Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
ISS Space Science Technology

SXSW: Elon Musk Talks Reusable Rockets, Tesla Controversy 167

Posted by timothy
from the he's-jes'-this-guy-y'know? dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, took the keynote stage at this year's SXSW to talk about everything from space exploration to electric cars. Joining him onstage to ask questions was Chris Anderson, the former Wired editor and co-founder of 3DRobotics. Musk used his keynote discussion to show off a video of a rocket test, which he said had taken place earlier that week. In the video, a ten-story rocket takes off from a launching pad and hovers several hundred feet in the air before landing in the same spot, upright. It's an early test of SpaceX's reusable-rocket project. 'Reusability is extremely important,' Musk told the audience. 'If you think it's important that humanity extends beyond Earth and becomes a multitenant species' then reusable rockets will prove essential. Musk also talked about the recent controversy involving his Tesla Motors, which started when a New York Times reporter claimed in a much-circulated column that his electric-powered Model S sedan had ground to a halt during a test drive up the East Coast. 'I have no problem with negative feedback,' he told Anderson, in response to the latter's question. 'There have been hundreds of negative articles, and yet I've only spoken out a few times. I don't have a problem with critical reviews, I have a problem with false reviews.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

SXSW: Elon Musk Talks Reusable Rockets, Tesla Controversy

Comments Filter:
  • Short term gain (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GeneralTurgidson (2464452) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @09:28AM (#43130365)
    I think the biggest reason he gets so much flak is because no one can figure out how to make a quick buck off his businesses.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think the biggest reason he gets so much flak is because no one can figure out how to make a quick buck off his businesses.

      The traders have been making money off of the "flak" Elon has been getting.

      Investors in Tesla are quite patient in regards to the life cycle of a business such as Tesla. They knew full well the history of electric cars, the hurdles they will have to overcome, the hurdles that Tesla will have to overcome, and public perception of electric cars.

      Some investors have a long term hope of Tesla being a big car maker and others think that eventually, a big car maker (Toyota, GM, Ford, Mercedes, etc ...) will purc

      • by Teancum (67324)

        Considering that DeLorean Motors [delorean.com] is still in business and they are even looking at restarting production, it is an interesting comparison to make. Admittedly that the company is certainly no longer under original ownership of any kind and that being a shareholder of the original company was likely a bad idea, the company still seems to have some amazing life and seems to be a company that can't quite die even if it is a Zombie of sorts.

        The better comparison that has been often used for Tesla has been the T [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I think it is because the entrenched "Complexes" (American Auto Manuf & NASA sub contractors) have no interest in moving the industries forward they just want to keep feeding at the trough. Along comes this guy with the crazy idea of engineering a better machine. In doing so he shows the world that what they were told cannot be done can be. The entrenched complexes then panic as their trough might be taken away and that is where all the hate is coming from.

      • by amiga3D (567632)

        He should look what the American Automakers did to Preston Tucker.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Tucker_Sedan [wikipedia.org]

        • The Tucker fell apart at it's unvieling, breaking to control arms under it's own weight. It was louder than any other car of the time, and had no reverse gear. Did "the man" force him to try to sell a terrible design, or is it possible that he simply wasn't up to the task?
          • by amiga3D (567632)

            That was the prototype. Production cars had none of those problems. What "the man" did was get the SEC to pursue him with a pack of lies. Tucker was acquitted on every single charge without calling a single witness for the defense. He was acquitted based on the prosecution's testimony! One of the prosecution's witnesses stated that he was still driving one of the Tucker 48s and that it had over 30,000 miles on it and still handled smoothly at 90 miles per hour. The SEC charges were baseless and were b

  • The fundamental claim that Musk put out -- that the reporter intentionally drained the battery, and that the towing was faked -- has been completely disproven. The reporter used the car in non-optimal user behavior, and the car failed. This is entirely legitimate reviewing, and Musk called him a liar. '

    • by The Wannabe King (745989) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @10:19AM (#43130625)
      Broder deliberately charged it less than he needed. When he left the last charging station the car very clearly stated that it would not be able to reach the destination. This is not "non-optimal user behavior", but a complete driver failure, except that it almost certainly was intentional to make a "good" story. An ICE car would behave in the exact same way. This is not specific to EVs.

      An EV generally gives a lot more warnings before it runs out of charge than an ICE car does before it runs out of gas. You are no more at risk of being stranded with an EV than with an ICE car and probably less. If he wanted to make a legitimate case against EVs he should criticize the charging times instead.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bing Tsher E (943915)

        You are no more at risk of being stranded with an EV than with an ICE car and probably less.

        That is completely untrue. With an ICE, a handheld tank of fuel can be carried to any 'stranded' vehicle and it can be refueled and the vehicle can immediately proceed on it's way. There is no equivalent (yet) of a mobile recharging device that can be transported to an EV. This fact was shown by the reporter's experience. If anything, the reporter demonstrated that the typical impatient traveler, who might jet o

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          With an ICE, a handheld tank of fuel can be carried to any 'stranded' vehicle and it can be refueled and the vehicle can immediately proceed on it's way.

          Or an hour and a half later, when AAA gets there. At which point you could be towed to a charging station instead, anyway, and then get a quick cjarge.

          There is the potential for some really sucky 'stranded on the road' experiences with EVs at the present day, and the reporter did a good job of exploring them.

          He did a good job of deliberately causing them, you mean. That's not a good way of exploring the situation. And lying about it later wasn't, either. That was fraud.

          Of course, if you trust the NYT you're a stupid fuck anyway. They have repeatedly demonstrated their willingness to commit fraud.

          • Or an hour and a half later, when AAA gets there. At which point you could be towed to a charging station instead, anyway, and then get a quick cjarge.

            I don't think you have the same definition of "quick" that the rest of us have. It takes an hour to fully charge from drained and that is at a rapid charging station. Get it down to 5 minutes and then you can call it quick. Not to mention that you now have to have a tow truck and be towed to a charging station. I'm all in favour of electric cars but until they improve the recharge speed I can only imagine using them for a "runabout town" sort of car where the distance is not too far and they can recharge o

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              I don't think you have the same definition of "quick" that the rest of us have.

              That might be. For example, I can last more than three minutes in bed.

              It takes an hour to fully charge from drained and that is at a rapid charging station.

              Straw man.

              Even then I will not be buying one until they are cheaper to run than an ICE

              Who cares?

              As for newspapers the NYT is no better than the rest

              Yeah, that's what I said.

        • by The Wannabe King (745989) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @11:25AM (#43131003)
          I talk about the risk of being stranded, not how to solve the problem when it happens. Even then, there are more possibilities than you are aware of. Look at this: http://news.aaa-calif.com/pr/aaa/PRN-first-electric-vehicle-charging-232337.aspx [aaa-calif.com] My point is that it is a lot harder to experience an unexpected stop in an EV than in a gas car since the EV tracks the remaining range more accurately and gives out a lot of warnings. Electricity is also more widely available than gas. Electric outlets are everywhere, gas pumps aren't. Even if you drive it until you hit "turtle mode" (or whatever it is called in a Tesla, I have a Leaf), you would most places be within range of an outlet.

          Broder knew very well that he would not reach his destination and he left anyway just to make a "better" story. If he wanted to make a case against EVs he could have focused on having to stay 10 mins longer than he wanted at the last Supercharger. Or he he could have insisted of driving somewhere where there are no Superchargers. These are the real drawbacks of an EV today.

          My family has driven a Leaf as our only car for the past year and we know very well how it behaves. We have never feared being stranded anywhere or having the car unexpectedly stop. However we do have to spend more time charging on longer trips than we would have wanted ideally.
        • With an ICE, a handheld tank of fuel can be carried to any 'stranded' vehicle and it can be refueled and the vehicle can immediately proceed on it's way

          In theory, yes, but in practice virtually nobody does that, particularly not stupid people who think they can go twice as far as their gas gauge says they can.. That's why towing companies offer to deliver a gallon or two of gas for $60 and up.

          The reporter charged the car up to the point where it said it had a 32 mile range, then left knowing that it was 61 miles until the next charging station. That is not a flaw in the car, it's a reporter intentionally running the battery down so that he can report how

          • by AaronW (33736)

            The thing is that if the reporter had waited a few more minutes at the supercharger there would not have been any problems. After he ran into range issues after the first time not charging long enough at a super charger you would think he would have learned, but he didn't. He intentionally undercharged again. If I'm in an unfamiliar vehicle, especially an electric vehicle, I make damned sure I have enough gas or charge before heading out.

            The funny thing is that the weekend after that incident a bunch of Tes

            • BTW, Broder is the NYT token conservative columnest who has said a number of not so complimentary things about EV cars in the past, plus he used to report on the oil industry and doesn't have much experience with cars.

              This is a weird thing, that conservatives seem to be against electric cars and in fact efficiency in general.

              The thing is, outside of pundits and car drivers, and people who sell fuel, everyone (no matter how conservative) loves efficiency. Truckers love it, because fuel is expensive. Aeropla

      • When he left the last charging station the car very clearly stated that it would not be able to reach the destination.

        ... because Tesla support told him, via phone, that the range indicator was unreliable below freezing, and that "range" would return as the battery warmed. They were right - the range improved - but not enough to get to the charger. You'll still filtering the story down to support the PR version of events.

        Funny that Musk has declined to release logs of those phone calls.

    • The logs don't lie. The logs of that trip have been published. As the Wannabe King has already posted, Broder deliberately undercharged the car, repeatedly. The logs indicate that he intentionally sabotaged the test, so that the car would fail the tests. Broder used the test to "prove" that the car doesn't work as advertised. Broder had an agenda, and dishonestly used the car to promote his agenda.

      As I recall, my telephone had an instruction manual, that suggested that I charge it for an hour before initial use. Had I only charged it for thirty minutes, then complained that it doesn't hold a charge very long, would that be honest? Hell no, it wouldn't. If subsequent charges were only permitted to half-charge the batteries, would I have a legitimate complaint that my phone doesn't hold a charge? Again, hell no.

      Read the logs.

      In a gasoline powered car, you can't put ten gallons into a sixteen gallon tank of a car that gets 12 mpg, then expect to drive it 180 miles. It just doesn't work that way. You WILL run out of gas!

      • by Solandri (704621)

        The logs don't lie. The logs of that trip have been published. As the Wannabe King has already posted, Broder deliberately undercharged the car, repeatedly. The logs indicate that he intentionally sabotaged the test, so that the car would fail the tests.

        Charging a Lithium-ion battery isn't like filling a gas tank. It doesn't happen linearly, especially if you're doing a high-amperage quick-charge (which is what the Supercharge is). It starts off charging quickly, but when you get to a certain point clos

        • by Namarrgon (105036)

          The crucial point here is that the car itself told Broder it had only half the needed range to get to the next station (32mi range to travel 61 miles), yet he ceased charging and drove off anyway. This is after nearly running out (again due to undercharging) on the previous leg, so I can't imagine why he felt the car would make it when the stated range was even lower.

          That said, the graphs Musk published clearly show the car was over-reporting its expected range by around 20%. If Broder was on the ball, logg

      • The logs were never released. Seriously, where's the download? Instead, a summary chart was released. They have not, meanwhile, released any recordings of Broders several calls to Telsa support to discuss the fluctuating range indicator. Tesla makes nice cars, but they are not being transparent.

    • by fermion (181285)
      Years ago laptop manufacturers often called reviewers liars because the reviewers ran the laptops under real world conditions and achieved battery liars that were fractions of the stated battery life.Those manufacturers that overstated the most were the most vocal.

      In cars energy consumption is traditionally widely overstated, as can be seen with the recent manufacturers that had to cut estimates. Some are accurace. The Subaru, in my experience, does can go 60 to 70 miles on a scant two gallons. One of

      • by phayes (202222)

        The problem is, and I got out of the NYT report was saying, is that when charging takes a relatively long tim, and when station are not everywhere, it is easy to get stuck. Not because the car is bad, but because no one is going to drive under ideal conditions, and the temptation to go when the estimates say you can will be great. More work needs to go into energy management.

        You are describing precisely the journalist's misrepresentations & why Musk reacted so violently against the article. Undercharging the vehicle, lying about it & then claiming that it is an inherent weakness as the reporter did makes people like you believe that EVs are not reliable. When used according to the indications the vehicle gives & recharging as the Tesla techs indicated, others have performed similar journeys without any issues.

    • Who puts this bullshit as "insightful"?
      • Who puts this bullshit as "insightful"?

        I have a botnet, and the terms of my parole say I can only use it on Slashdot.

  • CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors

    Holy shit, I just realized it was the same guy although I know a little bit about both company!

  • You can tell by how hard it is to drag people to the money.

Dennis Ritchie is twice as bright as Steve Jobs, and only half wrong. -- Jim Gettys

Working...