TIME Elon Musk

Tesla’s Elon Musk Just Had the Worst Birthday Ever

Tesla Elon Musk
Noah Berger—AP Tesla's CEO Elon Musk.

A disastrous weekend for both Tesla and SpaceX

Elon Musk turned 44 on Sunday, but the entrepreneur probably wished he could just crawl back into bed and forget the day ever happened.

It was, to be frank, a disastrous weekend for both Tesla and SpaceX, the two companies Musk leads.

First, the biggie: an unmanned SpaceX rocket on a resupply mission to the International Space Station exploded after it was launched. No one was hurt, and the astronauts on board the Space Station have enough supplies to last until October, but the Falcon 9 rocket that was destroyed represents a lot of lost capital, and it’s always embarrassing for an aerospace company when a craft just, well, explodes.

In news that was slightly less spectacular, but still troubling, reports say Musk said Tesla owners weren’t using the battery swap technology he debuted in 2013. While this doesn’t have quite the visual impact of an exploding rocket, it’s still not good news for a service that Musk and other Tesla execs hoped would help show consumers that electric cars, like Teslas, can be taken on longer trips with minimal wait time.

Musk himself admitted to having a bad day:

We hope your Independence Day weekend is better, Elon.

TIME robots

Apple’s Co-founder: We’re All Going to Be Robots’ Pets One Day

9th annual Southeast Venture Conference and Digital Summit Charlotte
Charlotte Observer—TNS via Getty Images Steve Wozniak

Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk agrees

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak thinks we’re all probably going to become robots’ pets.

Speaking at a recent technology conference, Wozniak said that at first the thought of artificially intelligent beings in charge of everything scared him. But now it’s a comforting thought.

Fast forward hundreds of years to when robots are in charge. At that time, humans will probably be treated in a similar fashion to dogs, Wozniak said during an event at the Freescale Technology Forum 2015 in Austin, Texas.

“It’s actually going to turn out really good for humans,” he added. “And it will be hundreds of years down the stream before [artificially intelligent beings would] even have the ability.”

“They’ll be so smart by then that they’ll know they have to keep nature, and humans are part of nature,” he continued. “So I got over my fear that we’d be replaced by computers.”

Wozniak believes robots will helps us because we’re the “gods originally.”

At the event, Wozniak also took the time to discuss the Internet of Things. He likes it, but cautioned that connected devices in the home have the potential to attack humanity.

Wozniak isn’t the only tech leader with thoughts on future human and robot interaction. In a recent interview with scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk warned that robots will use humans as pets once they achieve a level of artificial intelligence known as “superintelligence.”

They’ll treat humans like “pet Labradors,” he said.

TIME Autos

There’s Finally a Tesla You Can Afford


It costs 69,000 times less than usual

Tesla Motors’ slick Model S sedan isn’t just for the well-heeled customer anymore — it’s now expanding into crayon-toting, Sketcher-wearing circles.

Hot Wheels, the die-cast toymaker brand owned by Mattel, is producing a 1:64 scale model of Tesla’s luxury all-electric flagship vehicle at a suggested retail price of $1.09. That’s about 69,000 times cheaper than the full size version sold by Palo Alto-based Tesla Motors.


The Model S 70D, the automaker’s base model that’s equipped with a 70 kilowatt-hour battery pack, starts at about $75,000 before incentives.

The affordable price isn’t the only perk — Hot Wheels can sell the Model S in any state. It’s available now at retailers Target and Toys R’ Us. Tesla Motors, on the other hand, has been banned from selling directly to customers in a number of states, including Michigan, Arizona and Texas. In March, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill allowing manufacturers of zero-emissions vehicles to sell directly to customers, effectively lifting a ban placed on Tesla in April 2014 by the state’s Motor Vehicle Commission.

This isn’t the first time Hot Wheels has collaborated with Tesla Motors. The die-cast toymaker produced a Tesla Roadster in 2008.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Tesla

Tesla Shareholders Want a Vegan Car

But they probably won't get one

Some owners of Tesla Motors shares want the electric car company to make its cars more ethical — by taking out the leather seats.

Two shareholders, Mark and Elizabeth Peters, made a presentation at the company’s annual shareholder meeting Tuesday, asking Elon Musk and the rest of Tesla’s leadership to stop using animal products in the interiors of Tesla cars, and to go completely vegan by 2019, according to Bloomberg.

Right now, the Tesla Model S is available without leather seats, but not without leather trim. The couple said it was extremely difficult to get a vegan Model S.

Mark and Elizabeth Peters seem unlikely to get their wish, however, as the board of directors recommended against implementation of their plan.

For more details, head to Bloomberg.

TIME Tesla

Elon Musk Personally Tests Tesla Autopilot Every Week

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Meets With Tesla Motors Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, left, and Elon Musk share a laugh as they test drive a Tesla Model S sedan at Tesla headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif.

The ambitious CEO is testing out his company's newest futuristic feature himself

It’s a detail that only further cements his image as the real-life Tony Stark: Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk said on Tuesday that he personally tests Tesla’s new autopilot feature every week. It’s almost as if he’s using himself as a crash-test dummy.

The statement came at the company’s annual shareholder meeting. Musk said that the first version of Tesla’s autopilot feature — which assists customers with steering in case an emergency arises — will appear in new models as soon as this month or next.

“I’m testing the latest version of autopilot every week,” he said. “Typically, two or three builds per week that I’m testing on my car… But it is quite a tricky thing and we want to make sure our testing is exhaustive before releasing the software. But if we keep making progress I think we will be able to get it out to early access customers, which is our public beta program, around the end of this month. The expectation is that someone is paying attention to the road and is ready to take over if there’s an issue.”

Self-driving cars are an area of business that holds great interest not only for Musk, but also for surprising competitors such as Google. Musk has gotten himself into hot water this year for certain comments about driverless vehicles (he controversially said people might eventually be outlawed from driving cars due to the dangers of human error), but he has plowed forward with plans in this area.

A fully autonomous Tesla car is still at least three years away, Musk added, and it could take another few years for government regulation to catch up.

While the autopilot function that Musk is testing on his own car isn’t quite the futuristic self-driving functionality so many are buzzing about, it’s a step in that direction.


Elon Musk Wants to Build the Comcast of Outer Space

Tesla Motors Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk Unveils New Generation Of Batteries
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Elon Musk

It wouldn't be the first attempt

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has ambitions beyond space travel.

The company has lofty ambitions that would provide Internet to all corners of the world from space.

The Washington Post reports that Musk has been in talks with the federal government to get permission to launch 4,000 satellites with the capacity to beam Internet signals to Earth. If the plan works, SpaceX could set itself up in direct competition with telecom giants such as Comcast and AT&T.

It “would be like rebuilding the Internet in space,” Musk has said of the project, according to the newspaper.

But this isn’t the first or only venture of its kind. The publication reported that Bill Gates had a similar idea in the 1990s, and Richard Branson’s Virgin has its own plan in the works; Facebook recently shelved a project to build a $500 million satellite.

Musk’s FCC filing shows that he’d like to begin testing his satellite plan as early as next year, according to the newspaper.

“Some people might say the idea of satellite broadband has come and gone. But the cost structure of the business is so much better than when Bill Gates tried it,” said Paul Gallant, an analyst at Guggenheim Partners, in an interview with the Post. “I think Musk’s track record of disruptive innovation would make this a really attractive business for the . . . FCC to support.”

TIME Tesla

Here’s How You Can Play a PC Game Elon Musk Wrote When He Was 12

Elon Musk

It's pretty simple, but it's also more than 30 years old

Elon Musk is most famous these days for his electric car company Tesla, and for the spaceships he created with his private spaceflight company SpaceX. When the inventor was much younger, though, he tried his hand at creating video games.

At age 12, as a kid living in South Africa, Musk created Blastar — a space-themed PC game that is heavily influenced by classic arcade games such as Space Invaders and Asteroid, according to The Verge. You play the game as a space pilot who has to “destroy [the] alien freighter carrying deadly hydrogen bombs and status beam machines.”

Musk sold the code for $500, and now you can play it here.

MONEY stocks

Millennials Prefer Hot Tech Stocks While Gen Xers Shop for Dividends

Tesla Unveils New Battery System
Kevork Djansezian—Getty Images Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, with a graphic unveils suite of batteries for homes, businesses, and utilities at the Tesla Design Studio April 30, 2015 in Hawthorne, California.

Among the top picks for young adults aged 34 and younger: Apple, Facebook Inc, Tesla Motors Inc, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

It seems America’s youth have found a hero, and he is 84 years old.

For those aged 34 or younger, their No. 2 favorite stock – behind only mighty Apple Inc – is none other than Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

This is according to new data from the brokerage TD Ameritrade, which took a snapshot in May of the individual equity holdings of every one of its retail clients (not including mutual funds and exchange traded funds, which themselves hold baskets of different securities).

When it came to picking individual stocks, the results showed a generational difference. Millennials, who are pegged as tech-obsessed upstarts, favored the stocks of their own time. Aging baby boomers, who are stereotyped as stubbornly set in their ways, and Generation X, which is stuck in the middle, mostly favored what they know best, that is, dividend stocks.

Among the top picks for young adults aged 34 and younger: Apple, which accounts for a whopping 11.7 percent of their equity holdings; Facebook Inc, at 1.9 percent; electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA), at 1.1 percent; and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, at 1.1 percent.

For all those aged 35 years and older, Apple reigns supreme in their portfolios as well, with a share of 9.4 percent. Other popular stocks include General Electric Co, at 1.7 percent; AT&T Inc, at 1.4 percent; and Exxon-Mobil Corp, at 1.4 percent.

No mystery there: Follow the dividend.

“Older clients tend to search for higher yield,” said Nicole Sherrod, TD Ameritrade’s managing director of trading, since dividend-paying stocks provide a steady income stream as boomers start easing into retirement.

“So you see energy companies like Chevron, and healthcare names like Johnson & Johnson, and telecoms like Verizon, all of which they are very familiar with and have been investing in for years.”

For the youngest generation, however, it is all about what is hot now.

“It’s a demographic that is very much into tech, so it’s not shocking that it tends to skew much higher in their portfolios,” said Sherrod.

“Take something like Tesla: It’s something hot that millennials covet, and although they may not have the purchasing power to buy the car yet, they can certainly buy the stock.”

Who Has It Right?

But the underlying question: Do America’s respective generations have their equity mixes right? Or is some rebalancing in order?

To find out, Reuters took the trove of TD Ameritrade data to Patrick O’Shaughnessy, a portfolio manager with Stamford, Connecticut-based O’Shaughnessy Asset Management and author of the book “Millennial Money: How Young Investors Can Build a Fortune.”

His No. 1 concern for both generations: Back off on the Apple, guys. Not because of poor fundamentals, but because of serious overweighting.

“Those Apple percentages are crazy high,” O’Shaughnessy said. “In comparison Apple is around 4 percent of the S&P 500, so that is a huge individual position for both age groups.”

O’Shaughnessy also warns millennials against loading up on the latest sizzling tech stock, say Alibaba, and advises them to look hard at underlying valuations. In many cases price-earnings ratios have shot sky-high, and just do not represent smart buys.

If millennials remain determined to invest in the sector, they should instead look at stodgier tech names like Microsoft Corp, he said. With proven revenue streams, stock buyback programs, and growing dividends, tech’s old guard should prove safer harbor if market storms hit.

O’Shaughnessy’s final tip for investors: Look abroad. Since the U.S. market has “killed every other market for five years,” that likely means many investors are now overweight in American stocks. As a result, bulking up your portfolio with more international names would be wise.

Whether it comes to millennials, or Gen Xers, or boomers, each generation seems to be investing in what it knows. Generally speaking, that is a good thing – and happens to be a favorite principle of Warren Buffett himself.


SpaceX Has a Radical New Invention Idea

The company has filed an application for satellites that would beam down Internet access

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is planning a new network of satellites, and they’ll come with an interesting function: an Internet connection.

According to an application filed with the FCC last week and first spotted by a Reddit user, the Hawthorne, Calif.-based space company wants to launch a network of satellites that will beam down Internet access to regions with little or no connection to the web.

The application describes two satellites, the first of up to eight trial satellites that are each expected to last up to 12 months.

The satellites will likely be built using the $1 billion that SpaceX raised mostly from Google earlier this year.

For these first tests, the launch location will likely be Vandenberg Air Force Base on the California coast rather than Cape Canaveral in Florida, according to the orbital parameters in the application.

The test satellites will beam Internet broadband to three locations: Redmond, Wash., (as Musk has said he wants to build satellites and plan launches in Seattle); Fremont, Calif., where Musk’s Tesla factory is located; and Hawthone, Calif., which is SpaceX’s hometown.

Whether we’ll truly be able to connect to a SpaceX-provided Internet connection someday (it will likely take a long time before that gets approved) is still unclear. But Musk has said in the past that he believes such a communication system will be necessary for travel to Mars, his ultimate goal for SpaceX.


Tesla’s Electric Cars Face a Texas Roadblock

Direct-to-consumer sales face a long wait.

Tesla’s opportunity to sell products directly to Texas consumers disappeared when the state’s legislature failed to change the law Friday. The law won’t be up for review again for two years. For more Tesla news, click here.

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