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Elon Musk Talks Tesla, Apple, Model X

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the what'd-he-say? dept.

Transportation 99

Nerval's Lobster writes "Tesla CEO Elon Musk admitted in a Bloomberg interview that he had engaged in 'conversations' with Apple, but refused to disclose the content of those talks. Rumors have circulated for several days that Apple executives met with Musk last spring about a possible acquisition. An anonymous source with knowledge of those discussions told SFGate.com that discussions included Adrian Perica, who heads up Apple's M&A division, and possibly Apple CEO Tim Cook. 'Both [Tesla and Apple] have built brands based on advanced engineering and stylish user-friendly design,' the newspaper noted. 'And each company has become a symbol of Silicon Valley innovation—even among people who don't own their products.' But in the interview, Musk framed an acquisition as 'very unlikely,' mostly because it would distract Tesla from its goal of building an affordable electric car. 'I don't see any scenario,' he added, in which Tesla could juggle the issues associated with a takeover while producing vehicles that met his perfectionist standards. He did suggest, however, that Apple's iOS and Google Android could find their respective ways into Tesla's in-vehicle software. Tesla executives once considered integrating an early version of Android into the company's first electric cars, but the software ultimately wasn't ready to serve as an automotive application. Nonetheless, Musk could see iOS or Android within the context of a 'projected mode or emulator' that would allow someone to use applications while driving, although 'that's peripheral to the goal of Tesla.'"

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Truly (-1, Flamebait)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 7 months ago | (#46301861)

Why haven't the workers taken over and socialized the means of production yet? Why is our destiny as a species tied to the whims of a handful of super-wealthy idle parasites?

Re: Truly (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46301925)

It still takes someone with both skills and leadership to run a company properly.

  If you were on a boat, would you advocate throwing the captan overboard (assuming he wasn't bad) so that you and your shipmates can run things? Try it, and see how far you get before the next alpha male jockeys for power and control.

Re: Truly (1)

ceCA (675081) | about 7 months ago | (#46303215)

Really? Most of the skills to run a company take common sense. Its a myth that do a job that a moron can do takes skills. Let's see skills needed run a company : hire someone to keep track inventory and report to president hire someone to do research and report to president ditto ad infinitum An idiot can run a company Mostly common sense Pick any one off street and assuming they are middle class people Odds are they can run a company (ie not crazy, etc) Odds are they may be able do a better job All this BS about irreplaceable people is pure bullshit Now pick someone off street to design an electronic circuit You may have a problem Most people are idiots and most jobs can be done by anyone especially at higher levels

Re: Truly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303317)

How may electronic circuits has Musk designed?

Fuck all. Like most rent-seekers.

Re: Truly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46304175)

An idiot can run a company Mostly common sense Pick any one off street and assuming they are middle class people Odds are they can run a company (ie not crazy, etc) Odds are they may be able do a better job

The fun thing about Capitalism is that if you believe this you can at any time start your own company and become one of the wealthy "rent seekers".

Since you (presumably) haven't does that I'm going to figure you're full of shit.

Re: Truly (1)

impossiblefork (978205) | about 7 months ago | (#46303373)

A captain rarely owns the ship the ship he captains though.

I think that what one ought to imagine here is something like a smith who doesn't own his tools, but has access to tools which he does not control, with his tool access and the tool access of many other smiths entirely at the mercy of some large tool-owner.

Re: Truly (1)

chispito (1870390) | about 7 months ago | (#46304233)

A captain rarely owns the ship he captains though.

This depends greatly on the size of the boat.

Re: Truly (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 7 months ago | (#46366907)

I think that what one ought to imagine here is something like a smith who doesn't own his tools, but has access to tools which he does not control

That's a terrible analogy. Like a programmer, a smith can make his own tools. A carpenter would have been a far better analogy.

Re: Truly (1)

impossiblefork (978205) | about 6 months ago | (#46425203)

No, it's fairly good. A smith needs substantial infrastructure to do what he does, his whole smithy with numerous tools which represent a high capital cost. A carpenter does not have quite the same capital cost although an analogy with a carpenter instead of a smith does have definite appeal. Especially now that I come to think of Hogarth print in which there is an image of a carpenter pawning his saw.

Re: Truly (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 6 months ago | (#46428435)

All a smith needs is coal, steel or iron, wind, and water. The only tool he would have a hard time building himself would be the anvil, those are usually cast. The forge isn't all that hard to construct (maybe the fan or bellows) and all the other tools are trivial to make.

The only real cost is steel and fuel unless you have your own mine.

I took a blacksmithing workshop in college and one of the things the 74 year old instructor stressed most was that a blacksmith who doesn't make his own tools isn't much of a blacksmith. He taught us how to make all sorts of tools.

Who makes hammers and tongs? The blacksmith. Who writes compilers? Programmers. Maybe I'm getting old but a programmer who can't write a compiler or interpreter isn't much of a programmer (I wrote an interpreter once, years ago).

Re: Truly (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303629)

You are missing the point entirely, and it's a testament to the critical analysis skills of modern /. that you've been modded up

The captain is a competent worker who is perfectly entitled to a slice of the ship, but he rarely has one. Socialism (meant in the original sense, not the corrupted Fox sense) would give an ownership interest to the captain and to all the sailors.

Re:Truly (2)

EvilSS (557649) | about 7 months ago | (#46301933)

Why haven't the workers taken over and socialized the means of production yet? Why is our destiny as a species tied to the whims of a handful of super-wealthy idle parasites?

Because in the end most humans are still greedy chimps at the core. Give us power and we will abuse it, and we will do anything we can to not share it. It's just human nature.

Re:Truly (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 7 months ago | (#46301985)

Why haven't the workers taken over and socialized the means of production yet? Why is our destiny as a species tied to the whims of a handful of super-wealthy idle parasites?

Because in the end most humans are still greedy chimps at the core. Give us power and we will abuse it, and we will do anything we can to not share it. It's just human nature.

Quite true, but shaking up the foundations by having the less well off chimps feed on the corpses of the well to do chimps is good for a stagnant society.

Ultimately centralised power leads to abuse, decentralised power leads to anarchy which results in just as much abuse, just focused at the local level which leaves people wishing to centralise power.

Re:Truly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46302181)

Optimized, decentralized power leads to synergy. Shithead leaders destroy this solid config.

Re:Truly (1)

Bongo (13261) | about 7 months ago | (#46302863)

Educate the chimps, then you can distribute the burden of making decisions. That's why democracy with education on the back of reasoned thinking and questioning, defending free speech, and all that, are needed, so that most people can make a useful contribution to making things work. You could be the most benevolent dictator but simply not have the mind capacity to organise a large nation. It isn't about power for the sake of power and greed. If it was that, who cares if one chimp wins over the rest? Revolt so a different chimp can take over? So what if workers take over the means of production. What happens when an individual then invents something which obsoletes the stuff made at the factory by the workers? Should the workers protect the staus quo? So then that one guy or gal ends up with a lot of wealth because they've just replaced a more expensive to make product with a cheaper alternative. So now his workers have to revolt and take over that new gizmo. Life just doesn't happen in a smooth simple continuously fair way.

Re:Truly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46306249)

Humans actually share characteristics of both the "greedy chimps" and the "loving bonobos", with more of the bonobo than the chimp being present in our genetic makeup. We could never have made it this far as a species without cooperation and solidarity being essential traits to humanity.

Re:Truly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46302007)

> Why is our destiny as a species tied to the whims of a handful of super-wealthy idle parasites?

Stop buying their products and using their services. Oops, takes two to tango.

Re: Truly (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46302093)

Really? REALLY? First, I would hardly call Elon Musk an 'idle parasite'. Second, have you actually worked with the average American worker? You highly exaggerate the capability of the common man, while underestimating the importance of vision and leadership.

Re: Truly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303613)

Idle, no. But Paypal and SpaceX are utterly parasitical. SpaceX is particularly insidious, as it's basically a new Boeing but with cheap first hits - but, when Boeing was young, it actually spearheaded aerospace research, so had an entitlement to reward. SpaceX was only able to start up because the government feels an irrational ideological compulsion to cripple its own aerospace operations and contract out production.

Tesla is like Apple: good at integrating tech and bringing it to the masses, overrated as an innovator, but mostly harmless. It might end up branching out and producing a car useful for the masses, which would actually go some way to dealing with our reliance on oil, or it might just stick with producing toys for the boys. IDK. I still have hope for it, as long as Musk tones down on the arrogance.

As for your unsupported remarks about the "average American worker", the only thing which worries me is the protestant work ethic which makes average Americans willing to work so hard for so little. I am not American, but I have worked in America, and I have only a slightly sorrowful respect for their honest, eager effort.

Re: Truly (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about 7 months ago | (#46304631)

Because the short work week in France and long siesta in Spain is doing wonders for their respective economies. Furthermore, the majority of Americans don't work as hard as everyone seems to believe. You don't know what being overworked is until you've been anywhere in Asia; they just don't complain about it like Americans do.

Re: Truly (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 7 months ago | (#46352499)

Because the short work week in France and long siesta in Spain is doing wonders for their respective economies. Furthermore, the majority of Americans don't work as hard as everyone seems to believe. You don't know what being overworked is until you've been anywhere in Asia; they just don't complain about it like Americans do.

There are different kinds of hard work. Germany is doing well, despite the massive amounts of holiday time they get. Canada's doing pretty well despite the significant number of crown corporations (read: socialized infrastructure). Farmers in the US work hard, but are being edged out. Many in the IT industry in the US are working 60-80hr work weeks (as are many CEOs and other C level employees). When you get beyond that point, you have to make up the losses in quality with quantity of workers -- which is what has traditionally been done in many parts of Asia; but they're trying to change that now, which will undoubtedly result in higher pay and shorter hours if they want to compete (at least for the managers and designers) after taking on board all the lessons learned from watching the West.

Re:Truly (5, Informative)

czert (3156611) | about 7 months ago | (#46302361)

Why haven't the workers taken over and socialized the means of production yet? Why is our destiny as a species tied to the whims of a handful of super-wealthy idle parasites?

They did, in my country. And our destiny as a nation became tied to the whims of a handful of super-powerful idle parasites.

Re: Truly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46302679)

You consider musk an idle parasite?

Re: Truly (1)

Lord Balto (973273) | about 7 months ago | (#46304577)

Of course not. For starters, the guy works 80 hours a week--or at least he said once he's trying to get it DOWN to 80 hours a week. The man is far from a parasite. Not that there aren't CEOs who are parasites, but Musk is clearly not one of them.

Tesla is about cars, not Apples (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303531)

Tesla is about cars, American cars, going fast and feeling good, you know vrooom vrooom. Heck, even saving gas these days and being non-Detroit is fine. But I sure as heck don't need any more closed source digital crap in my life, let alone spying on it and trying to siphon off more of my dollars at every turn. Screw that, Apple can stay the FUCK out of my car.

Re:Tesla is about cars, not Apples (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 7 months ago | (#46352553)

Do Tesla cars actually have a digital vroom vroom? Because they sure don't have a mechanical one.

And as for the digital crap: Tesla cars are already fully digital, with OTA firmware updates. They also fully track where you go and what you do (to Tesla, not the car owner), as some of the early /. articles on the Model-S pointed out while attempting to prove another point.

So do you want Apple's closed source spying on you, or Musk's closed source? Or some open source, for that matter...?

Look at what Tesla is doing: the first X amount of power is free -- but they've got so many hooks into how the car runs that they can enable/disable features remotely and know more about how/when/where you drive than you do yourself. Remember that Musk is of PayPal fame -- it's really a very similar business model, just with cars instead of payments. Expect the maturation process to run along similar lines.

Re:Truly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46306375)

Even if I don't really consider Musk specifically very idle, I would certainly agree. We are still tied to the capitalist mode of production where it is the few who own the means of production and the majority who has to do the actual work in order to enrich these few individuals. It's a matter of democracy really, if we really want to democracy then a burgeouis "democracy" cannot be the endpoint, simply because it does not adequately represent the people. Those truly in power are those who own the means of production, and until the people truly controls the means of production, we cannot claim to have democracy. Working hard and earning money is perfectly fine, but there's simply no way for any individuals to work so hard that they themselves would be entitled to such a large swath of the wealth in the world. Consider that the 85 most wealthy individuals own as much as the 3.5 *billion* poorest people in the world [1]. This is not wealth obtained from hard work, this is wealth obtained through ruthless exploitation of the working class, worldwide.

[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/la... [forbes.com]

Just heard this news. Hey guys (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46301865)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details, except they found Slashdot Beta open on his computer screen nearby. I'm sure everyone in the Slashington audience will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

False (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46302121)

Hoax

Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46302795)

Meme

Apple rent part of Tesla's factory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46301975)

Maybe Apple will rent part of Tesla's factory, at least for a few years. Until Tesla makes enough cars to use the whole factory, they might appreciate the revenue of renting part of it to Apple. And Apple might want to manufacture some more devices in the US, without having to get as many permits as if they owned the factory.

I guess Apple would have less paperwork, environmental impact reports, etc. if they use a factory that already exists, than if they build a new factory. Does anyone know if that's true?

Re:Apple rent part of Tesla's factory? (2)

redback (15527) | about 7 months ago | (#46302171)

It's more likely that if Apple was going to design a car, they would get just get Tesla to build it for them.

Re:Apple rent part of Tesla's factory? (1, Flamebait)

joaommp (685612) | about 7 months ago | (#46302597)

If Apple starts putting cars on the roads, I'll get out of them. I'll take my chances with the subway.

Re:Apple rent part of Tesla's factory? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303089)

Why, because they'd do a worse job than most of the rusted out shitboxes that currently travel the highways?

Or are we in Slashdot Libertarian Fantasy Land where safety regulations no longer exist?

Re:Apple rent part of Tesla's factory? (1)

Lord Balto (973273) | about 7 months ago | (#46304599)

I think you dropped a negative there some place.

Re:Apple rent part of Tesla's factory? (2)

spd_rcr (537511) | about 7 months ago | (#46303923)

I would bet that Tesla is looking to sell their cars in Apple stores, much like Nest did with their fancy thermostats. Apple has the infrastructure in place to get broad coverage to the right demographic for Tesla.
This would really make sense with Tesla's stated expansion into selling in China. it could also provide a non-direct-sales/dealership-network like the old school car makers are suing Tesla to adopt.
I'm guessing if it happens, there'll also be an ipad replacing the regular big display in the center console.

The right demographic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46307793)

You mean people with too much money and not enough intelligence to manage it well?

Well ... (2, Interesting)

the bluebrain (443451) | about 7 months ago | (#46301977)

... he's about the only person alive who could be a believable successor to Steve Jobs. So he's got that going for him :)

Dissimilar markets (-1, Flamebait)

Powercntrl (458442) | about 7 months ago | (#46302041)

Apple's products are affordable to a family making an average middle class budget. The fact that anyone considers Apple to be a high-end manufacturer with products that are a status symbol is just clever marketing. It's not uncommon to go to Walmart (yeah, those of us who didn't make a fortune on Bitcoins still need to eat), and see someone paying with EBT [wikipedia.org] while texting/yapping away on an iPhone. On the other hand, a Tesla model S is 1/3rd to 1/4th the cost of the average American home and about equally as expensive as a low-end manufactured home.

Tesla's cars actually are just a status symbol. They're truly only affordable to people who otherwise would have no trouble buying gasoline and want the warm fuzzy feeling (or the arrogant smugness) that comes from knowing your car is running on 32% [google.com] less fossil fuel than everyone else's 100% dinosaur burners.

Also, per percentage of fires per number of units sold, Apple's products are significantly less likely to spontaneously catch fire. Hey don't flame me, it's actually true.

Re:Dissimilar markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46302111)

Tesla's cars actually are just a status symbol. They're truly only affordable to people who otherwise would have no trouble buying gasoline and want the warm fuzzy feeling (or the arrogant smugness) that comes from knowing your car is running on less fossil fuel than everyone else's 100% dinosaur burners.

Or, maybe they want to help usher in the electric car era by:
- helping Telsa make a *profit* so that economies of scale eventually make the cars more affordable;
- showing jealous luddites (looking at YOU) that the cars are practical

Re:Dissimilar markets (2)

GrahamCox (741991) | about 7 months ago | (#46302137)

Electric cars are not yet a mature product. Just as computers weren't back in the early 1980s, when they either cost a fortune and didn't do much, or cost less and did much less. Electric cars are at that stage now, but whereas some people will be content to sit back and wait for it to mature, then jump on the bandwagon, others will be in the right place at the right time with the money and the vision to be the one to take it from expensive luxury that doesn't do much (in this case, range) to a mature product. Someone has to do it. Tesla are doing it on their own, they almost failed before they got a big injection of cash from investors and the govt., but even better would be for a company like Apple to back them financially while giving them a free rein. If not Apple, then someone else - if GM or Ford had any sense they'd be doing it, but they don't have the vision or the money, and they're to entrenched in the old world.

Re:Dissimilar markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46302199)

Yup. Look at all the gluten free places that are popping up! Those of us with Celiac disease are fucked because of the prices currently but there is a market starting to pop up now that a lot of people are becoming aware that they have it. Therefore the prices will go down do to demand.

I'm looking forward to being able to afford to not feel miserable all the time one day.

Re:Dissimilar markets (3, Insightful)

Powercntrl (458442) | about 7 months ago | (#46302241)

Electric cars are not yet a mature product. Just as computers weren't back in the early 1980s, when they either cost a fortune and didn't do much, or cost less and did much less. Electric cars are at that stage now, but whereas some people will be content to sit back and wait for it to mature, then jump on the bandwagon, others will be in the right place at the right time with the money and the vision to be the one to take it from expensive luxury that doesn't do much (in this case, range) to a mature product.

Unlike personal computing, cell phones or flat panel televisions, electric cars are not a new technology. They have been around in one form or another, since the 1880s [wikipedia.org] . Vehicle body construction and electric motor design are both very well understood disciplines, as most advances in these areas had significant applications outside their use in electric cars.

The technological limitation that's holding back electric cars has always been a lack of energy density in the batteries. Fixing that would be a holy grail for a number of different industries (imagine a smartphone that can last an entire week of heavy usage before needing to be recharged). Now, maybe it would be admirable if Tesla was fleecing the rich and dumping all the money back into battery R&D - but they're not. Elon has even said they're not much interested in pursuing fuel cell technology. They're buying off-the-shelf batteries from the same suppliers that build batteries for the rest of the portable electronics industry. Since batteries are a resource intensive product (they're made from commodity materials that must be mined and processed), there is always going to be a fixed cost associated with their production. Here's a free hint: more electric cars being sold will only put more demand on battery manufacturers, and I don't have to explain how supply and demand works.

Re:Dissimilar markets (3, Informative)

DragonWyatt (62035) | about 7 months ago | (#46302473)

They're buying off-the-shelf batteries from the same suppliers that build batteries for the rest of the portable electronics industry. Since batteries are a resource intensive product (they're made from commodity materials that must be mined and processed), there is always going to be a fixed cost associated with their production. Here's a free hint: more electric cars being sold will only put more demand on battery manufacturers, and I don't have to explain how supply and demand works.

You are dead-on with with the reflection on the maturity of electric vehicles. They've been around a LONG time.

But regarding battery manufacturing, you may have missed the recent news about Tesla's plans for building the world's largest battery factory this year - it seems that Musk has anticipated your concern:
http://gigaom.com/2014/02/19/t... [gigaom.com]

Re:Dissimilar markets (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 7 months ago | (#46302649)

Also that the resources required to build batteries are hardly fully developed. You can build a new mine and plan for the price of the commodity to drop if you expect to make it up in volume - to date though, that hasn't really been true of the battery market.

Re:Dissimilar markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303145)

Because building a factory magically makes the world's Lithium production increase without new mineral exploration or mining capacity?

Re:Dissimilar markets (3, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | about 7 months ago | (#46302723)

Unlike personal computing, cell phones or flat panel televisions, electric cars are not a new technology. They have been around in one form or another, since the 1880s. (...) The technological limitation that's holding back electric cars has always been a lack of energy density in the batteries.

Sure, but the power grid was extremely different back then. If you had it - which by far most didn't - it was barely good enough to power light bulbs, not cars. Sure you could wire up a bunch of car batteries, drive it a little while but then it'd take a month to recharge. Between stoves, refridgerators, dish washers, washing machines, computers, TVs, power tools and whatnot it's only recently come to a point where in-home charging of a car is feasible. Even now they're suffering from growth pains just like the Internet adapted to Napster and YouTube, but they will pass. The other things is that there was no public charging grid, even if you got yourself an industrial size electric connection at home you'd be stuck in your little range circle. And unlike at home were you can reasonably be expected to let it charge overnight, on the road chargers must be much faster and stronger.

Tesla's superchargers do 120 kW/car (here in Norway, I understand slightly lower in the US at the moment) and by their nature you want them in the middle of "nowhere" between cities. I don't know their total capacity - probably some oversubscription - but again I think it's something that only in very recent times has become feasible. Not to mention the rapid charging technology itself is very much state of the art. In short, even if we can't make miracles on density we are making huge advances in distribution and delivery. And as EVs become more popular, the grid will become more fine masked.

I think there's really four ranges to an EV:
1. Round-trip range - just charge at home, drive around and plug in when you get back home. No fuss, can use any parking spot.
2. One-way range - if you have a charger at the office or cabin or shopping center parking lot or whereever you're going.
3. Range with charging(s) - hopefully not too many snack breaks.
4. You just can't do it. Go rent an ICE.

If you break it down to percentages, most people's commutes and general shopping are in the first one. I know the Tesla has pushed interest in getting more power to cabins - not the "deep in the forest/mountains" cabin but the beachhouse and alpine skiing cabin that are in populated areas with a decent power grid. The third one is the one with most advances, it's not pretty or easy but you can do it the 1% of the time you need to. Really, if you can get rid of #4 and fulfill the 90%+ of driving inside #1 it's a winner. And they are making a lot of progress on shifting #4 into #3 through chargers, I mean it wouldn't be my first choice but that you can drive a Tesla coast to coast means you don't have to get an ICE.

Re:Dissimilar markets (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 months ago | (#46302777)

Electric cars are not yet a mature product.

Unlike personal computing, cell phones or flat panel televisions, electric cars are not a new technology. They have been around in one form or another, since the 1880s.

Yes, and they have been a niche technology since ICEs won out in the early 1900s, and that's why they're not as mature.

Re:Dissimilar markets (1)

Alomex (148003) | about 7 months ago | (#46303155)

Here's a free hint: more electric cars being sold will only put more demand on battery manufacturers, and I don't have to explain how supply and demand works.

No need to explain. We get it: larger demand will lead to economies of scale and mass production so prices will drop massively, like they've done for solar cells.

Thanks for reminding us of that.

Re:Dissimilar markets (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 7 months ago | (#46306199)

The technological limitation that's holding back electric cars has always been a lack of energy density in the batteries.

Except that even the smallest electric cars already have a range WAY over the average commute.

Re:Dissimilar markets (1)

AaronW (33736) | about 7 months ago | (#46308931)

They are not buying off-the shelf batteries. They use an off-the-shelf form factor but that's about it. They use their own chemistry which is different than all of the other electric vehicles in that it has significantly higher energy density and a lower cost. Even the 16550 cells they use are customized in a number of ways to reduce cost. Panasonic is manufacturing the cells, but the IP is owned by Tesla and they can just as easily go to other manufacturers.

As for battery cost, they gain due to economies of scale. They are looking to build a new "giga factory" for batteries with other partners to further reduce the cost. Since they will be one of the major investors in that it will help them reduce cost further.

Tesla also has a huge amount of R&D in their battery management. The other manufacturers are using a more stable chemistry but it is more expensive and has a much lower energy density. Tesla's battery management addresses it so they get good reliability out of their packs and high energy density while keeping cost under control. That is also why they are selling battery packs to Toyota and Daimler. Tesla also has a lot of R&D in the electric motor which they manufacture themselves as well as the drive electronics. In fact, Tesla manufactures more if its own parts than just about any other automobile manufacturer including things like aluminum casting and injection molding.

Re:Dissimilar markets (1)

ahem (174666) | about 7 months ago | (#46302141)

Also, per percentage of fires per number of units sold, Apple's products are significantly less likely to spontaneously catch fire. Hey don't flame me, it's actually true.

Although there is a difference between a product warning you to pull over and get out versus just exploding on your lap.

Re:Dissimilar markets (1)

Powercntrl (458442) | about 7 months ago | (#46302259)

Although there is a difference between a product warning you to pull over and get out versus just exploding on your lap.

Maybe they're just saving fire warnings for iOS 8.

Re:Dissimilar markets (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about 7 months ago | (#46304247)

You can buy an iphone at walmart [walmart.com] but they are pricey compared to an android.

The thing I found amusing was it sounded like Musk was denying he intended to buy out Apple. {I would have expected that to go the other way}

Musk framed an acquisition as 'very unlikely,' mostly because it would distract Tesla from its goal of building an affordable electric car

Integration is in progress now (2)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 7 months ago | (#46302049)

The 2014 Honda Civic I have heard can interface with a phone via an HDMI cable. Full blown interfaces are inevitable, probably in less than 5 years.

The selling point of integration via HDMI is that vehicles no longer need to have their own navigation systems (which is extra equipment and rather pointless in the smartphone era) and instead uses the phone navigation app.

[Shorter version: Apple acquiring Tesla would be stupid for both companies. Tesla shouldn't exclude Android, Apple doesn't have an interest in the auto market --- and standard interfaces will be expected in the near future ... ]

Re:Integration is in progress now (0)

mjwx (966435) | about 7 months ago | (#46302357)

The 2014 Honda Civic I have heard can interface with a phone via an HDMI cable. Full blown interfaces are inevitable, probably in less than 5 years.

The selling point of integration via HDMI is that vehicles no longer need to have their own navigation systems (which is extra equipment and rather pointless in the smartphone era) and instead uses the phone navigation app.

[Shorter version: Apple acquiring Tesla would be stupid for both companies. Tesla shouldn't exclude Android, Apple doesn't have an interest in the auto market --- and standard interfaces will be expected in the near future ... ]

Apple has a very big interest in the auto market. they've been trying to push IOS onto in car entertainment systems for well over a year now. However the new systems seem to be floundering with consumers who find them annoying and counter-intuitive.

There is no reason Musk should sell Tesla to Apple though. Apple would just sink it, there's too much competition for Apple to survive with every man and his dog now releasing hybrids and full blown EV's. Tesla needs to remain at the forefront of EV tech to remain relevant and Apple just cant do that.

[and standard interfaces will be expected in the near future ... ]

Chortle, chortle.

A standard car infotainment interface or protocol wont be introduced unless its mandated by law. Even then they'll find ways to skirt it. OBDII (On Board Diagnostics) was mandated in the 90's, sure every car now comes with an OBDII port but you still often need manufacturer specific tools and/or software to make sense of some of the data and to make changes.

Japanese manufacturers like Honda and Toyota are big on standards, that's why you've got HDMI in the 2014 Civic... But American and European manufacturers (BMW, Ford, GM, Mercedes) are fervently against it.

Re:Integration is in progress now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303739)

Please point out a shipping automobile that actually has iOS in the car.

Until you can do that, do not spread FUD about consumers that "find them annoying and counter-intuitive" as there are exactly ZERO production examples for a consumer to find annoying and counter-intuitive.

Re:Integration is in progress now (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 7 months ago | (#46304907)

He never said that. He was referring to the various touch-screen interfaces found in many cars today, such as MyFordTouch/MyLinconTouch, BMW's iDrive, etc. These systems are terrible as they're buggy and don't have any tactile feedback (unless they have knobs for the commonly-used functions; some systems do this, some don't). iOS systems wouldn't be any different; they'd just be a different OS underneath, but the UI problems would all remain.

Re:Integration is in progress now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46306139)

You're only guessing the UI problems remain. I think it's a pretty poor guess too since Apple or Google know a lot more about touchscreen UIs than Ford or BMW.

Re:Integration is in progress now (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 7 months ago | (#46307713)

It doesn't matter. If there's no tactile feedback. the UI is going to be poor in a car. How do you turn the turn down the volume or adjust the temperature on a touchscreen without looking at it? You don't.

Re:Integration is in progress now (1)

AaronW (33736) | about 7 months ago | (#46308967)

I doubt it would go anywhere with Apple. Tesla uses embedded Linux with the Qt toolkit for their touch screen, which is quite fast and responsive using an nVidia Tegra 3 processor. The touch screen has been quite reliable in my experience with it over the past year and Qt was an excellent choice for them. They have an open-source OS and full source code over all of their libraries. Tesla has shown that they're not afraid to write their own software, after all they wrote their own :a href="http://it.slashdot.org/story/13/11/04/1722226/how-elon-musk-approaches-it-at-tesla">SAP replacement themselves.

They have a number of ex-Apple engineers and have a quite good user interface which is simple and intuitive designed around people who are driving, not for people sitting stationary with a phone or tablet. The fact that it displays two applications at the same time totally contradicts how iOS or even Android work.

I can have something full screen or half screen. I usually put the GPS on top and the media or rear camera on the bottom.

Why HDMI and not wireless? (2)

swb (14022) | about 7 months ago | (#46302927)

Wireless mirroring is already a feature of iOS devices and AFAICT it can be done with Android too. This would be less cumbersome than HDMI cabling and avoid a clunky connector and adapter (at least for iOS phones).

There's only two pieces missing from it -- remote touch, so you can use the car's built-in dash screen for control and display fitting, so the phone's display is formatted to fit the car screen's aspect ratio.

The latter may be more complicated given the way apps seem to be written for iOS in regard to screen size (eg, updates to support iPhone 5, 1x/2x mode on iPad). The easiest 'fix' would seem to be a car display close in aspect ratio to iPhone (just larger to make it driver-friendly).

Remote touch doesn't seem like it would be that hard to add, and for all I know its baked into mirroring, just not enabled. You could even disable display the keyboard or video playback as long as the vehicle is in motion (my Volvo does something similar with its in-built menu system; most of it is unavailable when the car is in motion).

The phone display could just be another tab/view of the car's in-dash display which could then dispense with navigation apps and everything else that doesn't involve the controlling the car's components like HVAC or built-in radio.

Re:Why HDMI and not wireless? (1)

ozgood (873183) | about 7 months ago | (#46303567)

Miracast on Android. I have started to see double din touch screens that just mirror your smart phones screen. Full touch too. This should be the next standard for all mobile phones.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46302413)

Tesla would want to take over Apple why, exactly? What has Apple done that was interesting, lately?

Of course, I hear Facebook has paid out heavily for a random new crowd/media company, so. Dot.com bubble 2.0?

Can't wait for the iTesla (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46302489)

Oh man, I can't wait for the iTesla. The whole exterior will be made out of smooth black glass; hell, the interior too. You'll only be able to download power from the iVolts store and the power won't be compatible with any other electronic device. It'll cost twice as much as a regular Tesla, but the interface is soooo much better. You just swipe the dashboard to make it go, press the button to make it stop and swipe left or right to steer. Who needs all those stupid buttons and wheels and crap? Plus, Apple will be able to patent the rounded tire, which will keep all those plebian imitators like Ford and BMW from usng rounded tires when we know Jobs innovated them.

Re:Can't wait for the iTesla (1)

joaommp (685612) | about 7 months ago | (#46302609)

Just awesome. Robin Williams, is that you?

Re:Can't wait for the iTesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303381)

This comment was brilliant, perfect amount of non-sensical yet realistic sarcasm to make me laugh :) I too long for a car made completely out of glass, the plus side to this is a car will never fall and break since it's already on the ground!

Dealerships (2)

jpatters (883) | about 7 months ago | (#46302605)

I know Tesla doesn't want to have dealerships, but what if the talks had to do with some Apple Stores also becoming Tesla dealerships, at least in the states that are giving Tesla legal woes over selling directly to consumers?

Re:Dealerships (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46302971)

I really hope not. Any such deal would require Tesla to implement iPod support in their cars, which I definitely don't want. There are open standards for that kind of thing, the last thing we need is a proprietary protocol and connector wasting space and precluding the inclusion of support for other devices (because Apple don't like compatible devices to be compatible with anything else).

Re:Dealerships (1)

swb (14022) | about 7 months ago | (#46303885)

Haven't most cars switched the bluetooth versus hardwired cabling connectors?

I've only used two rentals with bluetooth and music with my iphone was pretty seamless.

Re:Dealerships (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46304207)

A wired connection is needed to browse the iTunes library on the iPod/iPhone, a feature Apple will insist on.

Re:Dealerships (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46305017)

You're complaining about Apple for hypothetical future scenarios?

Re:Dealerships (1)

immaterial (1520413) | about 7 months ago | (#46306673)

iOS supports the AVRCP 1.4 bluetooth standard, which makes it possible to browse the music library over bluetooth.

Re:Dealerships (1)

jxander (2605655) | about 7 months ago | (#46304229)

Seamless, so long as you only want to play the music actually stored on the phone.

If you want to stream music through Pandora, Spotify, etc using your phone and Blue Tooth it over the car speakers ... well good luck. I rent cars fairly frequently (about 2 weeks/month) and run about 50/50 chance of that actually working. I've switched back to using an aux cable the majority of the time.

Re:Dealerships (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303925)

Tesla absolutely wants to have dealerships ... Only owned by them and not independent.

Re:Dealerships (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 7 months ago | (#46304967)

Which would be a good thing, really. Independent dealerships suck; they're called "stealerships" for a reason. They have a highly adversarial relationship with the manufacturers, and make a lot of money by screwing over customers with overpriced parts and repairs. If manufacturers sold directly to consumers, the prices would be lower (no middleman) and a lot of problems like unnecessary repairs would disappear, as a large corporation like Ford wouldn't want their reputation to be tainted that way. When you get screwed over at Jones Honda, you don't blame Honda, you blame the Jones dealership for your bad experience. But if the dealerships were all owned by Honda, this wouldn't happen; you'd blame Honda itself, and disparage them all over the internet. Just like Apple exercises a lot of control over how its individual stores are run, manufacturer-owned car stores would be the same, with corporations trying to make the experience as pleasant and consistent as possible. As for competition, there's no shortage of car manufacturers, so if you don't like the experience you get at a Ford or Honda store, you'd go instead to a GM, Suburu, Toyota, Tesla, VW, etc. store.

The present car dealership business structure is entirely a product of local-level corruption, with rich auto dealership owners bribing local and state officials for laws which require automakers to solely sell cars through these dealerships, rather than directly, justifying it with a lot of Newspeak about it somehow being better for consumers.

Re:Dealerships (1)

AaronW (33736) | about 7 months ago | (#46308995)

I think their idea of showrooms is actually better. The employees do not earn a commission and service is totally separate. They are there to show the car and answer questions. If you want to buy the car you go online (though in Texas they are not allowed to tell people this). Their stated goal for service is to not make a profit, which is the opposite of how most dealerships work.

I've walked into their showroom at a mall and the general public walks in to take a look and asks questions, something that you wouldn't see at dealerships where only people shopping for a car would go to them. There is no pressure to buy. Similarly with service there is no pressure to get unneeded services done.

do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46302677)

He did suggest, however, that Apple's iOS and Google Android could find their respective ways into Tesla's in-vehicle software.

Do not want!
I don't want to be forced to jailbreak my car in order to do with it what I please.

hello every body (2)

mohsen123 (3546739) | about 7 months ago | (#46303085)

hello every body

get in line (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303119)

Buy your iTesla today!

Re:get in line (0)

alphatel (1450715) | about 7 months ago | (#46303249)

Buy your iTesla today!

The way things are going, there might be a TeslaPad first.

I could see Apple or Google wanting Tesla (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 months ago | (#46303123)

Both Google and Apple are swimming in money that they just can not seem to find a good way to spend. Google really seems to hate the idea of becoming a hardware company but Apple is all about hardware. I could see a Tesla with Apple IOS for the infotainment system being a huge hit. Google and their love of self driving cars could be a fit. Imagine a self driving Tesla? Right now both Apple and Google are trying to decide "what next".

Never will happen (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 7 months ago | (#46304189)

Both Google and Apple are swimming in money that they just can not seem to find a good way to spend.

Very true but they aren't going to change industries altogether. Apple is going to remain in consumer electronics and Google is going to remain in advertising. Getting into the auto business would be very foolish of them since they have no particular expertise to bring to the table there. Google is doing some interesting research projects with cars but that's a very far cry from producing real products they sell to retail customers. Furthermore if they buy Tesla they likely are limiting their ability to sell to any other auto maker (GM, Ford etc) and that is likely to be a MUCH bigger market.

Google really seems to hate the idea of becoming a hardware company but Apple is all about hardware.

This is somewhat of a myth. Yes Apple works hard on making some very nice hardware and they do have some real expertise but at their core Apple is a software company [youtube.com] . There really is very little difference on the inside between a Mac and a Dell. Put Windows on a Mac and you'd be hard pressed to tell who made the computer unless you looked at the box. Same with the iPhone, the underlying electronics aren't much different than their competitors. Same with the iPad. Furthermore Apple designs the hardware but they don't make it and have outsourced most of what manufacturing expertise they once possessed to specialist companies.

Apple makes money by selling a bunch of software that they tie to their own hardware. NOBODY would pay a premium for a Mac that ran Windows only, no matter how nice the box. So what that really means is that people are buying the software. What sets Apple products apart (for better or worse) is their software. Apple just realizes that the best channel to sell their software is by bundling it with hardware they design and control. This costs them market share but so far has brought them tremendous profits.

Re:Never will happen (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 7 months ago | (#46304977)

Getting into the auto business would be very foolish of them since they have no particular expertise to bring to the table there.

I entirely agree, but when has this stopped other companies from making foolish acquisitions?

Re:Never will happen (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 7 months ago | (#46305357)

I entirely agree, but when has this stopped other companies from making foolish acquisitions?

Neither Google nor Apple (especially Apple) has a history of making silly acquisitions. I'm not overly worried they are going to start now. Of the two, Google has made the riskier moves of the two so if either of them was going to buy something stupid I'd bet on Google to do it.

Re:Never will happen (2)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 7 months ago | (#46306133)

Very true but they aren't going to change industries altogether.

Apple didn't change the phone business? The carriers (e.g. AT&T) used to say exactly what was on the phone and how the network was used. Now, at least to a large degree (of course there are still agreements and limitations), the maker of the phone itself says what's on the phone and all apps can use the network, etc.

Cars are not computers (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 7 months ago | (#46318209)

Apple didn't change the phone business?

Apple brought computers to the phone business and computers were a business Apple was already in and already understood very well. Phones are basically computers and Apple brought this fact front and center. Despite the fact that they are increasingly digital, automobiles are not computers and there is a vast amount of engineering expertise in them that is WAY outside Apple's wheelhouse. (suspensions, motors, etc) I suppose nothing is impossible but I really can't see Apple getting into the car business if for no other reason than profit margin. The most profitable auto manufacturers have net margins around 8-10%. Apple's net margins are north of 25%. If Tim Cook got into a low margin business like cars he'd be out of his job probably faster than you could say "shareholder lawsuit".

Re:Never will happen (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 7 months ago | (#46306159)

NOBODY would pay a premium for a Mac that ran Windows only, no matter how nice the box.

It's obviously anecdotal, and I can't even provide a citation, but I sure remember reading people say they did exactly this... I thought it was even here on Slashdot. Bought a MacBook, wiped it, and ran only Windows on it.

Exception that proves the rule (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 7 months ago | (#46318231)

It's obviously anecdotal, and I can't even provide a citation, but I sure remember reading people say they did exactly this... I thought it was even here on Slashdot. Bought a MacBook, wiped it, and ran only Windows on it.

That's pretty much the definition of the exception that proves the rule. If Apple were dumb enough to sell Macs with Windows, there would be essentially zero reason to buy a Mac. A Mac is OS X. Apple is fundamentally a software company that sells their software in some custom hardware.

Re:Never will happen (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 months ago | (#46306939)

Apple went from a computer company to a mobile phone company and media company. Google is also into a lot of markets now as well. It makes more sense than you might think. GE was a company that made electrical products to one that makes just about everything including jet engines. GM, Ford, and Chrysler where all very diversified at one point. The Redstone rocket that launched Alan Shepard was built by Chrysler, The engines that powered the P-38 lightning was made by GM and GM made jet engines, Ford Aerospace built Mission control for NASA. Rolls Royce doesn't even make cars anymore, just jet engines. The Rolls Royce car is made by BMW. If you have a pile of cash it makes sense to diversify so not all your eggs are in one basket.

Diversification isn't always a good idea (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 7 months ago | (#46318471)

Apple went from a computer company to a mobile phone company and media company.

Apple went from a computer focused consumer electronics company to a more general consumer electronics company. Phones, tablets, MP3 players, digital music and personal computers are all just different forms of consumer electronics. Apple's real expertise is in the software that goes into these devices. Love them or hate them, their software is what keeps people buying from Apple as opposed to Dell or Sony. It's what really differentiates their products.

The problem Apple (and Google) are running into is the law of big numbers. For Apple to grow by around 8% next year they will have to create enough new revenue equal to a company the size of eBay. That is hard to do and the number of products they can make or buy that will move the needle that much is pretty small. Even if they were to buy Telsa, Tesla's revenues are a rounding error to Apple (about $2 billion with basically zero profit versus $170 billion with $37 billion in profit) even if you ignore the fact that Tesla's stock is absurdly overpriced right now. Buying Tesla even for a fair price does not appear to make any financial or strategic sense for either company.

Google is also into a lot of markets now as well.

Google dabbles in a lot of stuff but their business is advertising and that accounts for virtually all their revenue. Almost all these other things they dabble in are to support the advertising engine. Google built Android as a defensive play so that they wouldn't be beholden to Apple or Microsoft or Nokia or Samsung for advertising revenue. Google does not and probably never will make a lot of money on Android directly. Google got into maps and email and most of the other things they are dealing with to keep their lead in information so that they would be the go to source for search and thus advertising. They're putting money into some stuff that is speculative like robots and self driving cars but these do not appear to be serious efforts at diversification. If Google wants to diversify away from advertising they haven't done anything yet that will substantially accomplish that.

GE was a company that made electrical products to one that makes just about everything including jet engines.

GE is a conglomerate. There are very very few successful big conglomerates. I can only think of a few off hand worthy of the name. (GE, Berkshire Hathaway, Siemens, Tyco, and a few others) It's obscenely difficult to manage companies that are in wildly different industries. However, GE is really in just a few businesses when you look at them big picture. Manufacturing, financial products, infrastructure and consumer products. Most of what they do falls under one of those headings. If it doesn't or if they aren't the market leader, they sell the business to someone else. It's not easy to successfully turn a company that isn't a conglomerate into one that is. The management skill sets required are very different. Just because you are good ad managing a tech company doesn't mean you will be any good at finance or auto manufacturing.

GM, Ford, and Chrysler where all very diversified at one point.

And now they are not. What does that tell you? They tried to be diversified back in the middle of the 20th century when conglomerates were kind of the in thing to do. This eventually proved to be a bad idea for most companies that tried. Diversification is a two edged sword and while it might protect against industry specific cycles, it doesn't (usuallly) protect against macroeconomic cycles. Furthermore diversification often has the effect of distracting management. Most successful conglomerates (like GE or Berkshire Hathaway) basically run the businesses they own as standalone businesses and focus on capital allocation.

Re:Diversification isn't always a good idea (1)

TClevenger (252206) | about 7 months ago | (#46380189)

Love them or hate them, their software is what keeps people buying from Apple as opposed to Dell or Sony.

Actually, the EULA for their software is what keeps people buying from Apple. If they sold their OS for use on commodity hardware instead of tying it to Apple hardware, it would see a lot more market share.

Affordable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303799)

I'm sorry, could someone define "affordable"? Starting in the mid-60's is nowhere near affordable, and unless Tesla's plan include slashing that to 1/3 of the price, I don't see anyone calling it affordable.

Yes, affordable (1)

toruonu (1696670) | about 7 months ago | (#46304547)

That's precisely what Tesla is planning to do. Slice the price at least to half in the Gen-III car (Model E) and then further in the Gen-IV car. Gen-III is 3-4 years out, Gen-IV probably 3-4 after that. Price goal for Model E is ~30-35k$ and with savings from gasoline and service should be equivalent to 20-25k$ cars in total cost of ownership.

It's the batteries, stupid. (3, Insightful)

Pliny (12671) | about 7 months ago | (#46304983)

If nothing else, both companies desperately need better battery technology. Could be they were talking about swapping patents or joint R&D.

Except... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46307825)

...Apple doesn't actually make hardware. They design pretty cases and stuff hardware designed by other companies in to it and then add their own fascist operating system to ensure complete compliance with their vision.

Re:Except... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46427233)

They design their hardware though. Remember the acquisition of PA Semiconductor. I think Apple is willing to consider owning a stake in factories that make parts they need. They certainly are willing to pay other companies considerable sums to change their manufacturing processes to meet their requirements.

A buyout is unlikely... halfsies on battery plant? (1)

WoTG (610710) | about 7 months ago | (#46307657)

Nice rumour mongering on this one. I'll suggest it's battery related. It's no secret that Tesla is planning the worlds largest LiON cell plant. They're planning on being the largest user of LiON cells on the planet... I'm guessing that Apple is right up there too. Tesla will need partners... some with cash, some with tech. Apple fits the cash bill...

Batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46319621)

Both Tesla and Apple make extensive use of lithium ion batteries. The most logical scenario would be for the two companies to discuss a joint effort to enter into an R&D contract to develop longer-lived batteries and a quicker charging mechanism. Apple's problem is that their equipment burns through batteries quickly, while Tesla's vehicles are limited by the range of the batteries. Both have significant need for longer lived batteries and so it would make sense that they might enter into a joint venture to produce longer lasting, higher capacity batteries without adding weight to the end product.

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