Tesla acquires trucking companies to squeeze in more deliveries before Dec. 31

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted Thursday that the electric automaker had “acquired trucking capacity,” a move aimed to boost deliveries of its Model 3 vehicles before the federal tax credit begins to wind down December 31.

Musk at first didn’t explain what “acquired trucking capacity” meant. The company hasn’t posted any regulatory filings of an acquisition and Tesla has yet to respond to TechCrunch’s inquiry on the matter. Musk later tweeted that Tesla had both purchased trucking companies and secured contracts with major haulers to “avoid trucking shortage mistakes of last quarter.”

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Tesla, GM and Nissan are all part of a new coalition aiming to extend the EV tax credit

Tesla, GM and Nissan are among a group of 15 companies that launched a new coalition aimed at reforming the electric vehicle tax credit.

The group, called EV Drive Coalition, brings together a mix of automakers, industry giant ABB, climate change and energy lobbying organizations and EV infrastructure companies, including ChargePoint. The coalition, which officially launched Tuesday, wants to pass legislation that would tweak the federal electric vehicle tax credit to “ensure that it works better for more consumers for a longer time frame and spurs increased growth of the U.S. EV market.” The federal electric vehicle tax credit gives consumers a $7,500 credit when they buy an all-electric vehicle. The incentive has been credited with spurring adoption of EVs. However, once an automaker has sold 200,000 electric vehicles, the credit begins to wind down. Tesla is already in this position and GM is closing in. Earlier
Tesla GM electric vehicle tax credit
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In venture capital, it’s still the age of the unicorn

This month marks the 5-year anniversary of Aileen Lee’s landmark article, “Welcome To The Unicorn Club”.

At the time, the piece defined a new breed of startup — the $1 billion privately held company. When Lee did her first count, there were 39 “unicorns”; an improbable, but not impossible number.. Today, the once-scarce unicorn has become a global herd with 376 companies on the roster and counting.

But the proliferation of unicorns begs raises certain questions. Is this new breed of unicorn artificially created? Could these magical companies see their valuations slip and fall out of the herd? Does this indicate an irrational exuberance where investors

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Why you’re about to see a lot of drifting Tesla Model 3 videos

Tesla Model 3 owners who opted for the Performance variant now have a reason to go to the track. Or, if history is a guide, they’ll skip the track and try the newly released Track Mode software feature in a parking lot or winding road.

Track Mode — to be clear — is designed for, and should only be used on closed autocross circuits and racetracks. Here’s why. The software feature taps into the dual electric motors to squeeze even more performance out of the vehicle. But in a new way. Until now, Tesla has used the power produced by its dual motors and torque (the rotational force of an engine or, in this case, motor) to create a super-fast-accelerating vehicle. Now it’s using that same motor power and torque to turn the Model 3 into a cornering (and drifting) dynamo. As Tesla explains in a blog post (and shows
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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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The cost of energy storage has stalled adoption of renewable power. Energy Vault has a solution.

Since solar and wind power are now cheaper to produce than energy from fossil fuels, the only obstacle that remains to the mass adoption of renewable power is the amount of money utilities need to spend to store the energy those systems produce.

Right now, storing 100 megawatts of renewable energy (enough to power roughly 600,000 homes) means spending roughly $65.6 million on massive batteries like the kind made by Tesla, or relying on huge pumped hydro-electric storage projects that essentially create man-made dams where the release of water spins turbines to generate energy (those projects are typically far larger than 100 megawatts). A new company called Energy Vault, launched from Bill Gross’ Idealab incubator in Pasadena, Calif., has developed a technology, based on the principles of pumped hydro storage, that it claims can slash the cost of energy storage to a fraction of the current
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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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China’s NIO invests in LiDAR startup Innovusion

Innovusion, a two-year-old startup developing LiDAR sensor technology for autonomous vehicles, has raised $30 million in a Series A funding round co-led by Chinese firms Nio Capital and Eight Roads Ventures along with U.S.-based F-Prime Capital.

Other seed round and strategic investors joined the round, the startup said.

Nio Capital is the venture arm of Nio, the Chinese electric automaker aiming to compete with Tesla. Nio, which raised $1 billion when it debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in September, has operations in the U.S., U.K. and Germany, although it only sells its ES8 vehicle in China.

Innovusion, which was founded in November 2016, says it will use the funding to scale up its operations, specifically to ramp up production of its light detection and ranging sensor system called Innovusion Cheetah. The company began shipping samples of the system in the second quarter of 2018 and is

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Tesla to bring portion of Model 3 production to China next year

Tesla, which reported its first quarterly profits in two years Wednesday, is looking to extend its earnings streak by bringing its new Model 3 to customers beyond North America. And part of that plan involves accelerating its manufacturing plans in China.

Tesla saw its revenue skyrocket to $6.8 billion in the third quarter (and a $312 million profit) thanks to sales of its new Model 3 vehicle, despite production bottlenecks and more recent issues with delivery logistics. The company was able to achieve that profitability milestone just through sales in the U.S. and Canada. That leaves two other massive markets on the table. Cue Europe and China. Tesla said Wednesday it will start to take orders for the Model 3 in Europe and China before the end of 2018. Tesla said it will begin deliveries of the Model 3 to Europe early next year. “The mid-sized premium sedan market
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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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Vocal Tesla short seller has reversed course, driving shares higher

Citron Research, an influential short-seller that has been a staunch critic of Tesla, reversed its position on the electric automaker. The about-face, which Citron Research outlined in a research note Tuesday, helped pushed Tesla shares up 12.7 percent to close at $294.14.

The research note, entitled, “Citron reverses opinion on Tesla. The story has become too compelling to ignore,” explains that it has taken a long position in Tesla because “the Model 3 is a proven hit and many of the TSLA warning signs have proven not to be significant.” Investors who take short positions on a stock are betting the asset will fall in value. Citron Research, which was founded by Andrew Left, has been a reliable and often vocal Tesla “short,” a position it has stuck to for years now. Nearly five years ago, Left argued that multiple 200-mile-range-plus electric vehicles would be on the market
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Battery Megafactory Forecast: 400% Increase in Capacity to 1 TWh by 2028

Battery Megafactory Forecast: 400% Increase in Capacity to 1 TWh by 2028

Battery Megafactory Forecast

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays. When ground broke on the massive Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada in 2014, the world marveled at the project’s audacity, size, and scope. At the time, it was touted that the cutting-edge facility would be the largest building in the world by footprint, and that the Gigafactory would single-handedly be capable of doubling the world’s lithium-ion battery production capacity. What many did not realize, however, is that although as ambitious and as forward-looking as the project sounded, the Gigafactory was just the start of a trend towards scale in the battery making space. While Tesla’s facility was the most publicized, it would ultimately be one of many massive factories in the global pipeline.

Mastering Scale

Today’s data comes to us from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, and it forecasts that we will see a 399% increase
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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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E-moto startup Alta Motors reportedly powers down

Brisbane, California based e-motorcycle startup Alta Motors has ceased operations, TechCrunch has confirmed. 

Earlier today Asphalt and Rubber — and several subsequent outlets — reported the company stopped operating this morning, fired its staff, and may be looking for a buyer. Alta has yet to comment on the situation. “As of this morning I no longer represent Alta Motors so I’m not in a position to speak on it,” a former Alta Motors spokesperson told TechCrunch on background when asked about the shutdown. “I forwarded your request for more info to the board, and they’ll have to comment,” said the former comms rep. Alta’s head office has not respond to requests for comment. The EV company specializes in producing dual-sport and high performance electric powered off-road motorcycles. The startup had raised $45 million and counts Tesla co-founders Marc Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard among its investors. Alta made news in
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Building a great startup requires more than genius and a great invention

Many entrepreneurs assume that an invention carries intrinsic value, but that assumption is a fallacy.

Here, the examples of the 19th and 20th century inventors Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla are instructive. Even as aspiring entrepreneurs and inventors lionize Edison for his myriad inventions and business acumen, they conveniently fail to recognize Tesla, despite having far greater contributions to how we generate, move and harness power. Edison is the exception, with the legendary penniless Tesla as the norm.

Universities are the epicenter of pure innovation research. But the reality is that academic research is supported by tax dollars. The zero-sum game of attracting government funding is mastered by selling two concepts: Technical merit, and broader

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Tesla inks deal for Gigafactory 3 in China

Tesla has secured the rights to about 210 acres of land in Lingang, Shanghai, the site of the electric automaker’s planned factory and its first outside of the U.S.

Tesla executives and leaders of the Shanghai Economics and Information Committee, Shanghai Lingang Area Development Administration and Shanghai Lingang Group witnessed the agreement-signing ceremony in China on Wednesday. “Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy not only through all-electric vehicles, but also scalable clean energy generation and storage products,” Robin Ren, Tesla’s vice president of Worldwide Sales said in a statement. “Securing this site in Shanghai, Tesla’s first Gigafactory outside of the United States, is an important milestone for what will be our next advanced, sustainably developed manufacturing site.” The land transfer marks an important step for Tesla, which recently said rising costs had prompted the company to accelerate construction of its so-called Gigafactory 3. Tesla
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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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