Reading time: 3 minutes
This blog posted was originally published on 1 April 2021 as part of our April Fool’s newsletter. It is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
I’m typically all for the little guy. Although admittedly, that’s an odd thing to say about Elon Musk.
Still, I’m saddened to hear of the Tesla sale. Here’s a start-up that stared down the automotive manufacturing giants and shook the industry to its core. It’s because of Tesla we have software updates, supercharging stations, and traffic-aware speed control. Hell, one could argue it’s because of Tesla we have a burgeoning market of electric vehicles. The company’s innovation is as impressive as it is unprecedented.
What happens next? It’s hard to know really. Geely Global insists they will keep their new acquisition as an independent subsidiary. As we all know from other acquisitions, this likely means that Geely will slowly absorb all that is good about Telsa and leave a husk of its former self. I’d put money on it given the changes they’ve already announced.
Out-of-this-world space goals
Of course, Elon’s goal in selling Tesla is so that he can focus more thoroughly on SpaceX and his human spaceflight program. Even though he has yet to reach Mars, Elon is additionally setting his sights on Venus. Like the book, Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus, he strongly believes that it takes colonizing both planets for us to prosper. Mars conceivably makes some sense for human life, but Venus? The daytime temperature there is 460C, while the atmospheric pressure is equivalent to 1000m underwater. I am seriously not sure what he has been smoking.
This likely means that Geely will slowly absorb all that is good about Telsa and leave a husk of its former self. I’d put money on it.
As for Geely, they are planning to rollout new Tesla makes and models using the cautious engineering that Volvo, their previous acquisition, is known for. First, they are putting speed limiters on all new Tesla vehicles. Starting as early as September, all new Teslas will be unable to go past the 160 km/h mark. Sheng Yue Gui and Erik Samuelson both agree that 160 is plenty fast for the average driver. Such a pokey speed is sure to disappoint German Tesla owners who will get left in the dust on the Autobahn.
What’s more, a Tesla will no longer be the fastest-accelerating production vehicle on the road, reaching 100 km/hr in just 2.4 seconds. It will, however, reach 100 km/hr in 6.0 seconds. Gui and Samuelson feel acceleration is a safety issue and can get a driver out of a sticky situation, so some decent acceleration capabilities appear here to stay. However, I recommend Geely rebrand the Tesla from a sports car for the young at heart to a touring car for the elderly with heart conditions.
The second change they plan to make is to disable the Tesla autopilot. This is due to its continued poor safety record and the desire for the “Volvo-safety” bloom to remain unspoiled by more Model 3’s ramming into semis. Here is where Geely and I strongly disagree. ADAS and autonomous are the future of automotive. Oh sure, there’s much work to be done but they are not just passing fads.
Space-X fueled homage
The final straw for me is the rumor that Gigafactory is quietly being sold to Energizer. Not to be outdone by Elon’s Starman Roadster orbiting around Mars, Energizer is allegedly planning a Space-X fueled homage on completion of the Gigafactory sale: putting a huge Energizer bunny into orbit around earth. Apparently, the soles of the bunny’s feet will be solar panels, giving the bunny enough continual charge to “beat its drum” for a good portion of its orbit. While it might be entertaining for kids at a telescope to be able to see a giant space bunny, my opinion here is we don’t need any more testosterone-fueled junk in space.
This is one sale I could live without.