Is Tesla betting it can rapidly change current battery equation by 2019?
Tesla released its design for a new all-electric last week in an airport hangar in Hawthorne, CA in a spectacle orchestrated by company founder Elon Musk.
The big news for the Tesla Semi is the promised range for the new class 8 tractors. The company said the standard version – with a price of $150,000 – will have a range of 300 miles from a full battery charge. An enhanced version with a price tag of $180,000 will get 500 miles from a charge. However, it should be noted that Tesla is calling those figures “expected base prices,” so they could change.
Just as importantly, the company is promising a network of superfast solar-powered charging stations across the US that it says will be able to charge the larger battery model to 80% capacity to support a 400-mile range in just 30 minutes.
On a follow up podcast, Tesla offered its view of the likely economics of its new truck, for which it is now taking orders for claimed delivery in 2019. “If a trucker travels 90,000 miles a year – let’s say the cost of fuel for a diesel truck is $2.70 a gallon. And let’s say that’s 35 cents per mile. If you think about that, for fuel alone, that’s $31,000 to $32,000 that that trucker is spending,” a Tesla spokesperson said.
Tesla draws interest with new electric trucks, but many raise doubts it can work
Solar panels began filling a parking lot outside a children’s hospital this week as Elon Musk’s first major solar-plus-storage project in Puerto Rico took shape, demonstrating how quickly solar microgrids can be established for long-term clean, resilient power.
It’s one small but telling step in a U.S. territory of 3.4 million people still largely in the dark five weeks after Hurricane Maria struck.
Musk, the chief executive of Tesla and SolarCity, launched a conversation about bringing solar microgrids to the island a little over two weeks ago in a Twitter exchange with Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello.
Musk suggested that pairing solar panels with battery systems had worked for other islands and could help Puerto Rico rebuild from the hurricane, too. Rossello’s quick response: Let’s talk.
There’s no shortage of corporate drama. Our news feeds have been clogged with an endless parade of companies unraveling before our eyes. Just a few examples: Uber, Tesla, that notorious Pepsi ad, United Airlines, and a string of corporate security breaches.
The minute I see news about companies in trouble, I send good thoughts to the PR team. It’s their lot in life to tend to any issue that gets public attention—planned or unplanned. And let me assure you, those unplanned emergencies are tough. As a veteran of Google and Twitter’s communications teams, I’ve been privy to a variety of corporate flare-ups.
In both places I was the editorial lead, and worked closely with the PR folks to plot the timing and the message of company statements, follow ups, and employee updates. When a final statement (or apology, or explanation) was ready, I would apply the final polish to the copy—which had, of course, been vetted and revised by umpteen others—before hitting “publish” to the company blog.
Given the near-incessant stream of corporate gaffes we’re seeing lately, it’s easy to assume that clueless PR teams are behind the ham-handed responses—or more aggravating, the radio silences. So consider this a peek behind the curtain of how crisis management operates against the clock and through news cycles.
First, do not assume that all crises are the same. The main flavors:
Self-inflicted. Bad behavior, neglect, bad hires or fires, or bad customer experience. These often start with leaks, public accusations, or real-time reports that are difficult to ignore—we won’t soon forget that passenger video on United.
Unanticipated data error. This may be financial, or a technical data blunder that has some consequence, but is not based on malfeasance. (i.e.: Google Street View data collection in 2010)
Public misinformation. Incorrect information originating from outside the company— say from a misguided politician, unhappy users, or incurious reporters. (i.e.: This 2004 Gmail case)
Outside forces. Some problems come from outside the company. (i.e.: Hacks and security breaches—Sony 2014 data breach, Yahoo’s 2014-17 woes—executive kidnappings—Adobe, 1992—or the effects of terrorism.)
Each of these has its own playbook, but they all share a process. Each situation is a race against the clock—the longer you do nothing, the more chances increase that you can’t regain control of the story, and will helplessly watch it cascade into more bad press and public hubbub.
Even oil companies understand that solar is the future.
The massive oil conglomerate is pumping money into renewable energy.
On Monday, Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden said that the company plans to spend as much as $1 billion per year on its New Energies division that will focus on developing projects like hydrogen fuel-cells and next generation biofuels.
According to Bloomberg, Van Beurden also noted the most important development in clean energy — that the costs for creating wind and solar power are falling dramatically. “All of this is good news for the world and must accelerate,” Van Beurden said.
Most of the time, the conversation around renewable energy centers around giant Tesla batteries in Australia or developed nations investing in solar, but the real opportunity for change will come parts of the developing world.
Fossil fuel companies know better than anyone that their primary product — refined petroleum — is a finite resource. While many of them are funneling resources to climate change denialism, they also realize that there’s a tremendous amount of money to be made in renewable energy.
In the developing world, Van Beurden is saying that putting resources toward new energies could win over millions of new customers with growing energy demands, ensuring future revenue streams for the company. If the environment gets a little better as a side effect, well, that’s just a bonus.