

“The Take Charge program encourages associates to increase their awareness of the work environment. 

When these and other potential safety hazards are noticed and resolved, it allows associates to improve their overall work performance.” 

“Driven by Increasing Employee Engagement” credit: Tesla 2022 Shareholder’s Meeting

Giant Cybernetic Collective Where Everyone is a Worker

I think the most important aspect of humans working alongside big machines is safety.  Software should be designed to improve processes and ensure safety instead of stagnating.  Elon Musk likens his factories to giant cybernetic collectives,

“You can think of the factory as a giant cybernetic collective.

So the factory is just an enormous cybernetic collective of humans and machines and software, and the better that software is, the better that cybernetic collective works.

I don’t think other OEMs think like that, but that’s what it is!”

Elon Musk, 2022 Shareholders Meeting

I think safety processes can improve when all workers operate at the same level.  On June 2, Elon Musk described this in a tweet,

“Everyone eats same food, uses same restrooms, etc – no executive chef or other ivory tower stuff.

There shouldn’t be this workers vs management two-class system. Everyone is a worker.”

Elon Musk

When I visited Gigafactory Texas on August 4th for the Shareholder’s Meeting, all participants got to walk through the employee coffee shop/cafeteria, food truck area, and use the company restrooms and it is true, there are no special areas for any executives, including Elon himself.

Tesla Builds New Software to Improve Safety

In Early 2021, Tesla developed new software to help workers build capacity to ensure safeguards are in place and functioning. 

“In order to build capacity and allow our workers to fail safely, we needed a more dynamic approach to how we collect and manage data that allows us to make decisions that reduce risk.

In response to that need, we developed an internal Environmental, Health Safety & Security [EHS&S] tool named MyEHS to help drive execution and improve outcomes by allowing the intake and visualization of data globally.

We designed and deployed 11 modules in 2021, allowing us to better manage our EHS&S information, identify emerging risks and take action to implement improvements suggested by our employees. 

Foremost in this effort was our improvement suggestion module — Take Charge.

Combined with Action Tracker, this module allows workers to submit improvement suggestions in various categories, including environment, health, safety, security, people and accuracy, while connecting with their supervisors and other work groups to identify and implement solutions to improve the presence of safeguards.” – Tesla 2021 Impact Report, p.48

Tesla Extends Safety Protection to over 5000 Contractors

Solar Roof Install credit: Tesla 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the civilian occupations with the highest rates of fatalities include roofers and construction trade helpers.  Tesla employs solar roof installers and construction workers and contracts with over 5000 contractors.  Tesla is making an extraordinary effort to protect contractors and keep them safe through a new program they developed called ‘Constructing Our Future’ led by 87 Tesla Responsible Persons [TRP] and Contractor Responsible Persons who are all trained in the new process that includes meeting a TRP and EHS&S professional at the location of work to complete a Pre-Work Risk Assessment.

“We are on schedule to release the new and improved supplier and contractor onboarding and management system, Workforce Management, in the second quarter of 2022.

This simple, scalable, centralized system will build on the efficiencies of the interim onboarding process and provide better visibility for managers and engineers to track performance.

We will report our contractor injury rates in the 2022 Impact Report.”

Tesla 2021 Impact Report, p.54

CONCLUSION

Elon Musk called Tesla’s new improvement suggestion module, Take Charge, a “game changer for improving safety.”

One employee said Take Charge “encourages associates to increase their awareness of the work environment.”

When I toured Gigafactory Texas, it was easy to see why Elon Musk referred to it as an “enormous cybernetic collective.”  Within this gigantic space, Elon stated “Everyone eats same food, uses same restrooms, etc – no executive chef or other ivory tower stuff. There shouldn’t be this workers vs management two-class system. Everyone is a worker.”  

Safety is an integral part of this collective because it is based on humans and machines and software all working in symphony, and that includes Tesla’s over 5000 contractors.  In fact, Tesla will include contractor injury rates in the 2022 Impact Report. 

FUN FACT:  

At the Tesla 2022 Shareholder’s Meeting, all participants got to walk through the employee coffee shop/cafeteria area and it is true, there is no executive chef area, not even for Elon Musk.

The cafeteria was stunning with a beautiful clean white design featuring floor-to-ceiling glass on both sides. One side has a view of the City of Austin in the distance and the other side overlooks Model Y production. Also featured near the Coffee Bar were Model Y seats mounted on a structural battery pack, Model Y frame with castings, and a drive train!

Tesla Coffee Bar, credit: the author
Model Y structural frame by Coffee Bar at Tesla Giga Texas Cafeteria by glass overlooking Model Y production. credit: the author.

Article by Gail Alfar. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved. August 14, 2022. Featured banner photo, credit: Tesla Media

4 Families from the Southern USA tell what they love most about their Tesla [series]

Are you on the fence about if you should get a Tesla or do you know someone who is trying to decide if they should get one? This article shares good practical reasons why people love Teslas.

So pass this along to a friend who might need it and I will pass along to you my Southern Sweet Tea recipe. Iced Tea is great in the hot summer. Recipe below.

CAMPING AND TRAVELLING

Tesla at Lindsey’s Resort, Arkansas

“We never camped as a family prior to owning a Tesla.”

“Tesla has plenty of amenities like air conditioning and entertainment so we felt confident enough that even if our campsite wasn’t great, we’d still have fun and be comfortable.

We have camped in Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas.” – Simon, Little Rock, Arkansas

Simon’s kids love camping! Lindsey’s Resort in Arkansas has 12 Tesla Destination Chargers. Simon told me his family had a great time there. If you plan to travel this summer in your Tesla, check out Tesla Summer Travel Trip.

SAFEST CAR MONEY CAN BUY

The Tesla 2021 Impact Report emphasizes safety as one of Tesla’s top design priorities. Tesla says,

“At Tesla, safety features are not optional. Our full suite of safety features comes standard with every vehicle.

When we design vehicles, first and foremost, we want them to be safe.” Tesla 2021 Impact Report, page 81

Three diono child safety seats in Model S, credit: Jack

Safety was the #1 reason one father of three kids bought a Tesla. He trusts his three kids to be safe on drives as well as entertained watching Netflix in the back.

“Safety & performance immediately come to mind.

I could not wait to put my family in a Tesla for safety reasons.” – Jack, father of three, North Carolina

ENGINEERED LIKE NO OTHER

Tesla Model Y in Austin, Texas, credit the author.

I asked a family in Alabama with two Model Ys what they love most about their Teslas and the list was amazing!

“Some of the things we like best are the organically integrated software including the battery management system, the minimalist user interface, the extended range due to superior battery tech, regenerative braking/one-pedal driving, the incredibly efficient onboard HVAC system, and having the privilege of testing the FSD Beta software.

I also love not having a transmission; the available power and torque are instantaneous and astounding. The Model Y Long Range handles amazingly well for a small SUV; it stays planted and flat in turns.

It’s a very versatile vehicle. I like the ride height and large cargo area. The seats are comfortable. Overall, the Y’s are a pleasure to drive. The design is truly inspired; the lines, curves, and glass roof are beautiful AND aerodynamic!

I like all the little touches like Santa, Sentry, Camp, and Dog Modes, and over-the-air software updates. We love charging at home and saving money (not having to buy expensive, smelly gasoline).

The Tesla Supercharger network is a huge plus for extended trips.

Most importantly, we fully support Tesla’s mission of accelerating the transition to sustainable energy and enjoy driving these incredible, environmentally-friendly vehicles.” –Wanda, Huntsville, Alabama

DITCH GAS STATIONS, ZERO EMISSIONS

Heather loves her Model 3. Credit: Lee Overstreet

“Nearly everything about the car is a dramatic upgrade from our last car, a 2001 Maxima.

The Tesla is non-polluting, non-stinking, comfortable, cheap to charge, and partially drives itself.

You never go to the gas station and never get oil changes.  Most repairs I’ve ever done to a gas car were to things that don’t exist on a Tesla Model 3.

I’m thrilled to not be belching out pollution everywhere I go, and to at least be doing my little part in slowing our effect on the climate.”

Lee, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Conclusion

Tesla owners love their cars for many reasons, here are some shared in this article,

  • #1 in Safety
  • No gas stations, no oil changes, charge at home
  • Zero emissions
  • Great for travel and camping
  • Comfortable seats, a pleasure to drive
  • Beautiful and aerodynamic, glass roof
  • Over-the-air software updates
  • Instant power, torque, great handling
  • Model Y – ride height and large cargo area
  • Camp Mode, Dog Mode, Sentry Mode, and Holiday Santa Mode

Many people are finding out the advantages of driving an all-electric Tesla. It is no shock that Tesla was #1 in premium vehicle segment sales and also the EV sales leader in the USA in Q1 2022. Eva Fox of Tesmanian reported, “without a doubt, Tesla continues to be the absolute sales leader in the EV segment, which is obvious given how much effort the manufacturer puts into this, especially when compared with other brands.”

To read what four more Tesla owners love about their Teslas, see “American Innovation: Tesla Owners Share Their Favorite Features.”

Maybe one of the reasons why you love your Tesla was not mentioned. Feel free to share it in the comments.

Southern Sweet Tea:  Boil 4 cups water. Let family-size tea bag steep 10 minutes (add a pinch of baking soda to reduce bitterness).  Remove tea bag. Add 4 cups cold water and 3/4 cup sugar and stir.  Chill and serve with ice and lemon.

Rooftop view of Austin, credit the author.

Like this article? You can read more like this

Article by Gail Alfar with thanks to Lee Overstreet, Simon Mahan, Dr. Jack, and Wanda Husdon. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This blog post was created utilizing STARLINK satellite services. All Rights Reserved. July 30, 2022

As Batteries begin to replace fossil fuel power plants, what are 4 challenges to overcome?

Tesla Megapacks at Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. Credit: Tesla

You are living in the early stages of the transition to clean energy.  In the coming years, expect most gas and coal peaker plants to close.  These will be replaced with battery storage of mostly solar energy. 

This article is about four challenges that will be overcome for this incredible transition to succeed.

UPDATE: Elon Musk saw this article on Twitter, and replied to it on July 25, 2022, calling it a “Good article.” I hope that you’ll enjoy it as well!

#1 Increasing Supply of Refined Lithium

There is currently not enough refined Lithium, and this provides a challenge in the transition to clean energy. Tesla is working to scale battery production with refined Lithium at Giga Nevada and the new Megafactory in Lathrop, California.

At the Q2 2022 Earnings call, Elon Musk emphasized the need for more refined Lithium, the component needed for batteries.  Elon said, 

“I’d like to, once again, urge entrepreneurs to enter the lithium refining business.”  Elon Musk

Elon Musk revealed in a recent interview with Johnna Crider that extremely pure battery-grade lithium hydroxide or lithium carbonate is needed to prevent breakdown in the battery cell, 

“For example, with lithium, it’s more lithium refinement than it is the actual mining. So you better take the ore that contains lithium, and you’ve got to refine it and get it to battery-grade lithium hydroxide or lithium carbonate. And it has to be extremely pure. Otherwise, you could have a breakdown in the cell.” Elon Musk

#2 Scaling Battery Manufacturing

Scaling battery production is a constant challenge as processes must always be flexible enough to improve.

Building batteries faster and at larger scale will occur in order for our world to transition to clean energy. Tesla is addressing this challenge and currently building batteries ranging in size from 13.5 kWh Powerwall to 3000 kWh (3 MWh) Megapack.  Large and small batteries are needed to combine with others to form massive power plants, replacing old-style gas and coal energy with solar. 

Tesla Energy Engineer Mike Snyder speaks against the backdrop of 256 Tesla Megapack battery units on 33 concrete slabs at Moss Landing

Mike Synder of Tesla Energy, spoke at the opening of Moss Landing Elkhorn Battery last month, saying Megafactory Lathrop will produce ~ 40 GW hours of Megapacks a year,

“The Megafactory fully ramped can produce up to 40 GW hours of Megapacks per year.  For context, 40 Gigawatt hours is approximately 50 of the projects you see behind us here, being produced each year here in California and really around the world.”

#3 Working with Existing Infrastructure to Streamline Clean Energy Installations

Tesla Megapacks, Angleton, Texas. cr: Tesla

It is difficult to integrate the existing older infrastructure seamlessly with Tesla’s new hardware and software system, and it has to be done.  Moss Landing near Monterey, California is a location known for decades as exclusively a gas peaker plant site. Thus, it contains physical infrastructure needed to wire energy to customers. Snyder spoke about this challenge,

“There’s a lot of work and figuring out how to integrate these large projects into our existing infrastructure.

As the projects become larger and larger and more powerful those problems become more nuanced and more complicated to solve, and we all have to work to do that together.

Its about landing the wires here at a critical substation, like Elkhorn, or it’s about assessing the grid impacts at different interconnection points in the grid.

All of those problems become much more interesting for engineers and much more complicated to solve, and we need to be doing that together.

And really, as we grow we need to collectively assess how best to leverage such a flexible, fast-acting, bidirectional resource like we’ve never really had. It’s truly an exciting time to be in the industry!”

#4 Updating Local Policy to Encourage Virtual Power Plants

As Tesla Energy works to meet the demand for battery storage systems with Megapacks, another way to meet demand is through aggregating together Tesla Powerwalls that individual people like you and I own to form Virtual Power Plants.

It takes time and effort to change old ways of thinking at state and local levels.  Tesla’s Energy Policy team is working in my home state of Texas to help get virtual power plants online.  I wrote about that last month in “Tesla’s Texas Virtual Power Plant ASAP.”  Although the process might seem slow as molasses in wintertime, eventually it will happen, and there are things you can do to support these efforts! (I list some at the end of this article).

It was a change in policy for PG&E to allow ~1500 California residents who own home Tesla Powerwall batteries to volunteer to join together to form a virtual power plant.  PG&E announced they will “call load management events for participating customers, directing their battery to discharge when there is high demand for electricity.” 

A positive policy change led to the “Emergency Load Reduction Program [ELRP]” which aims to discharge stored battery energy to the grid during high electricity demand. Tesla Powerwall owners are the foundation of this program. According to a news release, the ELRP is managed by PG&E, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison. 

These programs and similar ones will eventually be seen in many states and in countries around the world over time.

CONCLUSION

  • Having a constant and reliable source of refined grade lithium is a challenge.  This must be achieved in order to scale battery manufacturing.
  • Tesla Energy leader Mike Synder voiced the challenge of working with existing infrastructure.   “There’s a lot of work and figuring out how to integrate these large projects into our existing infrastructure. As the projects become larger and larger and more powerful those problems become more nuanced and more complicated to solve, and we all have to work to do that together.” 
  • Local policies are a challenge.  Transitioning to clean energy means giving up the old ways of relying on gas peaker plants.  Tesla Energy Policy team aims to continue to work with local policy leaders in order to speed up the transition to sustainable energy.

Here are a few ways you can help:

If you own a Tesla Powerwall, sign up to participate in a pilot program if it is available in your state.  Currently, Texas has a three-year pilot program in the planning stages!

Join the Bros. for Decarb. Their motto is “just a group of Bros who care about decarbonizing the global economy as fast, cheap and reliable as possible.”  They can be found on twitter and they also sell t-shirts with LFDECARB to subtly remind us that the Southeast is often ignored in DECARB.  All their profits go to @energyalabama

Photo in downtown Austin, Texas by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

I would love to share a few more interesting articles with you that relate to Tesla Energy!

Article by Gail Alfar. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This blog post was created utilizing STARLINK satellite services. All Rights Reserved. July 24, 2022. If you can support this blog financially, info is at “How You Can Support.”