Elon Musk stopped and looked down as he spoke at a press conference at SpaceX’s Starbase facility near Boca Chica Village in South Texas on February 10, 2022.
jim watson | AFP | Getty Images
In a particular event year for Elon Musk, it has been a very difficult week.
Tesla stock, which has lost nearly half of its value since rising in November, fell more than 6% last week as investors continued to sell their tech holdings.
There are internal issues at Tesla that don’t help. This week, they linked safety issues to the company’s advanced driver assistance systems.
Musk’s other major company, SpaceX, fired a group of employees who circulated an internal letter that allegedly slammed the CEO and founder as a “disruption and annoyance.” Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration on Monday gave SpaceX’s Starship rocket program a long list of things to do before it can receive a launch license in Boca Chica, Texas.
Then there’s Twitter. Musk agreed to buy the social media company for $ 44 billion in April, but has since discarded it publicly, raising all sorts of concerns about the deal going through. On Thursday, Musk spoke to Twitter employees for the first time in a widely circulated video address, based on posts that appeared on the internal message board.
Here’s what happened in the town of Musk this week.
Problematic driver assistance accident data
The NTSB released this photo of a 2021 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor electric car involved in a fatal crash near Miami that killed two people on September 13, 2021.
Tesla has raised prices for car models in the US
Tesla Model 3
Courtesy of Tesla
When Musk announced plans in June to cut 10% of Tesla’s workforce, the CEO said he had a “very bad feeling” about the economy. For consumers, these concerns turn into sticker shock.
Tesla raised prices for all car models in the United States this week as the car industry continues to grapple with supply chain issues, inflation and economic uncertainty.
The company raised the price of its long-range version of the Model Y from $ 62,990 to $ 65,990 and increased the performance model by $ 2,000 to $ 69,990, according to its website. Electrek said the price of the Model S dual-motor all-wheel drive has risen by approximately $ 5,000 to $ 104,990. The Model X Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive Long Range rose $ 6,000.
Tesla has previously delayed delivery of some of its long-range models to the United States by up to a month.
The FAA says the SpaceX Starship program needs tweaks
The FAA on Monday made an environmental decision that resulted in a mix of good and bad news for Musk’s SpaceX and the company’s massive Starship rocket built in Texas.
The regulator has released a list of more than 75 environmental mitigation measures that the company must complete before it can proceed with Starship flight testing. Requirements include limits on noise levels and how often SpaceX can close the public road near the facility.
After the FAA decision, Musk said the company will have a “ready-to-fly” Starship rocket prototype in July. The company aims to reach orbit using the vehicle for the first time. But that first requires a launch license from the FAA, and the simplifications required by the regulator represent a significant increase before the company can apply for one.
The good news for SpaceX is that the FAA has completed its assessment and no longer needs further review.
SpaceX employees were embarrassed by Musk
Musk’s plan to buy Twitter worries policy makers around the world.
Joe Skipper | Reuters
An anonymous number of SpaceX employees wrote and internally circulated a letter criticizing Musk and his public conduct, describing him as “a frequent source of disruption and embarrassment,” according to media reports. CNBC reported Friday that at least five employees involved in the letter were fired as a result.
SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell, in a company -wide email obtained by CNBC, claimed the letter and process for soliciting signatories were “angry with many” employees, who she said felt “uncomfortable , scared and frightened “.
“We have too much critical work to do and we don’t need this kind of excessive activism,” Shotwell wrote. “I’m sorry for this distraction. Please stay focused on the SpaceX mission and use your work time to do your best.»
Musk’s call to Twitter employees didn’t go well
Elon Musk’s Twitter account is visible through the Twitter logo in this photo taken on April 25, 2022.
Dado Ruvic | Reuters
With Twitter’s share price trading around $ 37, less than the $ 54.20 Musk agreed to pay the company, investors and employees should be concerned that the future holds for them.
Musk’s meeting with Twitter staff on Thursday seemed like an effort by the future owner to have a sense of trust and transparency in the people who will work for him.
But feedback on Slack after the meeting indicated that employees still have questions and concerns, according to someone who saw the posts but asked not to be named because they were meant to be private.
While former CEO Jack Dorsey promised employees the ability to work remotely permanently, Musk has taken a different approach with his companies, recently requiring Tesla and SpaceX employees to be at least in the office. 40 hours per week.
Musk said on the call that he may not be strict with Twitter employees because software development is easier to handle remotely while auto manufacturing requires a physical presence.
But his response did not seem to allay the concerns. His comments also left some Twitter employees scared for their jobs, according to the person familiar. Responding to concerns about potential layoffs, Musk said Twitter needs to return to a healthy financial position, but “anyone who contributes significantly has nothing to worry about,” according to the man.
In response, Twitter employees shared posts and memes near the end of the meeting explaining how to present themselves as exceptional.
—CnBC’s Michael Wayland contributed to this report.
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