Elon Musk’s Master Plan, Part Deux

While Donald Trump talks about bringing coal jobs back to West Virginia, Elon Musk is creating (actually, he laid out his vision 10 years ago) concrete plans to get us off fossil fuels, but we can’t just jump directly from A to Z.

Two days ago he revealed part deux of his master plan:

The first master plan that I wrote 10 years ago is now in the final stages of completion. It wasn’t all that complicated and basically consisted of:

  1. Create a low volume car, which would necessarily be expensive

  2. Use that money to develop a medium volume car at a lower price

  3. Use that money to create an affordable, high volume car And…

  4. Provide solar power. No kidding, this has literally been on our website for 10 years.

Elon Musk a great example of putting your money where you mouth is. Talking the talk and walking the walk.

What’s important about Musk is he has a reason for everything. Everything is done by design.

I should add a note here to explain why Tesla is deploying partial autonomy now, rather than waiting until some point in the future. The most important reason is that, when used correctly, it is already significantly safer than a person driving by themselves and it would therefore be morally reprehensible to delay release simply for fear of bad press or some mercantile calculation of legal liability.

I’ll tell you this: I trust a partially autonomous Telsa over a human being who’s driving while playing fucking Pok√©mon Go and slamming into a police car.

Moving Off the Grid

Bloomberg: Why Elon Musk’s Batteries Scare the Hell Out of the Electric Company:

Here’s why something as basic as a battery both thrills and terrifies the U.S. utility industry.

At a sagebrush-strewn industrial park outside of Reno, Nevada, bulldozers are clearing dirt for Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA)’s battery factory, projected to be the world’s largest.

Tesla’s founder, Elon Musk, sees the $5 billion facility as a key step toward making electric cars more affordable, while ending reliance on oil and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. At first blush, the push toward more electric cars looks to be positive for utilities struggling with stagnant sales from energy conservation and slow economic growth.

Yet Musk’s so-called gigafactory may soon become an existential threat to the 100-year-old utility business model. The facility will also churn out stationary battery packs that can be paired with rooftop solar panels to store power. Already, a second company led by Musk, SolarCity Corp. (SCTY), is packaging solar panels and batteries to power California homes and companies including Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
While the headline is true, it’s unfortunate.
Shouldn’t we instead be thinking how amazing it could be if regular people could generate their own electricity, saving thousands of dollars a year?

The Exhaust Continues

I’d like the millions of self-righteous Prius owners in the Bay Area to read this article about electric cars:

There are lots of good reasons for buying an electric car, from cutting your gas bill to feeling good for helping out with smog. But climate change? Not really.

Though Priuses and Leafs are associated with greener living, it turns out they do little planetary good, according to a new study. When you quantify the economy-wide impact of electric vehicles, measured in greenhouse gas pollutants, it’s basically a wash. From a climate perspective, you might as well keep your old sedan.
Haha. I’ve know this for a while. Not because I’m especially smart—you just need to know the source of the electricity that’s charging your fucking car (oil, gas and coal, yay!). Or understand the mining required to make batteries.
The combustion chamber lives to see another day.


There’s 8 days to go on this Kickstarter:

SunVolt is a portable charging platform which will efficiently convert the sun’s rays into powerful charging current for your mobile electronic devices. On a clear day, a SunVolt Solar Power Station can charge multiple devices with the same speed as if they were plugged in and charged from the wall. A custom designed carrying case which is light, stylish, and functional, enables the system to be highly portable. In mere seconds, users can easily set up the panel, plug in their devices, and start the charging process. When charging is complete, the panel quickly and safely stores for future use.

I’m really into solar power—what I’m hesitant about is having my gadgets out in the sun with this charger. Even if I could place them in the shade, I live in the San Fernando Valley were it’s currently getting up to 105 degrees by noon.
If I were to use this at home, I’d need a long enough cable so I could keep my iPad and iPhone on the kitchen counter.
First world problems.

Sun and iClouds

Katie Fehrenbacher for GigaOM reports that Apple is building a solar farm for it’s data center:

Apple has been laying plans for a solar farm next to its massive data center in Maiden, North Carolina, according to The Charlotte Observer. The solar project — dubbed Project Dolphin Solar Farm — will reportedly be built on 171 acres of land across the street from Apple’s planned $1 billion data center, which had the code name Project Dolphin, but is now being called iDataCenter, and will likely partly serve the Apple’s cloud-based service iCloud.

It’s great to see they’re investing in solar.

Edison Was Right?

PSFK: John Gerzema: Edison Was Right

Two blocks off Detroit’s Woodward Avenue, inside an industrial building on Burroughs Street, a half-dozen engineers who work for Nextek Power Systems gather around a whiteboard where they have scrawled notes based on read-outs from a computer screen. They are analyzing data on the performance of an innovative power system based on Thomas Edison’s preferred form of electric supply–direct current. Also called DC, direct current is the juice that comes out of batteries, fuel cells, solar panels, and other sustainable energy sources. Because it is difficult and expensive to transmit over great distances, Edison’s DC lost out to alternating current–AC–when the electric age began. AC, promoted by George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla, allowed for a single huge generating station to supply power for homes and businesses spread over hundreds if not thousands of square miles. To make use of this system, lights, appliances, and motors were all built to operate on AC, and it became the standard.

I find it interesting that the future of energy could potentially parallel the future some of proposing for farming – local. I’ve been hearing more and more about vertical farming in cities, now comes growing your own energy.
Sign me up.