Elon Musk humiliation: Furious Tesla owners unable to connect to cars after tech DISASTER

On Wednesday, Tesla’s internal systems crashed with owners unable to connect to their cars for hours. The issue was reported at 11am EDT (3pm GMT), with Tesla staff also unable to “process deliveries and orders”. The network outage also affected other services like Tesla solar and Powerwall. CEO Elon Musk did not immediately comment on the system crash. This is just the latest disaster for the Space X boss after stocks in Tesla tumbled more than 10 percent Wednesday. Stocks tumbled after Mr Musk promised to unveil new technology to cut electric vehicle costs but failed to deliver.

The Tesla outage was reported across the world, and is believed to be one of the “most wide-ranging” in the company’s history.

At 12pm EDT (4pm BST), some drivers reported the issue was resolved, but others waited hours longer.

As of 3pm EDT (7pm BST), tech website Electrek said most of the issues for drivers was resolved.

But Tesla’s internal systems were unable to be fixed at the time, causing havoc for staff.

READ MORE: Elon Musk humiliation: Space X boss suffers major blow as Tesla shares suffer worst day

Fred Lambert, editor of Electrek, said the internal server crash was a “nightmare” for staff.

In a tweet announcing the internal systems were still down, Mr Lambert said: “It is creating major problems for sales, service, and deliveries.”

But while connectivity features were disabled, drivers were still able to access their Tesla cars and drive using bluetooth connections and their key fob.

The network outage mainly impacted customer connectivity features, like music, live satellite maps and internet browsing.

It comes ahead of next years roll out of a new range of Tesla cars at lower price points.

Mr Musk announced plans to build an affordable £19,650 electric car, as well as to cut battery costs in half over the next three years and to produce around 20 million cars a year

The CEO of Tesla has said an affordable electric car “has always been out dream from the beginning of the company”.

Tesla plans to achieve this by making the battery a structural element of the car, in addition to creating larger cylindrical cells which will provide five times more energy and six times more power.

But industry experts and investors downplayed Mr Musk’s promises of affordable electric cars.

Craig Irwin, a Roth Capital Partners analyst, said to the Telegraph: “Nothing Musk discussed about batteries is a done deal. There was nothing tangible.”

Simon Moores, Benchmark Minerals managing director added: “The issue is separating what’s commercially real and achievable and what’s a dream.

“Tesla has put out a lot of big statements to do with zero cobalt in the batteries, to do with how they make cathodes, especially on lithium, and they make it sound like they can do it now.

“They make it sound like it’s easy but the reality is it’s far more difficult than that.”



Will critics of German Gigafactory slow down Elon Musk?

It’s a day that many critics of Elon Musk’s Gigafactory in Grünheide have been waiting a long time for.

Originally scheduled to take place in March this year, a public hearing was pushed back by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The number of officially filed complaints has since swollen to 414, underscoring the need for a platform to deal with the concerns of objectors.

Hearing them can no longer be delayed as the construction of the huge Gigafactory plant is already well underway near the idyllic community of Grünheide in the state of Brandenburg, just outside Berlin.

For Tesla, speed is of the essence

“Once there was a forest, now there’s a factory” has been one of the slogans most often heard from critics of the plant which is to create up to 12,000 jobs directly and produce half a million electric cars annually as of mid-2021.

Tesla Gigafactory construction site near Grünheide, Germany

With a final building permit not yet there, Tesla hasn’t wasted any time to make its Gigafactory outside Berlin take shape

With one forest area already cleared and parts of the Gigafactory buildings already standing tall near the A10 highway, objectors haven’t tired of pointing out that Elon Musk and his Tesla company still don’t have a final building permit from the state’s environmental authorities, meaning that Tesla is forging ahead at its own risk and would have to restore the place to what it was like before construction started, should it not get such a permit.

That, of course, seems rather unlikely, leaving objectors annoyed at the sheer speed of construction work. Tesla aims to complete the factory even faster than its sister plant in Shanghai by using prefab components.

Will complaints be watered down?

While some critics target the logging of trees for the Gigafactory — with yet another forest area to go for a separate autobahn exit — most complaints center around water supply and water safety concerns among residents in Grünheide and the wider area.

One of the critics, Thomas Löb, tells DW the Gigafactory may have a huge impact on the water supply of the wider region, with part of the area being a drinking water protection zone. Löb is head of the Brandenburg branch of the Ecological Democratic Party (ÖDP).

Besides concerns about the vast amount of water that Tesla is expected to need, Löb and many of his fellow objectors don’t approve of the company’s building technique that involves driving over 500 piles deep into the ground to secure factory foundations.

Venue of a public hearing on Tesla's Gigafactory in Germany

A huge hall in Erkner in the state of Brandenburg was chosen as the venue for the public hearing

“These piles pose a big danger,” Löb warned. “After all, they could damage numerous natural aquifers that are located directly beneath the factory.” He demands that the concerns of the locals take precedence “rather than the high-flying ambitions of a US businessman.”

His concerns were echoed by Michael Ganschow from the Green League Brandenburg, an ecological pressure group. “In principle, it’s all very clear — safe water supply for residents is an absolute priority,” he told DW. “Only if this is guaranteed can we talk about the interests of Tesla or in fact any other company that wants to be located here — but what we see right now is that this principle is being turned on its head.”

Suitable roads and rail links?

Other complaints voiced related to fears that the local infrastructure might not keep abreast of industrial developments in and around the Grünheide community, now a place of under 9,000 inhabitants.

Even without the Gigafactory, there are frequent traffic jams during peak hours. Critics fear the situation will get out of control completely with more and more delivery trucks on the road and thousands of employees commuting to the Tesla plant every day in the years ahead.

Additionally, the Gigafactory may only be the beginning of something even bigger. The state of Brandenburg had for many years fought an uphill battle to attract investors, and the arrival of the iconic Tesla brand certainly has the potential to lure more big employers to the region.

Are more electric cars really helpful?

The complaints brought forward at the hearing also went to show that some critics — while welcoming the current campaign in Germany and beyond to switch to renewables and greener ways of transportation — question the philosophy of “clogging up the roads with even more cars, be they environmentally friendly or not,” as Sophie Scherger from the Berlin-based PowerShift research team told DW.

Sophie Scherger of Berlin-based PowerShift

Sophie Scherger of PowerShift doubts whether making more cars corresponds with the future of mobility

“The thing about Tesla is that we actually want fewer cars on the roads in the long run, and we definitely don’t want to see any mass production of big electric SUVs that consume a lot of material, while mining causes considerable damage to the environment,” Scherger argued.

The ÖDP’s Thomas Löb says the Tesla cars to come from the plant in Grünheide “will do nothing to ease any traffic jams on our roads, on the contrary — we’d rather welcome large-scale investments in our insufficient public transport infrastructure.”

The public hearing may continue for several days, depending on how fast the objections can be dealt with by Brandenburg’s environment authorities. Afterwards, the officials will take some more time to analyze the complaints further and come up with a final decision later this fall.



Colonizing Mars could be dangerous and ridiculously expensive. Elon Musk wants to do it anyway

Musk, the company’s CEO and chief engineer, refers to his interplanetary ambitions more like a sci-fi protagonist with a moral calling than an entrepreneur with a disruptive business plan.

The last space program that came close to Musk’s interplanetary travel ambitions was NASA’s Apollo program, the mid-20th Century effort that landed six spacecraft and 12 astronauts on the moon. Apollo cost well over $280 billion in today’s dollars, and, in some years, NASA was taking up more than 4% of the entire national budget. The space agency, which in more recent years has received less than half of one percent of the federal budget, is mapping its own plans to return humans to the moon and, eventually, a path to Mars.

But the agency has not indicated how much the latter could cost, either.

Musk’s personal wealth has ballooned to about $100 billion — at least on paper — thanks in no small part to a series of stock and stock awards from his electric car company, Tesla. Musk has also repeatedly said that he hopes profits from SpaceX’s other businesses, including a satellite-internet venture that is currently in beta testing, will help fuel development of his Mars rocket. SpaceX has also raised nearly $6 billion from banks and venture capitalists, swelling into one of the most highly-valued private companies in the world, according to data firm Pitchbook. Presumably, at least some investors will one day be looking to cash out.

And that begs the question: Is there money to be made on Mars?

Interplanetary profit

SpaceX is likely still many, many years from developing all the technology a Mars settlement would require. The company is in the early stages of developing its Starship, a massive rocket and spaceship system that Musk hopes will ferry cargo and convoys of people across the at-minimum 30 million-mile void between Earth and Mars. Musk has estimated Starship development will cost up to $10 billion, and Musk said Aug. 31 that SpaceX will look to launch “hundreds” of satellites aboard Starship before entrusting it with human lives.

If it proves capable of the trek to Mars, settlers will need air-tight habitats to shield them from toxic air and the deadly radiation that rains down on its surface.
A prototype of SpaceXs Starship is pictured at the company's Texas launch facility on September 28, 2019 in Boca Chica near Brownsville, Texas.

“It’s not for the faint of heart,” Musk said. “Good chance you’ll die, and it’s going to be tough going…It’d better be pretty glorious if it works out.”

But for at least the first 100 years that humans have a presence on Mars, the economic situation will be dubious, said Michael Meyer, the lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, which recently launched the Perseverance rover to further study the planet robotically.
How SpaceX and NASA overcame a bitter culture clash to bring back US astronaut launches
Musk does have a plan for making Mars an attractive destination for long-term living: Terraforming, a hypothetical scenario in which humans make Mars more Earth-like by pumping gases into the atmosphere. It’d be an attempt to use the same greenhouse gases causing the climate crisis on our home planet to make Mars’ atmosphere thicker, warmer and more hospitable to life. Musk has promoted the idea that the process could be kicked off by dropping nuclear bombs on the planet.

The idea of terraforming arose from scientists who were kicking around ideas, Meyer said, but not from anyone who thought it was something humans could or should do.

“It was an intellectual exercise,” Meyer said. But there’s barely any oxygen in Mars’ atmosphere. And there’s an infinitesimally small amount of water, meaning it will be extremely difficult to grow crops, much less create a Mars-wide water cycle. It’s not even clear if there are enough resources on Mars to make terraforming possible at all.

Musk, in a photo posted to his Instagram, wears one of SpaceX's "Occupy Mars" t-shirts.

“I think ‘Total Recall’ has the right idea,” he joked. “You’d need to use some alien technology.”

Musk has also acknowledged that terraforming will be extremely resource-intensive. But the concept is ingrained in SpaceX lore, so much so that the company sells t-shirts saying “Nuke Mars” and “Occupy Mars.”

Musk is frequently seen wearing one.

Values and valuations

There are no known resources on Mars that would be valuable enough to mine and sell back to Earthly businesses, Meyer said. “Part of the reason [scientists are] interested in Mars is — it’s pretty much made of the same stuff as Earth,” he told CNN Business.

Musk has previously suggested that he agrees, noting that the resources on Mars would likely be valuable only to settlers hoping to build up industries on the planet. He noted eight years ago that the only “economic exchange” between Mars and Earth dwellers would be “intellectual property.”
Mars, the fourth planet from the sun, has days that are roughly as long as Earth days. But it's a smaller planet, its temperatures average -81 degrees Fahrenheit, and its atmosphere is much thinner and comprised mostly of carbon dioxide.

Money-making ambitions aside, the idea that Mars could one day become home to a metropolis and — potentially — a tourist destination is acknowledged by mainstream scientists like Meyer, NASA’s lead Mars expert.

Meyer said that, 20 years ago, he attended a presentation about Mars business and tourism. “I went in pretty skeptical of this… and coming away I was thinking, ‘Well, [there are] some pretty reasonable ideas,” he said, adding that he now embraces the idea that businesspeople could make space travel more accessible.

Meyer added that, in his mind, it’s not if Mars travel will one day be a profitable venture, but when.

Musk hasn’t expanded on his ideas for making money on Mars, but his musings about exporting intellectual property echoed a book written by Robert Zubrin, an influential but polarizing figure in the space community and a longtime Musk ally.

“Ideas may be another possible export for Martian colonists,” Zubrin, who heads the Mars Society, wrote in his oft-cited 1996 book, “The Case for Mars.”

To look towards a potential future of humanity, Zubrin looks to its past.

“Just as the labor shortage prevalent in colonial and 19th century America drove the creation of Yankee Ingenuity’s flood of inventions, so the conditions of extreme labor shortage…will tend to drive Martian ingenuity.”

In a recent interview with CNN Business, Zubrin stood by those ideas, arguing American colonization has worked. Zubrin again harkens back to the colonization of North America as an example of how would-be Mars colonists might fund their trip, either by liquidating their Earthly possessions to fund the trip or by “indentured servitude.”

“If you say, okay, you want to go to Mars, you’re going to want to offer something,” Zubrin said. “If you look at Colonial America, a middle-class person could travel to America by liquidating their farm. But, the proceeds would give them a one-way ticket. But if you are working, what you could do is sell your labor for seven years.”

Zubrin, who has worked with conservative think tanks but says he is not politically affiliated, also acknowledged that colonization can go hand-in-hand with exploitation: “If somebody says, ‘But won’t there be exploitation there?’ Well sure, that’s what people do to each other all the time.”

(Musk has not expounded on his thoughts about colonialism, and he donates to both US political parties.)

To be clear: The story of American colonialism also included chattel slavery and the brutalization and erasure of many native populations.

“There aren’t native Martians,” Zubrin said.

But Damien Williams — a teacher and PhD student at Virginia Tech who studies the intersection of advanced technologies, ethics and societies — warns that the stories we may tell ourselves about America and exploring outer space can leave out key context.

 A prototype of SpaceX's Starship spacecraft is seen at the company's Texas launch facility on September 28, 2019 in Boca Chica near Brownsville, Texas
It’s still unclear, for example, who Musk envisions as the first Mars settlers. NASA astronauts? Ultra-wealthy thrill-seekers? SpaceX employees?
“This competitive stance of expansion and exploration, it’s not necessarily a bad thing,” Williams, who also works with the advocacy group Just Space Alliance, said. But, when it comes to a private company using resources that international treaties say do not belong to anyone — “Who’s been brought in and how? Who’s been left out and why? These things matter.”

Musk’s use of the word “colonization” also belies a long history of Americans and other Western nations enriching themselves by exploiting and enslaving others. And when it comes to colonizing another planet, it’s not just the microbial lifeforms that may exist on Mars that should be concerned. Without clearly defined objectives and agreements, SpaceX’s colony could create a “contentious sphere of conflict,” Williams said.

“The values that we take with us into space exploration should be front and center,” he added.

SpaceX did not respond to requests for comment for this story.



Teutonic Tesla: Elon Musk's busy week in Germany

Elon Musk fans were starting to get nervous. The Tesla founder is an avid Twitter user, but after almost three days in Germany, during which he was received like a rockstar, he still hadn’t tweeted. What was going on?

Only when the trip was over did some tweets arrive. “Great trip to Germany,” wrote Musk, followed by one with a few words in German and a photo showing him in old-fashioned carpenter’s clothing on the construction site of the Tesla factory near Berlin.

Musk had already announced the reason for his visit to Germany at the weekend, via Twitter: a visit to the new building called “Gigafactory” and also a “side project” at the mechanical engineering firm Grohmann, which Tesla took over in 2017.

Tesla Grohmann Automation, as the company is now called, is working with the Tübingen biotech company CureVac on a project that could play a major role in the development of a vaccine for COVID-19.

The goal: print drugs

CureVac is considered a beacon of hope in vaccine development. Allegedly, the US government wanted to buy CureVac, which in turn led the German government to invest via the state-owned owned KfW bank.

CureVac specializes in the development of drugs based on the messenger molecule mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid). They can be used in cancer therapy, but also in the development of vaccines.

The collaboration between Curevac and Grohmann dates back to 2015, two years before Tesla joined the company. The goal: to develop an RNA printer that works like a mini-factory and can produce such drugs automatically.

Tuesday: visit to Tübingen

There is now a prototype, and that was the reason why Musk started his trip to Germany on Tuesday with a visit to Tübingen.

“It was about how we can get the RNA printer ready for series production together with Tesla Grohmann,” CureVac spokesman Thorsten Schüller told DW.

The system is roughly the size of a small car and is therefore mobile. “The idea behind this is that you can use it to produce drugs based on RNA flexibly and locally, for example in regions where there is an outbreak of infection.”

Tests under real conditions are planned for the coming year, says Schüller. When it will be ready for series production is still uncertain.

Takeover rumors and denials

Being able to produce medicine quickly, cheaply and exactly where it is needed — that is an idea with enormous potential. No wonder, then that speculation began immediately as to whether Musk wanted to buy a stake in CureVac.

CureVac’s main owner Dietmar Hopp, who did not meet with Musk, fought back. Such considerations are “pure fantasy,” CureVac “is and will remain” a German company he told the Münchner Merkur newspaper.

Tesla's Elon Musk wearing a mask while visiting a technology park in Tübingen, Germany

Elon Musk during his visit to CureVac

The billionaire Hopp, who is a co-founder of the software company SAP, owns 49.5% of CureVac. The German state has a 17% stake through KfW Bank, and the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline holds a further 8.5%. In mid-August, CureVac went public on the New York Nasdaq exchange.

CureVac spokesman Schüller said that Musk’s potential buying of shares was not an issue during the visit. Tesla Grohmann and the parent company did not respond to a DW request for comment.

Wednesday: meeting with ministers in Berlin

On Wednesday, Musk raved about the “revolutionary technology” of mobile drug production in Berlin during a conversation with German Economics Minister Peter Altmaier.

They also of course talked about the Tesla plant in Grünheide. Here, around 40 kilometers (24.8 miles) east of Berlin, Tesla has been building a factory since the beginning of the year, in which up to 12,000 people a year will produce up to 500,000 Tesla vehicles.

It is not known if Musk also spoke to Altmaier about possible state funding for the plant. The federal government wants to promote the battery industry in the country with around €3 billion ($3.56 billion) of aid. However, it is unclear if batteries will be produced at the plant.

The factory is to open in summer 2021. Musk is sticking to this goal despite the pandemic, announced the regional government of Brandenburg after a meeting between the entrepreneur and State Premier Dietmar Woidke.

“There is still a lot of work ahead of us,” said Woidke, adding that the planned car factory already has a “pull effect.” The nonparty mayor of Grünheide even compares the factory with a lottery win.

However, because not all environmental approvals have yet been obtained, Tesla is building with preliminary approvals at its own risk.

This is another reason for regular protests. Many fear negative consequences for the environment. “No industry in the water protection area” and “Stop the overexploitation of nature and groundwater immediately!” was written on protest banners near the site.

Thursday: Visit to the Tesla construction site

The deadline for citizens’ objections ended at midnight on Thursday. The arguments will then be discussed in the local town hall on September 23.

Cranes moving prefabricated concrete slaps around at the Tesla factory constuction site in Grünheide

Work is well underway at the site of Tesla’s planned factory in Grünheide

During his visit to Grünheide on Thursday, Musk praised the rapid pace of the work. “You can see how fast the progress is,” he said. This is possible through the use of high-quality prefabricated buildings. Tesla wants to “create a great place to work” and “build cool cars.”

Musk brushed off critical questions about the factory’s high water consumption: “These trees would not grow if there was no water,” he said. After all, compared to California, Brandenburg is not exactly a dry area.

Twitter stirrings

On Thursday afternoon, Musk finally found time to tweet, but not about his visit to Grünheide. Instead, he retweeted messages from his rocket company SpaceX to his almost 40 million followers, without any reference to Germany.

Only shortly after midnight did the above-mentioned tweets come. Altmaier, a frequent tweeter by German politician standards, was even more cautious. Neither he nor his ministry mentioned the meeting with Musk on the social media platform. Research Minister Anja Karliczek, who is barely active on Twitter, also remained silent after her meeting with Musk.

Only Health Minister Jens Spahn took the chance to benefit from Musk’s reflected glow to announce that he had discussed the big issues with the entrepreneur.

This article was adapted from German by Arthur Sullivan



What German Gigafactory neighbors make of Tesla's Elon Musk

If Beatrix Hundertmark got the chance to talk to Elon Musk, she would tell him that he made a grave mistake.

“It’s a totally wrong place for this investment,” she says, standing just opposite Tesla Street in Grünheide, Germany.

Here, Musk’s electric car company Tesla is building its biggest factory in Europe. Just next to a Berlin motorway ring, trucks drive in and out of the construction site, cranes spring up in the sky; carcasses of future production halls are visible in the distance.

A road sign readying Tesla Street close to the entrance to the construction site of the Tesla factory in Grünheide

Tesla’s new Gigafactory is making rapid progress, with the first cars scheduled to roll off production lines by mid-2021

Hundertmark came here to protest against the investment and together with some like-minded local residents waits in the pouring rain to shout it out to Musk himself.

Local worries

It only took the eccentric businessman to tweet that he wants to visit the Grünheide site during his stay in Germany this week, and a few days later dozens of local residents, journalists, and Tesla fans crowd at the entrance to the site, all of them hoping to see Musk in person. Hundertmark carries a big banner: “Stop the depletion of nature and groundwater now!”

“For two years we are being told to save water, and now there should be enough of it for this factory?” she asks angrily. She lives two kilometers (1.24 miles) away and is worried that the investment will worsen the water shortages, which are haunting this region.

To build the planned 500,000 electric cars per year, Tesla hopes to employ up to 12,000 people in Grünheide. This could give a boost to the region, which was formerly part of communist East Germany. But Hundertmark remains skeptical. The unemployment rate is low, she says, and “those, who are unemployed already, won’t find jobs at Tesla anyway,” she believes.

Something happening, finally

Steffen Seiler, another local resident, scoffs at the protesters. He came to the site to show his support of the project. “There has been no development here since the political upheavals,” he says, referring to the reforms after the fall of the Berlin Wall, which left many industries in former East Germany shattered.

Picture of Steffen Seiler in front of the Gigafactory construction site

Grünheide resident Steffen Seiler says the Gigafactory is a good thing and will give the region a boost

“I don’t even receive a mobile phone signal at my place,” Seiler says. Just like in many other regions in Germany’s east, technology infrastructure is scarce. Now Elon Musk is in the region — the man who sends satellites into space for wireless internet. For some here he’s like a long-awaited savior.

Seiler is 54 years old, in early retirement. He hopes to be able to sell some of the family land only a few kilometers away for residential use for future Tesla employees. But the protesters in his village have blocked such deals until now. “I can’t stand it,” Seiler says.

There’s one group of people, though, that doesn’t seem to mind the long wait: the hardcore Tesla fans.

Take Robert and Andreas Wolf. The twin brothers wear similar T-shirts, share a Tesla car, and travel with it to the site once a week from Berlin to film the construction progress with their drones. Their footage gets thousands of views on YouTube. They are amazed by the speed, with which the South African-born businessman pursues his investment. “He always finds a way and resources,” says one of the brothers.

Robert and Andreas Wolf holding a drone in their hands with which they make aerial photos of the Gigafactory

Brothers Robert and Andreas Wolf present the drone with which they document the progress on the construction site

Lightning speed

Musk announced his plans for the German Gigafactory last November, and now the factory is already taking shape, even though it still lacks the final environmental construction approval. In the worst case, if it won’t be granted, Tesla would need to dismantle everything at its own cost. It seems like a big bet, one worth billions of dollars. But if everything goes according to Musk’s plan, the plant will start operating in 2021.

His fans standing at the site’s entrance are full of praise: “It’s motivating and inspiring to follow him,” says Robert Wolf.

“We need more investors like him in Germany,” says another man, who came with binoculars to be able to see Musk. “With all the regulations and subsidies in Germany we are scaring off big investments. For me Musk symbolizes progress and business power.”

Infrastructure demands

The center of Grünheide is five kilometers away from the construction site. It’s a sleepy little town of 8,000 inhabitants, sandwiched between two picturesque lakes. Here Michael Schweer-de Bailly sits in the neighborhood center that he runs together with his wife.

Michael Schwee-de Bailly sitting at a desk in the Grünheide neigborhood center

Grünheide resident Michael Schweer-de Bailly says construction of the Gigafactory is progressing at lightning spped. He worries that the local infrastructure might not be ready in time

He prepares to conduct a German language class for medical apprentices from China and Vietnam, who study in a nearby clinic. They come to fill up the places of young Germans, who are leaving this region for better-off parts of Germany in the west and the south.

For two hours every week Tesla uses his neighborhood center to organize information events for the local residents. Schweer-de Bailly went there many times. “These events helped to calm people down,” he says regarding the widely shared worries about water scarcity in the region. He is in favor of Tesla’s project, since he hopes that the company will be able to take water from other regions as well.

Now he has another worry. “Musk is a sprinter,” says Schweer-de Bailly, describing the speed of construction on the outskirts of the community. “But will we be able to build the necessary infrastructure in time?” He lists all the necessary steps: bigger trains coming to the town more often than once an hour, housing for Tesla employees, a new highway exit. It seems that many in this sleepy German region will now need to learn how to match Elon Musk’s pace.



Elon Musk latest: SpaceX boss shaken by ‘serious’ Russian heist on Tesla DEMANDING ransom

The chief executive of Tesla announced the “serious attack” on the company was attempted on Twitter. Court documents were released last week showing a Russian national planned the bitcoin heist on the electric car company. 

Mr Musk said Tesla was the victim of a ransomware hacker demanding $1 million in bitcoin.

In reply to an article announcing the hackers arrest, he said: “This was a serious attack.”

According to FBI reports, an employee at the company’s Nevada factory was offered payment to carry out the ransomware attack.

The employee was offered $1 million as well as upfront payment of 1 bitcoin, worth $11,870.

READ MORE: Elon Musk reveals unusual new Neuralink brain chip – ‘A Fitbit in your skull’

The Tesla employee instead informed the Tesla staff of the attack attempt.

The employees then alerted the FBI of the attempt to install ransomware on the company’s computer network.

FBI agents arrested a man, on August 22 in Los Angeles.

He was charged last week for “conspiracy to intentionally caused damage to a protected computer”, and faces up to five years in prison for his role in the attack.

Tesla is now worth an eye-watering $465 billion, and as of July is the world’s biggest car company.

It recently announced plans to sell £5 billion in stocks after this year’s extraordinary growth in value.

As of Monday’s stock market close, Tesla has recorded growth in stock prices around 500 percent throughout 2020.

Tesla said they plan to sell the additional shares “from time to time”, and added: “We intend to use the net proceeds, if any, from this offering to further strengthen our balance sheet, as well as for general corporate purposes.”

Mr Musk was also the target of a bitcoin scam this year, along with other famous American billionaires.

The Tesla chief, along other high-profile figures such as Joe Biden and Bill Gates, saw their Twitter accounts compromised by hackers who posted links to fraudulent bitcoin giveaways.

One bitcoin address used to scam followers was seen to have taken $100,000 in “donations”.

Twitter said in a statement at the time: “We are aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter. We are investigating and taking steps to fix it.”



Elon Musk is now richer than Mark Zuckerberg


Musk’s increase in wealth was propelled by Tesla’s (TSLA) wild 12% stock gain that happened Monday after Tesla’s 5-1 stock split. This makes the Tesla founder and CEO the third-richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He is now only poorer than Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.

The world’s top five billionaires (in order) are: Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Bernard Arnault, the CEO of LVMH in France.

Musk is also the founder of several other companies including SpaceX, The Boring Company, Hyperloop and OpenAI.

Tesla’s stock closed 12.5% higher Monday at $498.32 per share, which was still around $1,800 cheaper than where it was trading on Friday.

Elon Musk reveals unusual new Neuralink brain chip – ‘A Fitbit in your skull’

Neuralink aims to implant wireless brain-computer interfaces which include thousands of electrodes in the human brain to help treat neurological conditions. The new design aims to cure Alzheimer’s, dementia and spinal cord injuries and hopes to fuse humanity with artificial intelligence.

On Friday, the neuroscience startup held its second public event since it was founded in 2016.

Mr Musk said: “It’s kind of like a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires.

“I could have a Neuralink right now and you wouldn’t even know. Maybe I do.”

The new device is “about the size of a coin” and can replace a piece of the human skull.

Mr Musk has been aiming to revolutionise various industries with his electric vehicle company Tesla Inc and aerospace manufacturer SpaceX.

During his presentation on Friday, Mr Musk said the Neuralink could be used to summon a Tesla “telepathically”.

He added: “Just by thinking you can output words. You can control a computer.”

But the early applications of the new technology will be in treating brain disorders and diseases.

Mr Musk said it would “solve important brain and spine problems with a seamlessly implanted device.”

READ MORE: Elon Musk Neuralink demo LIVE stream: How to watch today’s live demo

The latest design was tested on a blind pig and was able to read the animal’s brain activity but caused no lasting damages to the pig’s brain.

Mr Musk did not say when the device would be commercially available.

He said: “At first it’s going to be quite expensive but that will rapidly drop.

I think we want to get the price down to a few thousand dollars.”

In 2019, Mr Musk said Neuralink was aiming to receive regulatory approval to implant its device in human trail by the end of this year.

At the time he said: “This has a very good purpose, which is to cure important diseases — and ultimately to secure humanity’s future as a civilizstion relative to AI.”

The billionaire has previously warned about the risks of artificial intelligence.

Earlier this year, he said: “My assessment about why AI is overlooked by very smart people is that very smart people do not think a computer can ever be as smart as they are. And this is hubris and obviously false.

“We’re headed toward a situation where AI is vastly smarter than humans and I think that time frame is less than five years from now.

“But that doesn’t mean that everything goes to hell in five years. It just means that things get unstable or weird.”



Elon Musk reveals new Neuralink brain chip – ‘A Fitbit in your skull’

Neuralink aims to implant wireless brain-computer interfaces which include thousands of electrodes in the human brain to help treat neurological conditions. The new design aims to cure Alzheimer’s, dementia and spinal cord injuries and hopes to fuse humanity with artificial intelligence.

On Friday, the neuroscience startup held its second public event since it was founded in 2016.

Mr Musk said: “It’s kind of like a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires.

“I could have a Neuralink right now and you wouldn’t even know. Maybe I do.”

The new device is “about the size of a coin” and can replace a piece of the human skull.

Mr Musk has been aiming to revolutionise various industries with his electric vehicle company Tesla Inc and aerospace manufacturer SpaceX.

During his presentation on Friday, Mr Musk said the Neuralink could be used to summon a Tesla “telepathically”.

He added: “Just by thinking you can output words. You can control a computer.”

But the early applications of the new technology will be in treating brain disorders and diseases.

Mr Musk said it would “solve important brain and spine problems with a seamlessly implanted device.”

READ MORE: Elon Musk Neuralink demo LIVE stream: How to watch today’s live demo

The latest design was tested on a blind pig and was able to read the animal’s brain activity but caused no lasting damages to the pig’s brain.

Mr Musk did not say when the device would be commercially available.

He said: “At first it’s going to be quite expensive but that will rapidly drop.

I think we want to get the price down to a few thousand dollars.”

In 2019, Mr Musk said Neuralink was aiming to receive regulatory approval to implant its device in human trail by the end of this year.

At the time he said: “This has a very good purpose, which is to cure important diseases — and ultimately to secure humanity’s future as a civilizstion relative to AI.”

The billionaire has previously warned about the risks of artificial intelligence.

Earlier this year, he said: “My assessment about why AI is overlooked by very smart people is that very smart people do not think a computer can ever be as smart as they are. And this is hubris and obviously false.

“We’re headed toward a situation where AI is vastly smarter than humans and I think that time frame is less than five years from now.

“But that doesn’t mean that everything goes to hell in five years. It just means that things get unstable or weird.”



SpaceX victory as Elon Musk’s rocket firm wins US Air Force space contract

Mr Musk’s SpaceX won one of two contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars to phase out Russian rocket technology. The rocket firm was competing with Blue Origin – owned by Amazon CEO Mr Bezos – for the spot.

The US Air Force said it had decided to use SpaceX’s Falcon rocket models instead of Blue Origin’s competing rocket called New Glenn.

Mr Bezos’ firm said it was “disappointed” on hearing the US Air Force’s decision.

Blue Origin said: “We submitted an incredibly compelling offer for the national security community and the U.S. taxpayer.

“Blue Origin’s offer was based on New Glenn’s heavy-lift performance, unprecedented private investment of more than $2.5 billion, and a very competitive single basic launch service price for any mission across the entire ordering period.”

The company said it remained “confident” New Glenn would be able to “play a critical role” in US national security in the future.

However, Blue Origin will not be left out of the programme completely – its engines will still be used.

The other contract was awarded to yet another spacecraft firm – United Launch Alliance – which will eventually use its upcoming Vulcan Centaur rocket for the US Air Force missions.

The Vulcan makes use of BE-4 engines – built by Blue Origin – as its powerhouse.

READ: NASA new: Bright spots discovered on dwarf planet Ceres – Potential home for life?

He said: “This was an extremely tough decision and I appreciate the hard work industry completed to adapt their commercial launch systems to affordably and reliably meet our more stressing national security requirements.

“I look forward to working with ULA and SpaceX as we progress towards our first Phase 2 launches.”

The first missions under the US Air Force’s new contracts will begin in 2022.

The new contracts were announced after the US said it wanted to stop using Russian rocket technology in order to get things into space, according to Forbes.

This has opened the door for more space innovation in the US among private companies vying for lucrative government contracts.

These are not always for defence – NASA also pays private US firms to conduct launches for it.

Most recently, it used SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule to return two NASA astronauts – Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken – to Earth after a two-month stint on the International Space Station.

The same SpaceX capsule also delivered the astronauts there in what was a world-first achievement for a private firm.