🚙 Tesla’s Model S Plaid will make you feel like you’re “driving the future,” Musk says

Musk Reads #251

Tesla’s Model S Plaid makes a splashy debut; Starlink scouts new frontiers; Musk pushes crypto miners toward clean energy. It’s the free edition of Musk Reads #251 subscribe now to receive two more editions later this week! 

Last week, Musk Reads+ subscribers heard from the creator of the Where is Roadster? website about tracking SpaceX’s EV in space. This week, readers will hear from Brad Stone, author of Amazon Unbound, about the rivalry between Blue Origin and SpaceX.

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Musk quote of the week

“We gotta show that an electric car is the best car, hands down.” — Elon Musk at the highly anticipated and once postponed Model S Plaid unveiling event June 10.

  • Much of Musk’s speech was spent commending the Model S Plaid’s new title as the quickest production car, something that has excited Musk since the car’s delivery announcement. Read more with Musk Reads+.


Tesla: Buyers get their hands on the Model S Plaid  

At an EDM-stuffed event at Tesla’s Fremont, California, factory June 10, the Model S Plaid was released. Musk drove onto the event stage in a polished black Plaid, stepping out with a fist pump and commemorative leather jacket. “This is nine years since we delivered the first Model S,” Musk said at the start of his speech. “I think we’ve really taken it to a whole new level with Plaid. Basically, our product plan is stolen from Spaceballs.” 

The rest of Musk’s speech focused on some of the Plaid’s most innovative aspects, like its 1.99 second 0-60 mph speed and brand new carbon-sleeved rotor inside the car’s motor, which Musk claims to be “the most advanced motor on Earth.” In addition to being “faster than any Porsche, safer than any Volvo,” Model S Plaid also has:

  • An autopilot system that, according to Musk, can “read your mind.” 

  • A touch screen that plays the PS5 video game Cyberpunk 2077.

  • Other high-tech specs like wireless phone chargers and a noise-canceling sound system  that make it the space age car Musk wished it to be.

For the before-savings sticker price of $129,990, you can star in your own Spaceballs by ordering the Plaid through the Tesla site, which indicates a same-month delivery time for the car. 


SpaceX: Space is cool, but Starlink wants inflight entertainment too

Although, as waiting customers are well aware, Starlink service is not yet globally available. The SpaceX satellite internet project is already looking to expand in a few ways. 

First, a June 8 filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reveals SpaceX’s interest in operating “next generation user terminal Earth stations,” or slightly modified versions of the $499 Starlink user kits currently available

PCMag reminded us June 11 that this FCC filing, along with another June application for “experimental” terminal testing, are living examples of a disclaimer Starlink posted in 2020: “The Starlink Kit will eventually become technologically obsolete. From time to time, customers may need to purchase a newer model for optimal Services.” As of writing, neither of these FCC applications are approved, so it remains to be seen if the current Starlink kit will become obsolete before or after every customer has service. 

Then, Starlink is working on becoming your airline’s internet provider of choice. On June 9, Jonathan Hofeller, vice president of Starlink commercial sales, said at the Connected Aviation Intelligence Summit that Starlink has their “own aviation product in development.”

According to Hofeller, Starlink is looking “to get that product finalized [...] in the very near future,” but when exactly that will be is “to be determined.” 

And as Starlink looks back to Earth, SpaceX receives competition in space… 


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In other Musk news…

  • Musk says Tesla will accept bitcoin again as crypto miners use more clean energy

  • Elon Musk’s Vegas Boring tunnel is a disappointment, but cities are eager to have it

  • German environmental groups file objection against Tesla gigafactory permit


In other Musk-related news…

T-minus the internet

A ranked list of everything Musk-related and online, handpicked weekly with bionic precision.  

10.  On June 11, an NFT of the photo that inspired the “Doge” meme sold for 1,696.9 ETH (nice) or, at the time of writing, $4,235,598. (Wow!) Are we human or are we Doge NFT?

9. Some Musk fans have been questioning the veracity of a threatening video posted last week by what appeared to be the hacktivist group Anonymous. So this week they spoofed it. Laughing crying emoji.

8.  By turning your keyboard into NASA’s manual piloting interface, this simulator lets you try docking SpaceX’s reusable Dragon 2 spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS). Turns out space is slow, and I am not good at this game. But you might be (flash warning).

7.  I wonder if the anonymous bidder who paid $28 million to join the Bezos brothers on their July 20 space flight ever tried using the ISS docking simulator. Who needs cyberspace when you have Bezos in space?

6.  On June 10, The Register reported McDonald’s had been sued for potentially illegally collecting drive-thru customers’ biometric data. Read more.

5. Maybe it’s time to better define what ethical A.I. use looks like. Read more.

4. A Colorado engineer made a six-foot model of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, launching it to an impressive 6,102 feet on a sunny summer day. Read more.

3.  YouTube user Pat Larson created his own automatic Tesla charger, which operates on a Raspberry Pi computer and lives in his garage. Watch now.

2. China’s Mars rover, Zhurong, sent back some interesting postcards from the Red Planet, including a detailed snap of Mars’ dusty terrain and a pretty cute self-portrait. Look now. 

1. And a piece of Musk history: On June 8, leaked IRS documents indicating that, because a chunk of his wealth comes from unsold stock, multibillionaire Elon Musk paid zero federal income taxes in 2018. To make myself feel better about that fact, I watched this 2008 Musk interview where he meekly identifies himself as a minimum wage Tesla “volunteer.” Ouchies, my bank account.


The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads #251, 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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