Hot: Elon Musk Interview On “Ride The Lightning” Podcast — A Tesla Geek’s Dream

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Image from Ride The Lightning YouTube

The Tesla community was excited when they heard that Ryan McCaffrey had scored an interview with Elon Musk for his 200th episode of the “Ride The Lightning” podcast, and he did not disappoint!

To listen to the podcast, you can go to major podcast services, like iTunes or Stitcher, or you can listen to it on YouTube. Here’s a timestamped summary:

  • 0m — Intro to the podcast
  • 1m — Asks, “When did you know the Model S was special?” Also talks about the hiring of Franz.
  • 3m — Designed the Model S as a car he would love — he tried to make something he was sure he would love and hopefully others would love it too.
  • 6m — “Could you foresee the impact the car was going to have on the world?” Elon says he was pessimistic, expected maybe a 10% chance of success.
  • 8m — “Even if we sold 100% electric cars today, it would take 15 years to replace existing cars.”
  • 9m — Ryan’s theory was that Ludicrous Mode was created because nobody copied the Model S, so Tesla was going to shame them.
  • 10m — Elon: Everyone thought EVs would fail in 2008 and 2012.
  • 11m — Everyone said it was impossible to make a high-performance, long-range EV, but physics said it was possible. They then said nobody would buy it. [Editor’s note: This and this.]
  • 13m — Companies are finally building EVs, especially in China. Was hard to compete in China when not locally produced.
  • 14m — Countries will start to ban gas cars, which will impact their gas car sales as those bans approach.
  • 16m — “What was your toughest design choice on Model 3?” Two screens to one screen. Hard to make the Model 3 look good. Central heat exchanger.
  • 18m — Width of the Model 3 driven by the size of parking machines in Japan. Pushed the cabin forward to give it more room. Glass roof adds a lot to the headroom.
  • 19m — Elon explains why the Model 3 doesn’t have a heads-up display.
  • 20m — New Roadster is dessert. Will not produce more than 10,000 a year. It will outperform every gas car at every level.
  • 22m — Can’t say what is in the Founder’s Series. Can go in any direction at 2G’s with cold gas thrusters.
  • 23m — Kept new Roadster a secret by using a separate nondescript building.
  • 24m — Model Y is MUCH roomier on the inside than it looks on the outside, confirming what I wrote in my Model Y styling tricks article. Elon confirmed styling similarity was very much intentional.
  • 26m — Door handles and falcon-wing door movement are designed for beauty. Elon explained the complexity of the logic used to decide when to open Model X doors.
  • 29m — Tesla is trying to make the manufacturing of the Model Y easy because it is too risky to do otherwise. Changing up design for SUV capability, seating 7, ride height, and more cargo capacity while still have a low drag coefficient and not increasing the frontal area too much, in order to keep range high.
  • 31m — Manufacturing improvements for the Y include casting for the rear underbody (70 parts in Model 3 to one part in Model Y, reducing weight and cost).
  • 32m — Underplayed his hand at the Model Y reveal to avoid stealing too many sales from Model 3 (see: Osborne effect).
  • 34m — Probably building Model Y in Fremont, but gating factor is the giant stamping tools for the body.  Optimizing for speed of execution. Found extra unused space.
  • 36m — Talked about games in cars, Unity and Unreal Engine. Cuphead is running on Tesla now and is incredibly hard. Storage a limitation, so may only be able to have one game at a time.
  • 39m — Tesla app store: as number of vehicles grows, it makes more sense, but not yet. Today, just have “a few cool games.”
  • 42m — Spotify vs Slacker: just not a priority.
  • 45m — Earning $30,000 a year from your Tesla.
  • 46m — Doesn’t know how to make a $20,000 car yet, needs more R&D and time to get there. Gas cars have had 150 years to get there.
  • 48m — Autonomy changes the game. Use the Tesla Network to make your lease payment. This will make a Tesla affordable to everyone!
  • 51m — Tesla pickup truck will start at less than $50,000. Will look very sci-fi. “Will be more capable than an F-150 and a better sports car than the Porsche 911.” Teaser image is of the front.
  • 54m — V3 Superchargers first deployed on long-distance routes and are replacing V1 sites. Most V2 sites are pretty fast already.
  • 55m — Elon hasn’t gotten any calls from other carmakers yet to use Tesla’s Supercharger networks.
  • 57m — Semi and pickup will both be very important and high-volume products.
  • 59m — Ryan thanks Elon for everything he does!


Ryan did a great job asking questions nobody has asked before, so this is a special one for fans of Tesla and/or Elon Musk.  I tried to timestamp the topics so that if you don’t have time for the whole interview you can use your time to just listen to the parts you care the most about. I recommend you listen to the whole thing if you have time.

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Paul Fosse

I have been a software engineer for over 30 years, first developing EDI software, then developing data warehouse systems. Along the way, I've also had the chance to help start a software consulting firm and do portfolio management. In 2010, I took an interest in electric cars because gas was getting expensive. In 2015, I started reading CleanTechnica and took an interest in solar, mainly because it was a threat to my oil and gas investments. Follow me on Twitter @atj721 Tesla investor. Tesla referral code:

Paul Fosse has 230 posts and counting. See all posts by Paul Fosse