Elon Musk is on Drugs
Gordon Johnson, the managing director of Vertical Group, a New-York based investment research group told the Washington Post 16 July 2018: “This thing is unraveling. You had a very big shareholder last week say they want him to focus on executing and stop with the tweets — and then, this weekend, you get more tweets. What’s his angle? What is he doing? … He keeps promising all of these things, and he keeps missing, and he’s not being held to task.” Rattled investors sent Tesla shares tumbling, extending a losing streak for a company that was only weeks earlier America’s most valuable automaker, worth more than General Motors. The company depends on investor cash and confidence. It lost $2 billion in 2017 and had never earned an annual profit. Howard Dean tweeted, “If the CEO loses it, the company is not worth anything.”
Tesla Inc’s shares slumped nine percent after Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk told the New York Times 16 August 2018 he was under major emotional stress and was preparing for “extreme torture” from short sellers. To help sleep when he is not working, Musk said he sometimes takes Ambien. Musk has on occasion used recreational drugs. The Times reported that efforts were underway to find a No. 2 executive to take pressure off Musk, who has struggled with production issues for Tesla’s key Model 3 sedan and has been criticised for behaving erratically on Twitter. One possibility under consideration was that SpaceX would help bankroll the Tesla privatization and would take an ownership stake in the carmaker.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast 06 September 2018 where he made a number of outlandish claims and comments while smoking a stupendous doobie [aka weed] and drinking whiskey with the host. Musk stated that the next version of the Tesla Roadster will have rockets — he then clarifies that flying cars would never work because they’re too loud.
Tesla’s Chief Accounting Officer Dave Morton resigned from the embattled electric vehicle company 07 September 2018. “Since I joined Tesla on August 6th, the level of public attention placed on the company, as well as the pace within the company, have exceeded my expectations,” Morton, who joined Tesla just one month ago, said in a statement. “As a result, this caused me to reconsider my future. I want to be clear that I believe strongly in Tesla, its mission, and its future prospects, and I have no disagreements with Tesla’s leadership or its financial reporting.” Moments after Morton’s resignation, Tesla’s Chief People Officer Gaby Toledano announced she would not be returning to the company after taking a 15-month leave of absence August 15.
Shares of the car company tumbled 10%, the biggest daily $TSLA loss since 2016.
On Sept. 27, 2018 the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Elon Musk, CEO and Chairman of Silicon Valley-based Tesla Inc., with securities fraud for a series of false and misleading tweets about a potential transaction to take Tesla private. On August 7, 2018, Musk tweeted to his 22 million Twitter followers that he could take Tesla private at $420 per share (a substantial premium to its trading price at the time), that funding for the transaction had been secured, and that the only remaining uncertainty was a shareholder vote. The SEC’s complaint alleges that, in truth, Musk had not discussed specific deal terms with any potential financing partners, and he allegedly knew that the potential transaction was uncertain and subject to numerous contingencies. According to the SEC’s complaint, Musk’s tweets caused Tesla’s stock price to jump by over six percent on August 7, and led to significant market disruption.
Musk would settle a suit with the US Securities and Exchange Commission by paying a fine and stepping down as chairman of the Tesla Inc, the electric auto and battery tech company he co-founded in 2003. Musk will settle an SEC case resulting in tweets the tech exec posted that caused Tesla share prices to veer sharply. The SEC charges against Musk shaved about $7 billion off Tesla’s value. Investors in electric car maker Tesla were buoyed by news that Elon Musk will have to step down as chairman of the firm. The company’s shares surged 16 percent in trading following the decision. Musk was Tesla’s largest investor, holding a 20-percent stake in the company.
Big Falcon Rocket
On September 29th, 2017, SpaceX CEO and Lead Designer Elon Musk presented an updated vehicle design for what’s currently being referred to as BFR. A key challenge with the original vehicle design was figuring out how to pay for it. The updated design solves this problem by leveraging a slightly smaller vehicle that can service all greater Earth orbit needs as well as the Moon and Mars. This single system—one booster and one ship—will eventually replace Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon. By creating a single system that can service a variety of markets, SpaceX can redirect resources from Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon to the BFR system—which is fundamental in making BFR affordable.
The aspirational goal is to send the first cargo mission to Mars in 2022. The objectives for the first mission will be to confirm water resources and identify hazards along with putting in place initial power, mining, and life support infrastructure. A second mission, with both cargo and crew, is targeted for 2024, with primary objectives of building a propellant depot and preparing for future crew flights. The ships from these initial missions will also serve as the beginnings of our first Mars base, from which a thriving city and eventually a self-sustaining civilization on Mars can be built.
BFR will enter the Mars atmosphere at 7.5 kilometers per second and decelerate aerodynamically. The vehicle’s heat shield is designed to withstand multiple entries, but given that the vehicle is coming into the Mars atmosphere so hot, designers still expect to see some ablation of the heat shield (similar to wear and tear on a brake pad).
An important question we have to answer is “how do we pay for this system?” The answer lies in creating a single system that can support a variety of mission types. In turn, SpaceX can redirect resources from Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon to this system.
With BFR, most of what people consider to be long distance trips would be completed in less than half an hour. In addition to vastly increased speed, one great thing about traveling in space is there is almost no friction. Once the ship leaves the atmosphere, there is no turbulence or weather. Consider how much time people currently spend traveling from one place to another. Now imagine most journeys taking less than 30 minutes, with access to anywhere in the world in an hour or less.
In September 2018, SpaceX said Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, founder and chief executive of online fashion retailer Zozo, would be the company’s first passenger on a voyage around the moon on its forthcoming Big Falcon Rocket spaceship, tentatively scheduled for 2023. Musk, the billionaire CEO of electric carmaker Tesla, said the Big Falcon Rocket could conduct its first orbital flights in two to three years as part of his grand plan to shuttle passengers to the moon and eventually fly humans and cargo to Mars.
According to data compiled by The Times, Tesla Motors Inc., SolarCity Corp and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) have together received an estimated $4.9 billion in government support. The numbers shed light on an emerging theme running through Musk’s business empire: a public-private financing model to manage the risk of launching long-shot start-ups.
As Dan Dolev, an analyst at Jefferies Equity Research, said: “He definitely goes where there is government money. That’s a great strategy, but the government will cut you off one day.” Tesla and SolarCity continue to report net losses after a decade in business, yet the stock in both companies has continued to grow. Musk owns 27% of Tesla and 23% of SolarCity. Musk’s stake in the firms alone is worth about $10 billion. “Government support is a theme of all three of these companies, and without it none of them would be around,” said Mark Spiegel, a hedge fund manager for Stanphyl Capital Partners who is shorting Tesla’s stock (a bet that pays off if Tesla shares fail).
In a 2008 blog post, Musk shared his plan that after the sports car, Tesla would produce a sedan costing “half the $89k price point of the Tesla Roadster and the third model will be even more affordable.” Yet by 2017 the second model sold for around $100,000 and timing on a less expensive model was uncertain.
The activities of SpaceX are abundantly subsidized and subsidized from the state budget of the United States. A separate investigation into this matter was made by analyst Dan Dolev. This means that it is impossible to compete in the cost of manufacturing products produced by SpaceX.
Elon Musk has been accused of stoking the flames of a ‘fan army’ that ‘harasses’ women who criticise him online. Freelance writer Erin Biba dubbed the billionaire’s supporters ‘MuskBros’ and described them as ‘mostly young, mostly white, almost entirely men’ who ‘make it their mission to descend on women who criticize Musk, and tear them to pieces’. Shannon Stirone, a freelance journalist who covers space for publications like Popular Science, Wired, and The Atlantic, noted "It is as though they’ve invested their own identity as males into Elon and his work that when anyone (especially women) dares to say anything that isn’t ‘praise for Elon’ it’s only a matter of minutes before the nasty messages come flowing in."
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