🚙 Elon Musk’s weekend announcement will disappoint Model S Plaid fans
Musk Reads #249
Tesla pushes back a major release; SpaceX keeps building; Musk is in the market for a graffiti artist. It’s the free edition of Musk Reads #249 — subscribe now to receive two more editions later this week!
Last week, Musk Reads+ subscribers learned about the Delft Hyperloop team’s hope to sustainably revolutionize transport. This week, readers will hear from Arch Rao, former head of product at Tesla Energy, on how his new firm, Span.IO, is tackling an overlooked area in the race to make homes green.
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Musk quote of the week
“Words cannot describe the limbic resonance.” — Elon Musk tweeted poetically after he announced the Tesla Model S Plaid release was pushed to June 10.
With its purportedly revolutionary speed, Tesla Model S Plaid could be a huge win for Tesla and EV advocates. Read more.
Tesla: The Tesla Model S Plaid needs some tweaks
The Tesla Model S Plaid release, originally scheduled for June 3, has been nudged back a week. But Musk’s May 29 tweet announcing the news makes the wait seem worth it.
According to the Tesla website, the Model S Plaid will reach a top speed of 200 mph and will be able to go from 0 to 60 mph in 1.99 seconds, 1.11 seconds quicker than the Model S Long Range. The next generation Tesla Roadster, scheduled for a 2022 release, will be even faster than that with, according to Musk, a boost from the “Space X rocket thruster option package,” a feature he has been teasing for the past three years.
It sounds like a joke, but the same could be said of Musk’s Roadster in space, which has been making its lonely orbit since 2018. Plus, people have been dreaming up rocket-powered cars since the early 20th century, sometimes with astounding results. The 1979 Budweiser Rocket, for example, used a hybrid-fuel rocket engine and sidewinder missile to help it allegedly drive over 700 mph and break the sound barrier.
As one might expect, these rocket cars aren’t even kind of street legal, so the hypothetical rocket thruster-equipped Roadster would have a slew of regulatory hurdles to clear before hitting the market.
SpaceX: Constructing on the ocean and every two days
On May 30, Musk tweeted that construction of SpaceX’s first ocean spaceport is underway, aiming for 2022 usability. The spaceport, named Deimos, after one of Mars’ moons, will be one of two converted oil rigs purchased by SpaceX earlier this year; the other is named Phobos, another Mars moon.
Unlike the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship currently in use, which has to be remotely guided into the ocean and only provides a landing area, these spaceports would provide launch and landing for Starship rockets. They also seem to be part of Musk’s (to put it lightly) ambitious plan to make Starship rockets a global public transit system.
An animated SpaceX video from 2017 demonstrates what that might look like, with spaceports located outside of major cities like Beijing, London, and Dubai supporting 30-minute civilian rocket trips.
Deimos is an exciting small step toward SpaceX’s big plans, and, really, just one of many. If SpaceX gets its way, NASA will make Starship rockets the next to land on the Moon. These reusable rockets will be powered by SpaceX Raptor engines and, according to Musk on May 29, SpaceX has been producing around one of these engines every 48 hours.
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In other Musk news…
Elon Musk is asking artists to submit some “awesome graffiti” designs to decorate Tesla’s new Berlin factory
Teslas made in Texas will likely have to leave the state before Texans can buy them.
In other Musk-related news…
T-minus the internet
A ranked list of everything Musk-related and online, handpicked weekly with bionic precision.
10. Various companies could control space before the rest of us can even get there. Read more.
9. But it won’t be the new Wild West; some lawyers are beginning to consider the limits of ambiguous space law. Read more.
8. SpaceX continues to send Starlink satellites heavenward; one fan even made a site that helps you watch them fly. Learn more.
7. Musk predicted Neuralink brain chips, which don’t exist yet, would universalize language by 2025. The available language technology we have makes that timeline look even less realistic. It's a nice idea, though.
4. Japan is planning on sending a ball-shaped transforming robot to the Moon in 2022. Transformers are real!
3. Earth Robots, in the meantime, are working on their smiles. Read more.
2. NASA released GIFs and still images of shimmering clouds on Mars, taken by its Curiosity rover. Read more.
1. And a piece of Musk history: In 2010,Elon Musk’s first wife, Justine Musk, gave Marie Claire readers an intimate understanding of her relationship to Elon Musk, his rise to infamy, and their marriage’s downfall. Embrace the muck.
The ultra-fine print
This has been Musk Reads #249, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Ashley Bardhan, assistant to Musk Reads. I’ll be taking over the Monday newsletter for the summer.
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