Tesla, SolarCity, and SpaceX topics have been the talk of the Twittersphere this week. Let’s look at some of the most popular tweets and try to figure their significance moving forward.
January 1, SolarCity: “More than 8 million solar panels and more than 300,000 customers later, we’re excited to see what’s to come in the years ahead #HappyNewYear”
The December 14, 2016 merger of Tesla and SolarCity created not only a new era in residential solar energy generation but also caused the market to muse if the new collaboration was fiscally wise.
What this could mean moving forward: With the demand for solar energy in the US rising each year, benefits to both our environment and the nation’s economy increase. The trends in 2017 all point to greater demand for residential solar installations, with US surpassing past quarters’ historic total in Q4 2016. If that trend continues, the Tesla/SolarCity merger naysayers may be silenced quickly.
If you couldn’t finalize your purchase by 12/31, you can still order a Model S or X until 1/15 to receive unlimited Supercharging.
— Tesla (@Tesla) January 1, 2017
Jan. 1, Tesla: “If you couldn’t finalize your purchase by 12/31, you can still order a Model S or X until 1/15 to receive unlimited Supercharging.”
Superchargers are used for long distance travel, largely located along the most popular routes in North America, Europe, and Asia. Tesla’s evolution from anytime, anywhere Supercharging to a paid charging model with Supercharger Credits has caused some consternation.
What this could mean moving forward: The Supercharger network will likely expand but will also come with limitations on use. As more consumers become part of the Tesla family, they will experience tremendous advantages over other electric vehicles. Owners will also need to be flexible about other parameters involving the use of the automobile described at the time of sale. Perhaps it’s a small tradeoff for such an innovative vehicle.
Battery Cell Production Begins at the Gigafactory https://t.co/xrFl4tChBx
— Tesla (@Tesla) January 4, 2017
Jan. 4, Tesla: “Battery Cell Production Begins at the Gigafactory”
Lithium-ion battery cell production for the company’s residential and commercial battery system and Model 3 sedan went into warp drive this week. The high performance cylindrical cells, built in conjunction with long time partner and Gigafactory investor, Panasonic, are currently being used in Tesla’s Powerwall 2 and Powerpack 2 energy storage systems.
What this could mean moving forward: With only 30% capacity available at this time, once complete, Tesla expects the Gigafactory to be the biggest building in the world. Elon Musk has stated that the Gigafactory will make solar more affordable, allow the developing world to connect to skip the grid entirely by jumping straight to a solar and battery system, and to set an example for industries across the world with the Gigafactory. It’s a vision becoming reality, isn’t it?
Hold-down firing of @SpaceX Falcon 9 at Vandenberg Air Force completed. All systems are go for launch next week.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 5, 2017
Jan. 5, Elon Musk: “Hold-down firing of @SpaceX Falcon 9 at Vandenberg Air Force completed. All systems are go for launch next week.”
Elon Musk’s confirmation that “hold-down firing” of the Falcon 9 rocket to be used in the upcoming mission has been completed is big news. With “all systems are go for launch,” now it’s only the weather that stands in the way.
What this could mean moving forward: Falcon 9’s return to flight since its September launch pad explosion caused the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to get involved. A SpaceX accident investigation report granted SpaceX the required license on January 6th. The Falcon 9 is the only rocket that SpaceX uses, and it will resupply missions to the International Space Station and put military and commercial satellites into orbit.
Jan. 5, SolarCity: “Employment in the U.S. #solar industry recently surpassed 200,000 people.”
Since 2010, the nation’s solar power capacity has grown fifteen times. With US solar industry employment exceeding 200,000 people, it is now able to say that it employs more than the oil and gas extraction industry and three times more than the coal-mining industry.
What this could mean moving forward: The SolarCity website describes its employment force as consisting of operations, inside sales, in-home and lead generation sales, software engineering, headquarters, and customer service. SolarCity is positioned with brand name recognition, significant R&D, and the Tesla infrastructure backing to become of the highest most looked-to employers in the country. You should’ve seen the college kids flocking around a SolarCity booth at a recent Tesla event! They know what’s hot.
New rev for Autopilot HW2 rolling out Mon to first 1000 & to rest of fleet in shadow mode. Also improves HW1 and enables Ludicrous+.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 8, 2017
Jan. 7, Elon Musk: “New rev for Autopilot HW2 rolling out Mon to first 1000 & to rest of fleet in shadow mode. Also improves HW1 and enables Ludicrous+.”
In October, Tesla updated the self-driving hardware in its cars. As a result, buyers of new Teslas have had to go without the advanced self-driving features of Autopilot as the company finalized the related software. This week’s announcement gives Tesla a chance to test the software in more conditions without taking physical control of vehicles.
What this could mean moving forward: If all looks good,” Musk says, they’ll switch from shadow to active mode for all cars by the end of this week. This is hardware that is the forerunner of fully autonomous driving. Even now, Tesla drivers are seeing improvements in features as their number of miles driven under the new software increases. The Autopilot HW2 rollout harkens to a future made that much closer in which long distance travel will become easier and safer. Traffic stress will alleviate and so will traffic deaths. It is the precursor to a society in which cars drive themselves, allowing owners to earn income as the commute.
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