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It's another day and electric automaker Tesla Motors is in the news once again.

Tesla announced Wednesday that they will be offering $1.6 billion in convertible senior notes to the public. According to the press release, Tesla will use these funds to assist in "the development and production of its 'Gen III' mass market vehicle, the development of the Tesla Gigafactory and other general corporate purposes."
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Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has made it his business to defend the modern electric vehicle as a viable mode of transit. Tesla's sporty Roadster, the company's first car, debunked the myth that electric cars couldn't be fun. Now Musk is seeking to overcome the notion of "range anxiety" with his Model S sedan and solar-powered Supercharger network. As he announced on Twitter earlier today, Musk plans to personally show how convenient a cross-country trip in a Model S electric car can be.


While some vehicle manufacturers have responded to battery range limitations by adding onboard gas generators to their vehicles, like the the one found on the Chevy Volt or available on the forthcoming BMW i3, Musk has made it clear that Tesla's strategy is gas-free. He points to improvements in charging and battery technologies as the longterm answer, with near-term solutions like rapid battery-swap.

There's little doubt that electric vehicle technology will continue to improve over time, but Musk's planned trip from Los Angeles to New York indicates that the future is now--at least as it pertains to long distance travel in a Model S.


The automaker's strategically located Supercharger stations will apparently enable Musk to charge for only 1.5 hours a day during his 6 day, 3,200 mile trek. As he explains on Twitter, that 1.5 hours will be spent eating or sightseeing. (While we accept the premise that charging could be achieved while taking a rest stop on a long road trip, we question the sort of sightseeing opportunities that can be had within walking distance from Tesla's Supercharger stations.)

Another presumed motivation behind the CEO's all-electric road trip is to negate a contested New York Times report that a Model S broke down during a journalist's test run of Tesla's Supercharger Network.

Whether it's to disprove his critics, dispel perceived myths or simply partake in the great American tradition of the summertime road trips, we imagine we'll hear much more from Musk once he's underway.

TRANSLOGIC 113: 2013 Tesla Model S
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Hyperloop

For a little over a year Tesla and SpaceX visionary Elon Musk has been talking about a revolutionary new way to travel called Hyperloop. Today he announced his designs in a 57-page document, ending months of speculation by the public and media alike.
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ETT System

Lately, Elon Musk seems to be challenging every preconceived notion of transportation. First, he took the auto industry by storm when he introduced the electric-powered Tesla Roadster and later the all-electric Model S sedan, dubbed the "automobile of the year" by Automobile Magazine, as well as Motor Trend. Then his company SpaceX became the first privately owned company to send cargo to the International Space Station.
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SpaceX Grasshopper

SpaceX has taken another step towards privatized space travel by once again successfully launching and landing Grasshopper, a ten-story Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) reusable rocket. The rocket flew to a height of 1066 feet, more than 200 feet higher than previous attempts. Though the test took place last month, SpaceX kept it under wraps until they released a video last week on their YouTube channel.
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Tesla Model S battery swap

Tesla Motors has already revolutionized EV ownership with their award-winning Model S sedan and ever-expanding Supercharger network. Now, the Silicon Valley-based electric vehicle manufacturer is adding another quick charge option for Model S owners and it doesn't involve plugging in their cars.

Tesla announced a new battery swap option for Model S Owners yesterday at their Hawthorn, Calif. design studio.
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Tesla

Tesla Motors announced Wednesday that it has paid off a $465 million U.S. Department of Energy loan in full with interest. In doing so, Tesla becomes the first U.S. automaker to completely repay loans distributed under the DOE's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program.
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Tesla Model S

Tesla is considering adding an 'autopilot' feature to future vehicles and is apparently discussing the potential for such technologies with Google, according to a report by Bloomberg. Tesla CEO Elon Musk told Bloomberg in an email, "I think Tesla will most likely develop its own autopilot system for the car...However, it is also possible that we do something jointly with Google."
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Tesla Model S

Tesla Motors announced Tuesday that it's unveiling a lease-to-own program that could bring the cost of ownership, for some buyers, to less than $500 a month.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the loan program is designed to make the Model S "affordable to a much broader audience" than most people expect. The CEO is riding a wave of publicity this week after announcing the EV company will be profitable for the quarter after selling more than expected Model S EVs.

Most critically, though, the program gives people who lease a Tesla the $7,500 tax break that the government gives out for electric and hybrid cars. Until now, Tesla lease customers lost out on that rebate, which went instead to the bank that provided the lease.

Leasers (who have excellent credit) will get that rebate from US Bank and Wells Fargo, which have agreed to provide the 10 percent down payment required to lease a Model S. Monthly lease payments are based on how much the buyer leaves as a down payment, and then calculated by how much the car should be worth when the car is turned back in. So Tesla is promising the Model S will be worth the same as a Mercedes S Class.
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TRANSLOGIC

Last summer, Elon Musk announced the Tesla Supercharger network--strategically placed, solar powered fast chargers for Model S owners across California. Musk also noted Tesla would continually add stations until customers could complete a coast to coast trip using only plug-in power. Since then, every few months they have been updating us with new station locations. And now we have a few more to add.
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Rainn Wilson, Elon Musk

In the most bizarre interview we've seen since Space Ghost was cancelled, 'Office' star and SoulPancake founder Rainn Wilson tossed some thoughtful questions at Tesla CEO Elon Musk...in the back of a 70s-era van, while eating a chicken burger.

The exchange got off to an awkward start after Wilson denied Musk a bite of the sandwich. "You may be a billionaire, entrepreneur, inventor, man extraordinaire, but you're not getting any of my chicken burger," said Wilson.

From there, the interview takes on a slightly more serious tone, as the two discuss Musk's stated interest in colonizing mars and compare thoughts on global warming. Musk also admits to having attended Burning Man festival wearing a Darth Vadar costume. (We said slightly more serious.)

You can watch the interview in its entirety below. Kudos to Musk for his good-humored and candid answers, and to Wilson for making us laugh, as per usual.



Also, check out our interviews with Musk regarding SpaceX and Tesla. They're a bit more straightforward:

TRANSLOGIC 76: Elon Musk Interview, SpaceX
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Audi R8 e-tron
Audi R8 e-tron

German-automaker Audi has confirmed that their all-electric R8 E-Tron prototype will appear in Marvel's upcoming Iron Man 3, in theater's May 3.

"This is a strategic collaboration for us," said Loren Angelo, General Manager of Brand Marketing for Audi of America. "Similar to the position of the R8 as an innovation leader, Iron Man's character consistently evolves throughout the trilogy as he masterminds new trends in technology and engineering."

Audi R8 e-tron

Iron Man's alter ego Tony Stark, depicted by actor Robert Downey Jr., often draws comparisons to Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk. Perhaps, then, it's only natural that Stark would drive an all-electric sports car in the upcoming movie--even if it was furnished by Audi, rather than Musk's own Tesla Motors. Musk made a cameo appearance in the series' second film.

Audi has flirted with the idea of an electric version of their R8 supercar for some time, but it appears that any plans for production are currently on hold.

You can catch a glimpse of the car being driven and subsequently blown up in the movie trailer below.

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ELON MUSK

One of the most thrilling aspects of SpaceX's business plan is the reusability of their rockets. Earlier this week SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted pictures and video of their Grasshopper rocket taking a brief test flight and landing. It's quite a spectacular sight to see.
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SpaceX Mars Mission

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has made a very exciting announcement regarding his stated goal of traveling to Mars. Last week, while accepting an award for his contributions to commercial space travel at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London, Musk told of his plans to shuttle 80,000 people to the Red Planet.
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