Virgin Hyperloop One has a new CEO and board chairman

High-speed futuristic transportation company Virgin Hyperloop One is changing up its leadership.

CEO Rob Lloyd has left after three years at the helm and Jay Walder, who ran bike-sharing operator Motivate, is now heading up Virgin Hyperloop One, the company said Thursday. Sir Richard Branson, who stepped down as chairman in October, has been replaced with Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman and CEO of the United Arab Emirates shipping and logistics company DP World. DP World, which participated in Virgin Hyperloop One’s latest financing round, is now the company’s largest investor. DP World first invested in the company in 2016. Earlier this year, the two companies launched a logistics joint venture to develop hyperloop transport for cargo. Walder is also joining the board of directors. Virgin Hyperloop One said that the new senior management team will focus on commercialization, specifically a proposed hyperloop system in India. Walder has a
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Tesla picks telco executive Robyn Denholm to replace Elon Musk as chairman

Elon Musk’s replacement as the chair of Tesla has been named and it is Robyn Denholm, an Australian executive who has been a director with the electric vehicle firm since 2014.

Denholm is currently CFO of Australia-based telco Telstra and she’ll step into the breach once a six-month notice period is served, Tesla said in an announcement released late Wednesday evening U.S. time. There’s been plenty of speculation as to who will replace Musk — the figurehead of Tesla’s business — after he announced in September that he would step down as the firm’s chairman. Musk’s resignation was part of a settlement with the SEC, which found Tesla guilty of failing to require disclosure controls and procedures relating to a tweet from Musk about taking the company private. Tesla later confirmed it would remain a public entity despite Musk’s tweets. The SEC deal included a $20 million fine for Musk who
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Boring Tunnel is on track for an “opening party” next month

Last night, super entrepreneur and Twitter addict Elon Musk posted some mesmerizing footage of the tunnel that his nearly two-year-old infrastructure company, Boring Company, is creating in Los Angeles right now, the first of four planned projects that Musk promises will reduce congestion in car-choked city cities.

Musk also tweeted — not for the first time — that the company will unveil to the public the stretch of rapid-transit tunnel in the southern L.A. suburb of Hawthorne on December 10th, roughly five weeks from now. The idea, per Musk, is to host an opening event that night, followed by free rides for the public next day — though only the brave need apply. Musk has said previously that the system will be capable of whisking pedestrians, cyclists and private vehicles at speeds of up to 155 mph. Eventually, if all goes as planned, they will travel via an electric-powered
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Elon Musk says Tesla won’t make e-scooters, but might consider electric bikes

Tesla won’t be joining the scooter wars. But electric bikes? Yeah, maybe.

During a lengthy podcast with Recode’s Kara Swisher, Tesla CEO Elon Musk talked about everything from AI and his fights on Twitter with journalists to Saudi Arabia and Mars. Even scooters. Of course, scooters. But don’t get your hopes up for a Tesla scooter. According to Musk, they lack dignity. Swisher’s persistence on the topic wasn’t enough to Here’s the exchange. You can listen to the entire 80-minute session here. Kara: Make a scooter. Make a scooter and I’ll go for it. They actually are electric, what am I talking about?

Elon: I don’t know, there was some people in the studio who wanted to make a scooter, but I was like, “Uh, no.”

Kara: I love the scooter, no, get on the scooter.

Elon: It lacks dignity.

Kara: No, it doesn’t

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Tesla subpoenaed by SEC over Model 3 production forecasts

Tesla said Friday in a regulatory filing that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice are investigating projections made last year about Model 3 production rates. The SEC has issued subpoenas for information related to Model 3 production estimates. The DOJ, which is running a separate investigation over Model 3 production targets, has stopped short of taking that action.

The information contained in Tesla’s 10Q filing backs up an Oct. 26 article by the Wall Street Journal that reported the FBI was investigating whether the company misstated information about Model 3 production and misled investors. The FBI is the investigating arm of the DOJ. Tesla issued a statement at the time of the article, acknowledging that it had received a voluntary request for documents from the Department of Justice about its public guidance for the Model 3 ramp. “We were cooperative in responding to it,” the statement
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Meet Shuttle, the company that’s building a booking agent for spaceflight

Avery Haskell says he first knew he wanted to be an astronaut ever since he was a boy growing up in Houston near NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

The 24 year-old Stanford graduate who counts Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan as his heroes, grew up in an entrepreneurial family. In the early days of the Internet his mother, an accountant in the oil and gas industry, and father, an information technology technician for a railroad, had launched their own startup called “Neighbornet” — an early version of Zillow (which never got off the ground). Haskell, himself has bounced around the startup industry with forays into launching a crowdfunding startup, and stints at a few mobile technology companies, before landing on his current venture, Shuttle. Launched earlier this year out of the Alchemist Accelerator and co-founded with cybersecurity expert and Wickr co-founder, Nico Sell, Shuttle is aiming to be the web and
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Tesla earns its first profit in two years

Tesla reported a profit in the third quarter, reversing seven consecutive quarters of losses. It is only the third time in its history that it has achieved this milestone. The third quarter earnings, which were reported after the market closed Wednesday, rocketed shares up nearly 12 percent to above $320.

Tesla reported a profit of $312 million attributed to common shareholders in the three months that ended on September 30, compared with a $619 million loss in the same period last year. Tesla has had just two profitable quarters in its history, the last of which was reported in 2016. The turnaround at the company was driven by sales of the Model 3, the electric vehicle on which the company and its CEO Elon Musk has placed a considerable bet. Tesla struck a bullish tone in its letter to shareholders forecasting that the total market potential for Model 3 is
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Richard Branson steps down as chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One

Richard Branson has reportedly stepped down from the chairman role of Virgin Hyperloop One.

In a statement, cited by Reuters, Branson said the company would require more time than he could devote to the company:
At this stage in the company’s evolution, I feel it needs a more hands-on Chair, who can focus on the business and these opportunities. It will be difficult for me to fulfill that commitment as I already devote significant time to my philanthropic ventures and the many business within the Virgin Group.
What wasn’t mentioned was the cancellation of a planned project with Saudi Arabia after Branson criticized the kingdom and suspended negotiations around an intended $1 billion investment from the nation’s Public Investment Fund into Virgin’s space operations. Branson is one of several business leaders who have cut
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Tesla is rolling out a cheaper, mid-range Model 3

Tesla is now offering a new, cheaper mid-range battery version of the Model 3 that starts at $45,000 before federal tax incentives.

CEO Elon Musk announced the new variant, which has an estimated battery range of 260 miles, via Twitter. The company’s website has already been updated. Customers in the U.S. can order the mid-range version as of today and it will soon be offered in Canada as well. Tesla model 3 mid-range   Musk tweeted that the mid-range Tesla Model 3 costs $35,000 after federal and state tax rebates in California. However, for customers to realize the full $7,500 federal tax incentive, they must take delivery of the electric vehicle by December 31, 2018. The delivery estimate for the mid-range version is 6 to 10 weeks, which means customers who order the vehicle by late October or early November should still be able to get the full tax credit. Earlier this year,
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Elon Musk plans to buy another $20 million in Tesla stock

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the company’s largest shareholder, intends to buy another $20 million in common stock, a move that appears to be in response to a recent settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a filing Wednesday.

The 8-K document detailed a settlement agreement between Musk, Tesla and the SEC over allegations of securities fraud connected to his August 7 “funding secured” tweet about taking the electric automaker private. A federal judge approved the settlement Tuesday. At the bottom of the 8-K, Tesla outlined Musk’s plans to buy $20 million in stock. The statement read:
Separate and apart from the settlement, Elon has notified Tesla that he intends to purchase from Tesla, and Tesla expects that it will issue and sell to Elon, $20 million of Tesla’s common stock during the next open trading window at the then-current market price.
As part of the settlement,
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Elon Musk’s settlement with the SEC approved by judge, sending shares higher

The saga between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which began with a now infamous “funding secured” tweet about taking the electric automaker private, is officially resolved.

A federal judge has approved Musk’s settlement with the SEC over securities fraud allegations. Bloomberg was the first to report the judge’s approval. Tesla shares jumped more than 4 percent on the news. The SEC alleged in a complaint filed in September that Musk lied when he tweeted on August 7 that he had “funding secured” for a private takeover of the company at $420 per share. Federal securities regulators reportedly served Tesla with a subpoena just a week after the tweet. The SEC filed a complaint alleging securities fraud six weeks later. The complaint was filed after Musk and Tesla’s board abruptly walked away from an agreement with the SEC. The board not only pulled out of
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Elon Musk: Teslaquila tequila is ‘coming soon’

Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed Friday in a tweet that the Tesla-branded tequila called “Teslaquilla”—the bottle of liquor that co-starred in his April Fool’s Day joke about the automaker filing for bankruptcy — is “coming soon.”

Musk’s tweet was a response to a CNBC article that reported Tesla had filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark “Teslaquila.” Musk later tweeted a photo of a Teslaquila label.

The Teslaquila story began on April Fool’s Day after Musk posted a photo of himself passed out against a Tesla Model 3 “surrounded by “Teslaquilla” bottles, the tracks of dried tears still visible on his cheeks.” In the photo, Musk is holding a cardboard sign that reads “bankwupt.”

Elon Musk hits back: James Murdoch is not the lead candidate for Tesla chairman spot

It’s 4:20 p.m., which means Tesla CEO Elon Musk might be tweeting.

This time, the billionaire entrepreneur’s tweet debunked a Financial Times article from Wednesday that reported Twenty-First Century Fox CEO and Tesla board member James Murdoch was the lead candidate to take Musk’s chairman spot. Musk agreed in a September 29th settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to step down as chairman within 45 days. Musk, who didn’t not admit wrongdoing under the settlement, was also fined $20 million. Tesla was also fined and the company agreed to other conditions, including adding two independent board members.  Musk tweeted that the report is “incorrect.” The FT report, which cited unnamed people who were briefed on the chairman discussions, also noted Musk favored Antonio Gracias, Tesla’s lead independent director. Musk was reportedly advised that Gracias may not be considered independent enough. The Musk tweet was sent at
tesla elon musk james murdoch
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Elon Musk deserves tougher love from the SEC

Four Elon Musk tweets. One Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit. Two settlement offers. Then some more Musk tweets taunting the SEC. While Tesla continues to prove its doubters wrong as an automotive and energy business, the ongoing social media sideshow hangs over its finances. The stock rose to $310.70 per share on Monday, after Musk agreed to settle with the SEC last weekend. But the company ended this Friday around where it had been a week before, at $261.95 per share, seemingly driven by investor fears over the chief executive’s ongoing Twitter problem. The SEC needs to help creative but impulsive entrepreneurs like Musk get off of social media and focus on building their companies—by being fair but firm. So far, it’s been too easy, and that’s setting the wrong precedent. When companies go public, they’re agreeing to put the interests of their shareholders first. Impulsive tweeting breaks
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Elon Musk is trolling the SEC on Twitter

Tesla CEO Elon Musk trolled the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in a tweet Thursday afternoon, poking the bear that just days before had agreed to settle securities fraud charges against the billionaire entrepreneur. The tweet, sent out at 1:16 pm PT Thursday, says: “Just want to that the Shortseller Enrichment Commission is doing incredible work. And the name change is so on point!” elon musk trolls sec twitter The SEC declined to comment. Tesla has not yet responded to a request for comment. Tesla shares, which closed down 4%, fell another 2.5% in after-hours trading. Musk later apologized. But not for the mocking tweet. Instead he doubled down on this trollery and apologized for the typo. elon musk twitter sec typo tweet Not all of his supporters appreciated the tweets, calling the CEO out for hurting the stock. Musk’s advice: “Hang in there. If you are truly long-term, it will be fine.”

Federal judge rules Tesla must defend itself against lawsuit alleging it mistreated foreign workers

A federal judge denied Tesla’s motion to dismiss charges in a lawsuit claiming that it mistreated foreign workers. This means the automaker will have to defend itself at trial against allegations that foreign workers at its Fremont factory worked shifts that violated forced labor laws and were threatened with deportation if they reported injuries. The ruling comes just a few days after Elon Musk agreed to resign as Tesla’s chairman (while staying on as its CEO) to settle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC filed a complaint in federal district court last week charging Musk with fraud related to his tweets in August that he planned to take Tesla private at $420 a share. In a ruling made on Monday, Judge Lucy Koh of California Northern District Court in San Jose dismissed five out of seven claims in the lawsuit, Lesnik v. Eisenmann SE (case number
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Tesla deliveries double, led by Model 3 surge

Tesla delivered 83,500 electric vehicles in the third quarter, more than double from the previous period as the company steered by Elon Musk pulled out all the stops to get its newest sedan, the Model 3, to customers. The company delivered 55,840 Model 3 sedans up from 18,440 in the previous quarter, which was in line within its own guidance. The company’s delivery numbers fell just short of the 56,000 deliveries expected by a consensus of analysts surveyed by FactSet. Tesla emphasized in its report Tuesday that thousands of vehicles — 8,048 Model 3 and 3,776 Model S and X vehicles — were in transit to customers at the end of the quarter. The company is standing by its overall target of 100,000 Model S and X deliveries in 2018 remains. Delivery logistics became the primary pinch point for the company in the third quarter with customers reporting delays and confusion
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Tesla shares rebound, erasing losses from SEC-Elon Musk showdown

Tesla shares popped more than 17% on Monday, erasing losses from last week’s tussle between CEO Elon Musk and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. That “tussle” might have cost Musk $20 million (ands Tesla another $20 million) and his chairman of the board seat. But after an initial shock, investors have apparently recovered. Perhaps it was Musk’s leaked internal email (later filed as an 8k with the SEC) that stated Tesla is “close to achieving profitability.” Or maybe investors believe the SEC settlement won’t fundamentally change the company. Musk’s tweets might have more lawyerly oversight and he may no longer be chairman, but he’ll remain CEO, is still the largest shareholder and has a board seat. Even the late-night tweets (yup, there already was one at 1 a.m. PT Monday) haven’t gone away. In other words, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” Either way,
tesla shares october 1 2018
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Elon Musk agrees to resign as Tesla chairman in settlement with SEC

Tesla CEO Elon Musk will step down as chairman of the electric automaker and pay a $20 million fine under a settlement reached with the U.S Securities and Exchange commission. Musk will remain CEO and he will still keep a seat on the board, just not as chairman. The agreement settles what could have turned into a bitter and potentially damaging fight for Musk, the company, and Tesla shareholders. Musk will resign from his role as chairman of the Tesla board within 45 days of the agreement, which was filed Saturday. He has agreed to not seek reelection or accept an appointment as chairman for three years. An independent chairman will be appointed, under the settlement agreement. Tesla will pay a separate $20 million penalty, according to the SEC. The SEC said the charge and fine against Tesla is for failing to require disclosure controls and procedures relating to Musk’s tweets.
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The 7 most eyebrow-raising details in the Elon Musk fraud complaint

The securities fraud complaint filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission against Tesla CEO Elon Musk contains an eye-opening view into the events leading up to the “funding secured” tweet heard round the internet. And luckily, TechCrunch has read through the document and highlighted the most compelling details, including new insights from the SEC’s investigation. But first, the nuts and bolts: The SEC filed a complaint Thursday in federal district court alleging that Musk lied when he tweeted on August 7 that he had “funding secured” for a private takeover of the company at $420 per share. Federal securities regulators reportedly served Tesla with a subpoena just a week after the tweet. Investigations can take years before any action is taken, if at all. In this case, the investigation, which regulators say is continuing, progressed to a complaint within six weeks.