Good year: Elon Musk’s fortune exceeded $ 27 billionJanuary 7, 2020
In the early days of the new year, Tesla’s stock price rose to a historic high of $ 448 per share, up 250% since mid-year. This means that the personal fortune of the Mask for the first time, according to Forbes, exceeded $ 27 billion. Tesla rises in price against the backdrop of extremely successful completion of 2019 and excellent prospects for 2020. The coming year promises to be a breakthrough for all the projects of the restless Mask: the launch of the first stage of the Starlink satellite network, the launch of the Starship satellite into orbit, the launch of manned flights of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, the transition to Tesla’s own batteries and the first experiments on the implantation of the Neuralink neural interface have been announced.
On the morning of January 3, Tesla announced in an official release that it had completed the supply plan for 2019 – it delivered 367,500 cars to customers, which is slightly higher than the official plan of 360 thousand cars. Only in the 4th quarter, the company delivered 92550 electric vehicles Model 3 and 19,450 more expensive Model S and X, each of which costs about $ 100 thousand.
Next week, deliveries to the Chinese customers of the first Model 3s, made at the up-and-coming Gigafactory in Shanghai, will begin. The plant was founded less than a year ago, but this did not stop Mask from achieving the production of the first thousand cars in the new assembly plant before the end of the year.
Now we can safely say that 2019 was a turning point for Musk and his only public business – Tesla. At the same time, he began with advice to step aside: regular emergency calls and manual control are not at all what makes the modern car business profitable.
The mask was not helped either by the announcement of the Model Y crossover, or by the promise of a full-fledged autopilot: Tesla became cheaper, and less and less people believed it.
Ilon himself also recognized the problems and urged his subordinates to work better: “The future depends on us.”
By the middle of the year, Tesla almost doubled in price: shares started the year above the $ 300 mark, and by June 3 fell to $ 178.87 apiece. At that moment, the company burned money at a record pace, Musk dealt with the logistical hell and named his enemies, and the authoritative business newspaper Wall Street Journal talked about five fatal mistakes that were about to ruin if not the most impudent billionaire, then Tesla – for sure.
Against this background, Mask’s promises that after the introduction of autopilot and the Robotaxi system, Tesla cars will rise in price by five times, and the company itself – by 10, seemed like a joke.
Because of this, the local successes of other Mask companies have faded into the background: the complex and successful launch of the Falcon Heavy, the testing of the Crew Dragon manned capsule, which was carried out in SpaceX, as well as the pompous announcement of the neural interface for the man of the future – Neuralink.
Ilon seemed to radiate negative energy: when Tesla reported record sales at the end of July, the company’s stock crashed. The market did not believe that Musk at least made some money on his Model 3 sedans.
Against this background, the Clean Technica website forecast that Tesla will overtake BMW and Mercedes in sales in 2020 sharply stood out. But it was he who over the next months began to seem more and more real.
In the second half of the year, Musk, like Munchausen, pulled himself and Tesla out of the swamp. Although the main theme of August was not his successes in auto building, but a return to the crazy idea of arranging a nuclear bombardment of Mars to release enough CO2 and create an atmosphere there. Experts quickly felt that all the resources of the earthly industry would not be enough even to make enough bombs, not to mention the missiles for their delivery.
We seemed to see the Mask on the verge of delirium and despair, but here Tesla began to earn. And even the unit for the production of solar roofs, which brought many years of losses only, revived. In the third quarter, Tesla updated records for the production and supply of electric vehicles, as well as, unexpectedly for almost all analysts, immediately earned $ 342 million. The vast majority of experts assumed that the company would continue to only spend money.
This was followed by one inspiring announcement after another. In October, pilot production began on the Shanghai Gigafactory 3, which was built in record time – it is considered the main resource for sales growth in 2020, and Musk meanwhile agreed to build the European Tesla plant in Berlin.
By this time, not only the fans who bought the Nuke Mars T-shirts, but also the market believed in the Mask. However, the businessman’s magic showed itself to its full potential during the announcement of the Tesla pickup truck: a car with a strange angular design and “bulletproof” glass bursting from a steel ball hit received more than 200,000 pre-orders in 48 hours. And in many ways precisely because almost all the media wrote about the failure at the most important presentation of the year. Cybertruck itself became one of the main memes of the end of 2019.
Toward the end of the year, Bloomberg analysts called Tesla the best carmaker of the decade, and Musk set new incredible horizons in other projects. A new record in the value of Tesla shares means the company’s capitalization in the region of $ 80 billion – this is more than double the value of Ford and one and a half times – BMW.
Martian ship and world wide internet
The space business Mask has to finance itself – even when it comes to the ship for the exploration of Mars. Starship is the largest and most powerful rocket on Earth. Rather, it will become like this, because so far only its prototype is being tested, and with varying success. According to Musk, a real Starship will make its first flight in two to three months.
But before heading to Mars, Starship will be engaged in cargo transportation between various points on Earth. According to SpaceX, the launch of the ship will cost only $ 2 million. And on board it will take up to 150 tons of cargo or 1000 passengers. If Ilon really succeeds in making the launch of rockets as reliable and routine as flying on an airplane, airlines will have to give up a substantial part of the market.
However, another mega-project, the constellation of Starlink communication satellites, promises a much more reliable and fast profit. The latest version of the documents for approval by the International Telecommunication Union involves the launch of more than 40,000 satellites to provide fast satellite Internet throughout the Earth. So far, two cartridges of 60 satellites in each have been put into orbit.
The system should work over the United States in the middle of next year, and Morgan Stanley experts estimate the entire project at more than $ 60 billion. However, SpaceX has no other choice: reusable missiles will soon cease to be the main competitive advantage. And the market for satellite Internet communications is estimated at more than $ 100 billion per year.
Inside the brain
While skeptics fear that the Neuralink brain interface will turn people into robots, Musk insists that this is the main chance for humanity to compete with the smart machines of the future.
At the beginning of 2019, he left OpenAI, one of the most famous developers of breakthrough AI technologies. And still full of gloomy forebodings about the impact on humanity of this all-pervasive force.
After the summer announcement, Neuralink seemed like just a new way of communication. But Musk later explained: treating brain diseases and recovering from a stroke is the first chapter in the history of neurointerfaces.
Musk talked with MIT professor Lex Friedman and said that a person of the future will need superpowers to compete with AI with awareness: “It is important that Neuralink solve this problem [of the interface] early, because things will become extremely uncertain the moment we get digital superintelligence and we will pass the singularity. “
This podcast is one of Mask’s most balanced speeches, which illustrates much better than tweet discussions how an extravagant billionaire represents the future of both his business and humanity as a whole.
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