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Report: Musk Considering SpaceX Factory in Austin

Elon Musk plans to expand his companies’ operations in Texas with a SpaceX factory to be built across the road from the Tesla factory currently under construction near Austin, according to a report.

The Austin Business Journal reported that multiple sources told the outlet that land has been set aside for the construction of a SpaceX facility.

There has been some speculation about SpaceX coming to the area since Austin-based NBC affiliate KXAN reported last month on a job posting seeking an engineer for its Starlink satellite team.

“To keep up with global demand, SpaceX is breaking ground on a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Austin, TX,” the company said in the posting, which has since been removed.

The report points out that Giga Texas is being built on the east side of the SH 130 toll road, and Musk’s company owns at least 752 acres west of the highway, according to filings with Travis Central Appraisal District.

No permits have been filed yet with the city of Austin for work on the site, according to the report.

SpaceX currently has a facility in Boca Chica, Texas, where it is building and testing its new Starship, which the company plans to use to travel to Mars.

Image: SpaceX Flickr

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Falcon 9 Debris Found on Washington Farm

A piece of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that broke apart when returning to land was found on a farm in central Washington, local authorities said last week.

The Grant County Sheriff’s Office tweeted details about the discovery.

“SpaceX recovered a Composite-Overwrapped Pressure Vessel from last week’s Falcon 9 re-entry,” the tweet said. “It was found on private property in southwest Grant County this week. Media and treasure hunters: we are not disclosing specifics. The property owner simply wants to be left alone.”

COPVs are used to store helium to pressurize the propellant tanks of the Falcon 9’s upper stage. 

The Falcon 9 rocket was used on March 4 for the Starlink 17 mission that launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The wreckage discovered was part of the company’s second-stage booster. The main booster returns to Earth for a landing, while the second stage is usually set on a trajectory to burn up in the atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean. A malfunction of some sort through the second stage off course. 

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Electric Hummer SUV Slated for Early 2023

The SUV version of the upcoming GMC Hummer was unveiled over the weekend.

The vehicle is a companion to a pickup version, which began taking orders earlier this year. The SUV has similar specs and features, including 850 horsepower and 11,500 foot-pounds of torque.

GM listed the following highlights in a release:

  • Master of maneuverability, with a 126.7-inch wheelbase giving it expected best-in-class off-road proportions with impressive departure and breakover angles, and a tighter turning circle of only 35.4 feet (10.8 meters) with 4 Wheel Steer standard on 2X, 3X and Edition 1
  • An immersive interior puts the driver at the center of every moment, including customizable, multisensory user features and an open driving experience with the standard Infinity Roof with removable Sky Panels, I-Bar and rear drop glass
  • GM’s Ultium Drive System offers up to 830 horsepower and up to 11,500 lb-ft of torque (GM estimated) — enough power for super-fast 0-60-mph sprints in approximately 3.5 seconds with Watts To Freedom3
  • New tactical technology via the redesigned myGMC app4 including Energy Assist
  • Great degree of customization via My Mode, auxiliary buttons and nearly 200 accessories available at launch
  • Next-gen electric, with a 20-module Ultium battery system offering up to a GM estimated 300-plus miles of range5 on Edition 1 (with standard equipment)

“The GMC Hummer EVs were envisioned to be the most capable and compelling electric supertrucks ever,” Duncan Aldred, global vice president of GMC, said in a statement.

HUMMER EV SUV Specifications

Edition 1
Edition 1 with available
Extreme Off-Road Package
Starting at MSRP (w/DFC) $79,995 $89,995 $99,995 $105,595 $110,595
Availability Spring 2024 Spring 2023 Spring 2023 Early 2023 Early 2023
Range5 (mi) 250+ 300+ 300+ 300+ 280+
Horsepower Up to 625 Up to 625 Up to 830 Up to 830 Up to 830
Torque (lb-ft) Up to 7,400 Up to 7,400 Up to 11,500 Up to 11,500 Up to 11,500
0-60 mph n/a n/a ~3.5s ~3.5s ~3.5s
2 motor/
2 motor/
DCFC 400v 800v/300kW 800v/300kW 800v/300kW 800v/300kW
Optional 300+mi range
800v DCFC
w/ 20-module battery
Extreme Off-Road Package Extreme Off-Road Package    

Production is expected to begin in early 2023.

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Musk Teases 50’s-Themed Santa Monica Supercharger Station

A Supercharger station with 50’s diner is coming to Santa Monica, Calif., Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Twitter. 

Replying to a tweet showing a line of Tesla vehicles waiting to charge, Musk said a “major new Supercharger station coming to Santa Monica soon!” 

Tesla previously proposed a station in Santa Monica that would have 62 stalls, expected to be the world’s largest V3 Supercharger station. It’s not clear if that proposal will be the site of the diner. Musk said that in addition to a diner for Tesla owners to relax while their vehicles charge, the station will also show the “100 best movie clips.”

Musk said in 2018 that he wanted Supercharger locations to feature an “old school drive-in, roller skates & rock restaurant.” Musk said the station would include an outdoor screen playing “a highlight reel of the best scenes in movie history.” And, Musk plans for the diner’s digital menu to pop-up on Tesla owners’ screens when the vehicle is placed in park.

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Tesla Posts Record Q1 Production

Tesla released Friday its first quarter production numbers, showing a record performance. 

The electric car maker produced a total of 180,338 vehicles and delivered a total of 184,800 cars. Tesla noted that it did not produce any Model S or Model X vehicles in Q1, but delivered 2,020 units. The lower-priced Model 3 and Model Y accounted for 180,339 cars produced and 182,780 deliveries.

  Production Deliveries Subject to operating lease accounting
Model S/X 2,020 6%
Model 3/Y 180,338 182,780 7%
Total 180,338 184,800 7%

Tesla’s numbers benefitted from increased production at the company’s China factory. Giga Shanghai ramped production of the China-built Model Y during Q1. Tesla’s production numbers are likely to continue to see a bump from efforts at Giga Shanghai accelerate. 

“We are encouraged by the strong reception of the Model Y in China and are quickly progressing to full production capacity,” the company said in a release.

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Apple Plans To Use Tesla Battery Storage Systems At CA Solar Farm

Apple’s new energy storage project was designed with Tesla’s battery tech in mind.

While reports say Apple’s project with Tesla was quietly approved last year, Apple has just officially announced that it’s building a battery energy storage facility at its solar farm in Northern California. The solar farm has been in play since 2015, though the announcement about the use of Tesla’s battery tech is brand new.

According to reports, Apple will acquire 85 lithium-ion Tesla Megapacks for the project. The company says the system will be capable of storing some 240 megawatt-hours of energy, some of which will be used to power its headquarters in Cupertino.

The Verge first reported that the project was approved in 2020 by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. The publication says the project was officially confirmed by the county’s planning chief via email, though Apple and Tesla have yet to respond to The Verge. However, Apple VP Lisa Jackson shared with Reuters this week:

“The challenge with clean energy — solar and wind — is that it’s by definition intermittent. If we can do it, and we can show that it works for us, it takes away the concerns about intermittency and it helps the grid in terms of stabilization. It’s something that can be imitated or built upon by other companies.”

In other words, renewable energy is the way to go, but a means to store the captured energy is paramount. While there are other companies that offer home battery storage systems and larger systems for corporate use, Tesla is one of the only mainstream companies truly touting new energy and battery storage systems. Its megapack has proven successful in various parts of the world. Apple seems to know where to look when it comes to battery storage.

Whether you see Apple and Tesla as partners, rivals, friends, or foes, it makes perfect sense for Apple to work with Tesla on battery storage.

Scroll down to the comment section below and let us know your thoughts on this recent development. We hope to see many more projects like this in the future.

Source: Apple via The Verge

This article originally appeared on Inside EVs.

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