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Elon Musk had a nasty week at Tesla, SpaceX and Twitter


Elon Musk pauses and appears down as he speaks during 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 what’s been a very eventful 12 months for Elon Musk, this was a decidedly rough week.

Tesla’s stock, which has lost almost half its value since peaking in November, dropped greater than 6% within the last week, as investors continued to sell out of their tech holdings.

There are internal matters at Tesla that are not helping. This week, they were tied to issues of safety with the corporate’s advanced driver-assist systems.

Musk’s other big company, SpaceX, fired a gaggle of employees who circulated an internal letter that reportedly denounced the CEO and founder as a “distraction and embarrassment.” Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration on Monday handed SpaceX’s Starship rocket program a protracted to-do list before it will probably receive a launch license in Boca Chica, Texas.

Then there’s Twitter. Musk agreed to purchase the social media company for $44 billion in April, but has since publicly trashed it, raising all kinds of concerns about whether the deal will actually close. On Thursday, Musk spoke to Twitter employees for the primary time in a video address that was widely panned, based on messages that showed up on the inner chat board.

Here’s what went down in Musk town this week.

Problematic data on driver-assist crashes

The NTSB released this image of a 2021 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor electric automotive that was involved in a fatal accident near Miami that killed two people on Sept. 13, 2021.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Wednesday that Tesla vehicles accounted for nearly 70% of reported crashes involving advanced driver-assist systems since last June. Data provided by the U.S. safety agency said the electrical cars were involved in 273 of the 392 accidents cited within the report, which included data from 11 automakers.

Still, the NHTSA said the info doesn’t have proper context and is barely meant as a guide to quickly discover potential defect trends.

“I might advise caution before attempting to attract conclusions based only on the info that we’re releasing,” NHTSA Administrator Steven Cliff said during a media event. “In reality, the info alone may raise more questions than they answer.”

Tesla hikes prices across U.S. automotive models

Tesla Model 3

Courtesy: Tesla

When Musk announced plans in June to chop 10% of Tesla’s workforce, the CEO said he had a “super bad feeling” in regards to the economy. For consumers, those concerns are turning into sticker shock.

Tesla hiked prices for all automotive models within the U.S. this week because the auto industry continues to grapple with supply chain issues, inflation and economic uncertainty.

The corporate increased the value of its Model Y long-range version to $65,990 from $62,990, and raised the performance model by $2,000 to $69,990, in response to its website. Electrek said the value of the Model S Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive increased by about $5,000 to $104,990. The Model X Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive Long Range went up by $6,000.

Tesla had previously delayed deliveries of a few of the long-range models within the U.S. by as much as a month.

FAA says SpaceX Starship program needs adjustments

The FAA on Monday made an environmental decision that resulted in a mixture of excellent and bad news for Musk’s SpaceX, and the mammoth Starship rocket the corporate is developing in Texas.

The regulator issued a listing of greater than 75 environmental mitigation actions the corporate must complete before it will probably move forward with Starship flight tests. Included in the necessities are limitations on noise levels and the way often SpaceX can close the general public highway near the power.

After the FAA’s decision, Musk said the corporate could have a Starship prototype rocket “able to fly” by July. The corporate is aiming to succeed in orbit with the vehicle for the primary time. However it first requires a launch license from the FAA, and the regulator’s required mitigations amount to a big lift before the corporate can request one.

The excellent news for SpaceX is that the FAA has concluded its assessment, and shouldn’t be requiring a more in-depth review.

SpaceX employees embarrassed by Musk

Musk’s plan to purchase Twitter has frightened policymakers all over the world.

Joe Skipper | Reuters

An unknown variety of SpaceX employees wrote and internally circulated a letter that was critical of Musk and his public behavior, describing him as “a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment,” in response to media reports. CNBC reported Friday that no less than five employees involved within the letter were fired in consequence.

SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell, in a company-wide email obtained by CNBC, claimed the letter and process to solicit signors “upset many” employees, who she said felt “uncomfortable, intimidated, and bullied.”

“We now have an excessive amount of critical work to perform and no need for this sort of overreaching activism,” Shotwell wrote. “I’m sorry for this distraction. Please stay focused on the SpaceX mission, and use your time at work to do your best work.”

Musk’s call with Twitter employees didn’t go well

Elon Musk twitter account is seen through Twitter logo on this illustration taken, April 25, 2022. 

Dado Ruvic | Reuters

With Twitter’s stock price trading around $37, well below the $54.20 Musk agreed to pay for the corporate, investors and employees are justifiably concerned about what the longer term holds.

Musk’s all-hands meeting with Twitter staffers on Thursday gave the look of an effort by the potential future owner to determine a way of trust and transparency with the individuals who could be working for him.

But reactions on Slack following the meeting indicated employees were still left with questions and concerns, in response to a one that saw the messages but asked to not be named as they were intended to be private.

While former CEO Jack Dorsey promised employees the choice to work distant permanently, Musk has taken a really different approach together with his corporations, recently demanding that Tesla and SpaceX staff be within the office no less than 40 hours every week.

Musk said on the decision that he might not be as strict with Twitter employees, because developing software can more easily be handled from afar while automotive manufacturing requires physical presence.

But his answer didn’t appear to calm concerns. His comments also left some Twitter employees fearing for his or her jobs, in response to the person familiar. In addressing concerns about potential layoffs, Musk said Twitter must get right into a healthy financial state, but that “anyone who’s a big contributor has nothing to fret about,” in response to the person.

In response, Twitter employees shared messages and memes toward the top of the meeting riffing on find out how to brand themselves as exceptional.

—CNBC’s Michael Wayland contributed to this report.

WATCH: Musk tells Twitter employees he wants no less than a billion every day users

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