Elon Musk said on Friday Tesla may soon come to Russia. The news came Friday after Musk disclosed on Thursday the return of the Model S.
Yes, the Model S is finally coming back.
Tesla hasn’t delivered one of the luxury sedans since the start of the year thanks to a computer chip shortage and a redesign of the car, once the company’s only offering. Since then, CEO Elon Musk has been promising the return of the Model S was around the corner, saying as recently as April that deliveries would resume in May.
Finally, in a tweet early Thursday, Musk announced a Model S “delivery event” to be held June 3 at Tesla’s Fremont, California, factory.
Tesla had paused deliveries on the Model S, as well as the Model X SUV after the company ran through the available inventory of 2,000 of those vehicles in January. It didn’t build any more of those models in the first quarter of 2021 due to the shortage of computer chips that has dogged all automakers.
Instead Tesla concentrated on building as many of its lower priced Model 3 sedans and Model Y SUVs as possible.
Upgraded Model S and X
Even without the chip shortage, some degree of delay likely would have happened anyway as Tesla had worked on updated versions of the Model S and X. Still, those production upgrades typically take weeks, not months -— which suggests the prolonged delivery delay was driven more by the chip shortage than the changeover.
Musk’s tweet said the June 3 event will also feature the debut of a “Plaid” version of the Model S, a name taken from the Mel Brooks “Star Wars” parody “Spaceballs.”
“Fastest production car ever,” Musk tweeted about the updated Model S. “0 to 60 mph in under 2 seconds.”
The new Model S is also notable for its rectangular steering wheel, which looks like something out of an airplane cockpit or race car rather than a mass market vehicle.
“I think we’re close to establishing Tesla presence in Russia and that would be great. And more broadly, also in Kazakhstan and neighboring regions. It’s important for us to support Tesla supporters like yourself,” Musk said via video-link for an event for Russian students called “New Knowledge,” addressing a student fan who asked the question.
Musk said in addition to its already existing Tesla factories in California, Nevada and Shanghai, and plants under construction in Germany and Texas, Tesla will potentially open factories in Russia.
“Over time we’ll look to have factories in other parts of the world, potentially Russia at some point,” he said.
Musk said he participated in the “New Knowledge” forum at the invitation of Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov. He answered questions from Russian students for around 40 minutes. Among other topics, he spoke about how he sees the future, proposed to build a base on the moon and a city on Mars, and said he doesn’t rule out the existence of alien life.
“50 years is hard to predict,” he said, answering a question about what the next 50 years will look like. “Safe to say that 50 years from now will not be what we think it will be. There are fundamental size makeshifts in technology, artificial intelligence, space travel, neurocomputer interfaces, synthetic RNA and DNA. Those are the big ones.”
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO also spoke about plans to travel beyond the solar system, saying that humans would need antimatter ships to reach at least 10% to 20% of the speed of light.
“Before going beyond the solar system we need to be able to go to the Moon and to Mars to establish a self-sustaining base on the moon and on Mars. This is a critical next step,” Musk said.
“I think it’s important for the future of civilization that we become a multi-planet civilization. I’m optimistic about the future but history shows that civilizations do not rise continuously. They rise, they reach some apex and then they fall. And at some point we will be in that boat. Before that happens we need to make life multi-planetary. This is the first time in the 4.5-billion-year-old history of Earth that it’s possible to extend life and I think we should take advantage of that window while it is open.”
When asked if he believes in God, Musk said, “I’m not religious in a traditional sense, because you know I was raised in a scientific school of thought. But at the same time I do wonder — where does all of this come from? What’s the meaning of life? How did we get to be here? What are even the right questions to ask? I would say that … philosophy is to expand the scope and scale of our mind so that we are able to ask the right questions about the universe.”
Toward the end of his online Q&A session, Musk told the students to “stay positive for the future and fight a good future with high energy.”