All posts in “Tesla”

Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg face off in Epic Rap Battles of History

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Oooohhhhhh, the Epic Rap Battles of History video guys are back after a two-year hiatus, and they’re coming for two of the most shade-able figures in the tech world: Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg.

Epic Rap Battles is a video series that pits public figures against each other with fictional and non-fictional beefs. In 2016, their two rhyme spitters where none other than, you guessed it, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

This time around, the robotic Zuckerberg faces off against the pompous Musk. Each  brags about their achievements, and rags on the other for their personal and professional, erm, shortcomings.

“I’m making brilliant innovations in a race against the dark ages,” raps fake Musk. “You provide a place to discover your aunt’s kinda racist.”

“I’ll end your story like Snapchat —ghost!” the rapping Zuckerberg spits. “Elon you’re nothing/ but an attention seeking outcast/And your star is faded/like you on a podcast.”


Musk and Zuckerberg are two CEOs who couldn’t be more diametrically opposed in their public personas. They did feud over a Facebook satellite Elon Musk happened to blow up, once. And Elon Musk took part in the #DeleteFacebook movement by removing some of his company’s Facebook pages. But the two billionaires mostly stay out of each other’s hair. 

Trump’s White House just gave you another reason to buy a Tesla right away

Charge it while you can -- the federal tax credit for Teslas and other electric vehicles is on its way out.
Charge it while you can — the federal tax credit for Teslas and other electric vehicles is on its way out.

Image: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

When Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduced a lower-priced Model 3 a few months ago, he deducted thousands in federal tax incentives from the sticker price. On Monday, according to Reuters, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the subsidies for electric vehicles from Tesla and other carmakers would end in 2020 or 2021.

Trump’s administration has long floated the idea of eliminating the tax break. Last week, he said he was thinking about cutting electric vehicle subsidies for General Motors after it announced plans to shut down five U.S. car plants. 

As it stands now, Americans who buy a qualified electric vehicle (like the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, or any Tesla) receive a $7,500 tax credit. That’s a sizeable chunk meant to incentivize electric vehicle (EV) adoption. But there’s a cap for car makers. After 200,000 electric vehicles sold, the subsidy is halved every six months until it disappears.

Tesla hit its 200,000th EV sale in July, so the incentive program is phasing out. Tesla buyers are still eligible for a tax credit, even though it will dwindle to $1,875 by the end of 2019. General Motors is expected to hit 200,000 cars by the end of the year. 

For other companies like Volvo, Volkswagen, and Toyota that are far from the 200,000 car limit, ending the subsidies could seriously hurt their ambitious goals to produce more — if not switch entirely to — electric vehicles in the next few years. 

It’s not all terrible news for lower-emission vehicles. Many states and even local jurisdictions are pushing EV rebates, credits, and tax breaks and subsidizing electric charging networks and infrastructure.

Musk has supported the federal tax program for years and has tried to change the law concerning the cap for all electric vehicles. He’s also argued for a carbon tax to disincentivize traditional car use.

We reached out to the leading EV sellers in the U.S.: Tesla and GM. A GM spokesperson said the company supports the consumer credit and doesn’t think there should be a cap. 

“We believe an important part of reaching a zero emissions future and establishing the U.S. as the leader in electrification is to continue to provide a federal tax credit to help make electric vehicles more affordable for all customers,” the spokesperson said in an email.

Tesla has not yet responded to a request for comment. 4de8 9f22%2fthumb%2f00001

Highway patrol struggles to pull over allegedly drunk, sleeping Tesla driver

Image: Nils Jorgensen/REX/Shutterstock

It took California Highway Patrol seven minutes to pull over a Tesla driver. The driver appeared to be asleep at his wheel.

Alexander Samek had allegedly dozed off while operating his Tesla Model S when an officer tried to pull him over. In the end, the police had to surround the car to slow it down and then arrested Samek on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The Model S is thought to have been in Autopilot, Tesla’s self-driving mode. This is what would have enabled a sleeping Samek to keep driving for the seven minutes it took Highway Patrol to stop him. It’s not currently clear if Autopilot was active, however.

Tesla steering wheels are fitted with sensors that can detect when a driver’s hands let go of the wheel. A summer update to the Autopilot software made it so built-in alarms go off as frequently as every 15 or 20 seconds if the sensors can no longer detect pressure on the steering wheel. The cars are also programmed to come to a gradual stop if too many Autopilot warnings go unheeded.

It’s not clear how Samek could have been asleep for the whole seven minutes it took to pull him over, given Tesla’s built-in safeguards. 

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Tesla’s Model X gets a rival as Americans flock to trucks and SUVs

If Americans won’t ditch trucks and SUVs even in the face of disastrous climate change, maybe it’s time those vehicles went electric. 

That’s what Rivian Automotive is working on. The company revealed its all-electric R1S SUV on Tuesday; a boxier, more rugged-looking alternative to Tesla’s sleek Model X

Rivian has actually been around since 2009, but its founder, 35-year-old MIT grad RJ Scaringe, flies a little further under the radar than Tesla’s superstar CEO Elon Musk

The seven-passenger R1S, starting at $65,000 after the federal tax credit, certainly sounds good on paper. The base model features a range of more than 240 miles between charges, over-the-air software updates, and Level 3 autonomy, which means you can take your hands off the wheel on the highway. (Rivian claims the highest-end model will have a range of more than 400 miles.)

Room for the kids. And your sense of self-satisfaction.

Room for the kids. And your sense of self-satisfaction.

Image: Rivian Automotive

Rivian also unveiled its five-passenger R1T pickup truck, which has a similar range, but starts at $61,500. Both are manufactured in Normal, Illinois, and are expected to ship in “late 2020.”

They’re coming at the perfect time. Once again, Americans are flocking to SUVs and trucks, thanks partly to lower gas prices. In fact, when General Motors announced it was cutting 14,000 jobs in North America, CEO Mary Barra said the move was meant to adjust to the “realities of the marketplace” in which people are ditching sedans in favor of trucks and SUVs. 

And while mileage has improved since the heyday of the Hummer, SUVs still don’t travel as far on a tank of gas as sedans and compact cars. 

That’s not encouraging in the wake of a dire new report from 13 U.S. federal agencies warning of fire, drought, floods, and a 10 percent hit to the American economy if nothing is done to combat climate change. 

Rivian's R1T pickup truck, seen here not using gasoline.

Rivian’s R1T pickup truck, seen here not using gasoline.

Image: Rivian Automotive

If Americans are going big again, at least they have some new electric options. Of course, EVs are only as green as the power grid they charge from, but these are good first steps. 

The success of companies like Tesla and Rivian could push more established automakers to make their own electric SUVs — hopefully at more accessible price points. 

If more people buy electric vehicles, you just have to convince world leaders like Donald Trump (who said he didn’t believe his own government’s climate change report) to move away from coal and toward renewable sources of energy. And then, finally, you might be able to feel good about driving a SUV. 4de8 9f22%2fthumb%2f00001

Elon Musk’s ‘Teslaquila’ isn’t meshing with Mexico’s tequila industry

'Teslaquila' comes a little close to a protected word.
‘Teslaquila’ comes a little close to a protected word.

Image: DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images

Elon Musk could soon need a lemon wedge for a salty trademark battle with Mexico’s tequila industry.

The founder and CEO of Tesla announced a new brand of tequila called “Teslaquila” in October, vaguely tweeting it was “coming soon.”

But it may not be that straightforward for Musk if the intensely no-nonsense Mexican tequila industry has anything to say about it. 

According to Reuters, the billionaire’s attempts to trademark the word “Teslaquila” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are being opposed by Mexico’s Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT). 

The national industry group, which works to protect the prestige of the agave-based spirit, said the “name ‘Teslaquila’ evokes the word Tequila … (and) Tequila is a protected word.” 

According to the trademark application filed by Tesla, “Teslaquila” has been described as a “distilled agave liquor.” Reuters reports that similar applications have been filed in Mexico itself, as well as the European Union and Jamaica.

Run by the Mexican Government, the CRT takes tequila very seriously. In fact, their main mission is to maintain producer compliance with the official Mexican standard for tequila, and that includes incredibly strict adherence to rules of origin. 

Like Champagne in France, to pass the official standard, and to legally use the name “tequila,” the spirit must be made in the Mexican states of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Tamaulipas, Michoacan, or Nayarit. 

And yes, U.S. federal law stipulates that tequila sold in the U.S, manufactured in Mexico, must comply with the country’s strict tequila manufacturing laws.

That’s not to say Musk won’t adhere to these requirements – in fact, there are limited details on “Teslaquila” so far, with Musk merely tweeting a “visual approximation” of what a bottle of the spirit could look like.

Though, if Musk’s supremely keen on using the word “Teslaquila” for the spirit, he’ll need to play ball with Mexico’s government-appointed tequila guardians. 

Hey, it could be very worth it — just look at George Clooney‘s profits.

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