All posts in “Tesla”

A Tesla competitor just got $1 billion boost from Saudi Arabia

A hotshot electric vehicle company in Silicon Valley just got a $1 billion investment from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

No, not Tesla. We’re talking about its eventual competitor, Lucid Motors, which is based right next door to Tesla’s Fremont headquarters in Newark, California. 

The luxury electric vehicle brand announced the cash infusion this week, saying it would use the funding to move forward with its Tesla Model S “killer,” the Lucid Air, expected to launch in 2020, and to build out its factory in Casa Grande, Arizona.

Sounds reminiscent of Tesla? It’s because it is. After Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted about securing funding to take the company private last month, it was revealed that Saudi Arabia had bought 5 percent of the publicly traded company, or invested almost $2 billion. A deal was nearly struck with the Saudi fund to buy out Tesla from the public market. But that didn’t happen.

The Model S is on the road.

The Model S is on the road.

Image: tesla

The Lucid Air is supposed to arrive in 2020.

The Lucid Air is supposed to arrive in 2020.

Image: Lucid motors

Tesla and Musk have been running into issues, in particular, production problems with the more affordably priced Model 3 sedan. Saudi Arabia seems intent to be on the cutting-edge of electric vehicles, no matter where it takes them. 

Lucid’s been around for a decade, and the Lucid Air debuted at the Los Angeles auto show almost two years ago. The prototype vehicle features a powerful battery, high-tech features, a glass canopy, and an autonomous-capable design. Even former Tesla employees have moved over to Lucid. 

Now Saudi Arabia is giving the notably private company almost as much as it invested in Tesla. Is there enough space on the road for the two EVs? Lucid, unlike Tesla, has yet to put anything in customers’ garages. But that $1 billion will certainly help.

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Now Tesla could face criminal charges for Musk’s ‘taking Tesla private’ tweet

Elon Musk's infamous take-private tweet is still going strong.
Elon Musk’s infamous take-private tweet is still going strong.

Image: DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s tweet from more than a month ago keeps biting him in the… well you know.

When Musk mused on Twitter on Aug. 7 about “taking tesla private at $420” it sent everyone into a tizzy.

And then there were the real consequences like a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and lawsuits from shareholders. 

Eventually Musk called off the privatization talks, but now the electric car maker is reportedly facing possible criminal charges for fraud based on that same tweet. Bloomberg News reported Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the company. 

A Tesla spokesperson said last month the DOJ requested documents in a “voluntary request” and Tesla has “been cooperative in responding to it.” The statement went on, “We have not received a subpoena, a request for testimony, or any other formal process. We respect the DOJ’s desire to get information about this and believe that the matter should be quickly resolved as they review the information they have received.”

A DOJ spokesperson wrote in an email, “The Justice Department generally does not confirm, deny or otherwise comment on the existence or non-existence of an investigation.” The DOJ’s “fraud section” says it investigates “complex white collar crime cases.”

The fact that the DOJ is investigating Tesla doesn’t guarantee any criminal charges will be filed. 

Tesla stock Tuesday morning was at $280, after a precipitous drop based on the news about the looming criminal charges.

Tesla's stock plummeted after the news.

Image: GOOGLe/SCREENGRAB

Add the possible criminal suit to the pile of lawsuits Musk and Tesla are dealing with, including the latest from the cave diver Musk called a “pedo guy.”

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Lucid Motors secures $1 billion from Saudi wealth fund to launch the Air

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is investing $1 billion into Lucid Motors, capital that will finance the commercial launch of the startup’s first electric vehicle.

The agreement comes just six weeks after Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 a share and had secured the proper funding to make the leap. Musk suggested that Saudi’s wealth fund, which already owns almost 5 percent of Tesla stock, would xyz.

Tesla’s board and Musk have since quashed those plans to go private.

The investment came at a crucial moment for Lucid Motors, which has struggled recently to raise the funds needed to produce its luxury EV, the Lucid Air. The funding will be used to complete engineering development and testing of the Lucid Air, construct its factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, begin the global rollout of its retail strategy starting in North America and enter production, the company said.

Lucid Motors was founded 10 years ago with a different name and mission. The company, called  Atieva at the time, was focused on developing electric car battery technology. It then shifted to producing electric cars and changed its name in 2016.

The company seemed to have momentum at the time. Lucid Motors had successfully raised money, unveiled the Air, announced plans to build a $700 million factory in Arizona, signed a deal with Samsung SDI to supply it with lithium-ion batteries and moved into spacious new digs. But building a factory is expensive, and the company fell silent for nearly a year as it sought funding to produce the Air.

It’s also a notable investment for the Saudi kingdom, which under its Vision 2030 plan is seeking to diversify its economy away from fossil fuels. In the past year, the Saudi Public Investment Fund has invested in renewable energy, established and developed recycling companies and energy efficiency services, the kingdom noted in a release.

Elon Musk moves 2 Tesla colors ‘off menu’

Seven paint options for future Teslas will soon dwindle to five.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Monday night that Tesla would “simplify manufacturing” by removing Obsidian Black Metallic and Silver Metallic from the menu of colors as of Wednesday, possibly so it can catch up on missed production deadlines and fulfill  orders already placed by consumers who want to drive its new electric sedan, the Model 3

Any color beyond Solid Black already come at an additional cost, but starting Wednesday the metallic black and silver options will be moved to a “special order” status.

Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment as to why the metallic colors were problematic for production, or what Musk means by “higher price,” but we’ll update this post if we hear back.

A look at current Tesla paint options before two are moved to "special order" status.

A look at current Tesla paint options before two are moved to “special order” status.

In a reply to a customer who wanted to know about options to service his Silver Metallic Model X 100, Musk tweeted that service centers will continue to stock parts in each color for owners of cars painted with the soon-limited colors. 

In July, Musk stated an August goal of producing 6,000 Model 3 cars per week, however the current reality is closer to 3,500, according to estimates by Bloomberg.

After the announcement, Musk described the process of using red paint as looking “like an episode of Dexter,” the TV series about a serial killer/blood spatter expert. He included a photo showing the car plant in red, looking “so sus.” 

With Musk wanting to get this show on the road, he most likely realized there’s just no time for frivolous things like sparkly paint.

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Tesla’s super cute wireless smartphone charger is coming back

Still waiting for your Model 3 to arrive? Well, now you can soothe your desire for Tesla gadgets with something much more affordable: A wireless, Tesla-branded smartphone charger. 

The gadget was introduced last month and quickly went out of stock, but The Verge noticed that the company is now informing customers that the charger will become available again. 

Even better, the charger will now be available at a reduced price of $49 — down from $65 — and those who paid the higher price will get a $16 refund, plus local sales tax. Tesla claims that the price difference is due to the company producing higher quantities of the gadget, which lowers production costs.

The charger is available in black or white and comes with a USB-C cable and an additional USB-A port. It has a 6,000 mAh battery and a 5W wireless output. For the price (even the new, reduced one), you can get a charger with a lot more charging capacity, but that one wouldn’t have a “Tesla” logo, would it?

The Tesla wireless charger still isn’t available in the company’s online store, and there’s no word on when it will arrive there, so keep checking back.

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