Whether you’ve been taking some well-earned time off this weekend or catching up on important work projects, I guarantee you’ve been less productive than the ever-busy Elon Musk. While the rest of us have been planning our barbecues and reading about Silicon Valley’s sexual harassment scandal, the founder and CEO of Tesla, SpaceX and The Boring Company has made big advances with all three.
Some people say a holiday is a great time to catch up on work because there are fewer distractions while everyone else is taking time off. Apparently, that’s how it is for Musk. Here’s what he’s done this weekend–so far.
Tesla‘s existing Model S and Model X are wonderful electric cars that only the wealthy can afford to buy. That won’t bring Musk much closer to his stated objective of slowing climate change, and he has always said the luxury models would be followed by a more affordable version. A little over a year ago, he unveiled that version, the Model 3, and said it would go into production in the second half of this year.
The industry reaction was something along the lines of: “Yeah, right.” It was understandable, given Musk’s longtime habit of delaying his announced launches of groundbreaking products. Goldman Sachs downgraded Tesla’s stock early this year because of its expectations that the Model 3 would launch behind schedule. Car and Driver bet that the Model 3 wouldn’t roll off the assembly line before the fall of 2019.
It looks like they were all wrong. “Model 3 passed all regulatory requirements for production two weeks ahead of schedule. Expecting to complete SN1 on Friday,” Musk tweeted late yesterday evening. He followed with a few more details: “Handover party for first 30 customer Model 3’s on the 28th! Production grows exponentially, so Aug should be 100 cars and Sept above 1500. Looks like we can reach 20,000 Model 3 cars per month in Dec.”
Unless you’ve pre-ordered, don’t get too excited: At 20,000 Model 3s per month, it will take till summer of 2019 to fill the car’s 400,000 pre-orders. If you want one soon after that, consider pre-ordering now.
Musk has what (for him) is a simple plan to bore a tunnel under LA’s legendary traffic and have cars descend by elevator, then park on a platform that will speed through the tunnel at 125 miles per hour. So simple that he says getting the appropriate permits from the city will be more difficult than actually building the thing. The new venture is named The Boring Company.
Now he’s begun construction, digging the first section of tunnel under the SpaceX parking lot in LA. Musk has already released video of the elevator being built which he says will be operational this week, and also a video of a test run of the underground traveling platform. (Watching it will remind you of Contact or 2001: A Space Odyssey–also, don’t do it if you get dizzy easily.)
SpaceX made headlines a week ago when it launched Falcon 9 rockets two days in a row. But the company needed a third rocket launch to take it toward its goal of lower-cost space travel. A planned launch yesterday was aborted only 10 seconds before launch by the computer because of a problem with the guidance system. The company regrouped in time for a launch this evening, only to abort again due to a different technical problem, again 10 seconds before launch. The company will likely try again tomorrow, in time to compete with the fireworks.