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After Tearful Interview, Musk Plans for Providing Tesla Car to The Masses at $25,000

Musk's tweet caused a financial firestorm with Tesla shares immediately skyrocketing by almost 11 per cent, although in the coming days they lost a good part of what they had gained and tanked further after Musk's interview with the NYT

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'Tearful' Musk aims for $25,000 Tesla car for the masses. (VOA)
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After giving a “tearful” interview to The New York Times, Tesla Chairman and CEO Elon Musk sat with popular You Tuber Marques Brownlee for a chat, revealing his plans for a mass-market electric vehicle priced as low as $25,000.

“That’s something we could do. If we work really hard i think maybe we could do that in three years,” Musk replied to Brownlee (who goes by the handle @MKBHD on Google-owned YouTube) on Friday.

The interview took place on August 15 but a 17-minute video was uploaded by Brownlee on YouTube on Friday — a week after Musk tweeted about taking Tesla private with “funding secured” that created a storm at the Tesla board and amid market watchers.

According to The Verge, Musk said in the YouTube interview that he hoped to scale production at Tesla and lower their design and technology costs enough to be able to offer a truly mass-market electric vehicle.

Currently, the price for Tesla Model 3 starts from $35,000 and Model S from $75,000.

“Musk also expressed a desire to improve production to the point where Tesla can make two cars at once,” said the report. “We’ve really gotta figure out how to make two new vehicles at the same time,” Musk told Brownlee.

The YouTube interview came a day after Musk spoke to NYT about “excruciating” times at Tesla, noting that he “nearly missed his brother’s wedding this summer and spent his birthday holed up in Tesla’s offices as the company raced to meet elusive production targets on a crucial new model”.

Earlier this week, Musk confirmed that he is closely working with Goldman Sachs and private-equity firm Silver Lake to take the electric carmaker private — a deal that would need nearly $70 billion in funding.

Tesla CEO
According to Musk, “two thirds” of Tesla’s current stockholders would be interested in continuing to hold the firm’s shares once it goes private. (VOA)

“I’m excited to work with Silver Lake and Goldman Sachs as financial advisors, plus Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Munger, Tolles & Olson as legal advisors, on the proposal to take Tesla private,” Musk tweeted.

Musk said that in late July, he met Saudi Arabian sovereign fund representatives to discuss the electric carmaker’s possible exit from the stock market.

He said in a statement that the Saudi sovereign fund had first contacted him “at the beginning of 2017 to express (their) interest because of the important need to diversify away from oil”.

“I continue to have discussions with the Saudi fund, and I also am having discussions with a number of other investors, which is something that I always planned to do since I would like for Tesla to continue to have a broad investor base,” he added.

He said he had most recently met with the Saudis on July 31 and left that meeting “with no question that a deal with the… fund could be closed, and that it was just a matter of getting the process moving”.

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“This is why I referred to ‘funding secured’ in the August 7 announcement,” he said, referring to his surprise tweet on that date that he was thinking about taking Tesla private.

According to Musk, “two thirds” of Tesla’s current stockholders would be interested in continuing to hold the firm’s shares once it goes private.

On August 7, Musk surprised the investment world with a Twitter announcement that he was considering taking Tesla private and that the funds needed to do so – which some financial analysts estimate at more than $70 billion – were “secured”.

Musk’s tweet caused a financial firestorm with Tesla shares immediately skyrocketing by almost 11 per cent, although in the coming days they lost a good part of what they had gained and tanked further after Musk’s interview with the NYT. (IANS)

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Audi Launches A New Electric Car Ahead Tesla

The e-tron will have an advanced cruise-control system that can keep the car within a lane and maintain a set distance behind another vehicle.

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Audi unveils its first production all-electric vehicle, the e-tron sport utility vehicle, at an event in Richmond, Calif. VOA

German luxury car brand Audi this week staged the global launch of a new electric sport utility vehicle on the home turf of rival Tesla, and highlighted a deal with Amazon.com Inc. to make recharging its forthcoming e-tron models easier.

The Audi e-tron midsize SUV will be offered in the United States next year at a starting price of $75,795 before a $7,500 tax credit. It is one of a volley of electric vehicles coming from Volkswagen AG brands, as well as other European premium brands including Daimler-owned Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo Cars and Jaguar Land Rover.

All aim to expand the market for premium electric vehicles and also to grab a share of that market from Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla, which has had the niche largely to itself.

“I want Audi to be the No. 1 electric vehicle seller in America over the long term,” Audi of America President Scott Keogh told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

Audi
Audi. Pixabay

Audi dealers, particularly those from California, where Tesla has made significant inroads, cheered the e-tron at Monday night’s crowded event.

Analysts on Tuesday expressed concern that the vehicle’s driving range may not measure up to that of the Tesla Model X. Audi officials said they do not have official range estimates for the e-tron SUV under U.S. testing procedures. They said the vehicle should achieve a range under less rigorous European testing standards of roughly 250 miles or 400 kilometers.

Keogh told attendees at Monday’s event that an e-tron had made a 175-mile journey over the mountains east of San Francisco with range to spare. He also emphasized that the e-tron is designed to recharge more rapidly than rival electric vehicles.

UBS analyst Patrick Hummel said in a note on Tuesday that the e-tron “fails to set new benchmarks in the premium EV segment, even though we consider it better than the Mercedes EQC.” The EQC is a rival electric SUV the Daimler AG brand plans to launch in 2020.

Audi
A Telsa car recharges at a Tesla charging station in Charlotte, N.C.. VOA

The e-tron’s 95 kWh battery has less capacity than the 100 kWh battery used in the Tesla Model X 100D model, but more than the base Model X 75D.

The Model X 100D is rated at 295 miles (475 km) of range by the U.S. government.

Recharging

Audi and Volkswagen are using the U.S. launch of the e-tron SUV in mid-2019 to take aim at one obstacle to expanding electric vehicle sales: the lack of convenient ways to recharge their batteries.

Audi will partner with online retailer Amazon to sell and install home electric vehicle charging systems to buyers of the e-tron, the companies said on Monday. Amazon will deliver the hardware and hire electricians to install them through its Amazon Home Services operation.

Amazon’s partnership with Audi marks the first time the online retailer has struck such a deal with an automaker, and signals a new front in Amazon’s drive to expand its reach into consumers’ homes beyond the presence of its Alexa smart speakers in living rooms and kitchens.

Audi
Tesla misses on Model 3 car production target: Report. Pixabay

“We see charging installation as a very important business,” Pat Bigatel, director of Amazon Home Services, told Reuters at Audi’s launch event in San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Center.

Audi executives said home charging stations would cost about $1,000, depending on the home’s electrical system.

Tesla offers wall connectors for home charging at a $500 list price, and will arrange for installation, according to the company.

At the same time, Electrify America, a company funded by Volkswagen as part of its settlement of U.S. diesel emission cheating litigation, plans to launch next year the next round of installations of public charging stations, Electrify America executives told Reuters.

Tesla has developed its own network of Supercharger charging stations with more than 11,000 chargers in North America.

Electrify America plans to have 2,000 chargers installed by mid-June next year. Those will be open to any vehicle, and customers can swipe a credit card to recharge.

Audi
Audi of America President Scott Keogh introduces the German luxury brand’s first all-electric production vehicle, the e-tron sport utility vehicle, at an event in Richmond, Calif.. VOA

“We want to work with all” automotive brands, said Giovanni Palazzo, Electrify America’s chief executive.

Lifting the curtain

Audi has been heralding the launch of the e-tron SUV for some time, but until Monday it had not shared many details of the vehicle.

The e-tron is electric, and has two electric motors — one in the front and one in the rear — driving all four wheels. The Hungarian factory building motors for the e-tron will start with a production pace equivalent to 200 vehicles a day, Audi officials said.

In Europe, the vehicle will use cameras instead of conventional mirrors to give drivers a view to the rear. That feature is still not approved by U.S. regulators.

Also Read: Tesla’s Musk Sued For Defamation

However, in many other respects the e-tron is a conventional, mainstream luxury SUV. It offers seating for five, and its length and wheelbase position it in the center of the market for midsize, five-passenger luxury SUVs such as the BMW X5. The e-tron is 5 inches (13 cm) shorter than the Tesla Model X, and it has conventional doors. The Model X uses vertically opening “falcon wing” doors.

The e-tron will have an advanced cruise-control system that can keep the car within a lane and maintain a set distance behind another vehicle, but the system will be designed so that drivers must keep hands on the wheel. (VOA)