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Inside Automotive (Mar 12th, 2018)

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Tesla temporality suspended Model 3 production in late February. The downtime at the company’s Fremont, California factory occurred from February 20 to 24. The planned downtime was scheduled to improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks, which may help increase production rates. A Tesla spokesperson confirmed the downtime and in an emailed statement said, “This is not unusual and is in fact common in production ramps like this.” Tesla is targeting a production rate of 2,500 Model 3s by the end of March and 5,000 a month by the end of June. — BLOOMBERG

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a surprise appearance at South by Southwest over the weekend, holding a Q&A session. Musk answered a series of questions from attendees about Tesla and SpaceX. Musk said that both companies are alive only “by the skin of their teeth,” mentioning that he gave both SpaceX and Tesla only a 10 percent chance of success and that both companies were on the verge of either shutting down or becoming bankrupt. "At the beginning in 2002, I wouldn't even let my own friends invest as I didn't want to lose their money,” he said. Musk said he still spends 80 to 90 percent of his time working on engineering and design at both companies, but leaves business decisions to other executives. Musk claimed that SpaceX will be capable of sending a cargo mission to Mars by 2022, with the ultimate goal of creating a human colony on the planet. When Musk was asked who he was inspired by, he said, “Well Kanye West, obviously.” — BBC

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Uber’s chief brand officer Bozoma Saint John says the responsibility of diversifying workplaces should not fall to people of color. "Why do I — as the black woman — have to fix that? There's 50 of you, there's one of me. Ya'll fix it. ... Everybody else needs to make the noise — I want white men to make the noise,” she said at South by Southwest conference over the weekend. Saint John joined Uber last year and is tasked with improving Uber’s brand and increasing customer loyalty. She previously served as a marketing executive for Apple. Uber noted in a 2017 diversity report that it increased the number of black and Latinx employees at the company. It hired its first ever diversity and inclusion officer in January.— CNN

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GM CEO Mary Barra wants the government to expand EV tax breaks. At the CERAWeek conference in Houston, Barra pushed for “expanded” tax credits for electric car buyers. A company spokesperson confirmed that the automaker would like the volume cap lifted or increased. Electric car buyers of most automakers are offered a $7,500 federal tax credit until that automaker sells 200,000 electric cars. GM is close to that sales cap, as it likely to reach 200,000 electric vehicles sold this year. GM plans to add 20 more EV models globally by 2023.— WSJ 

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Waymo’s self-driving trucks will start delivering freight for Google's data centers in Atlanta. The trucks will still have backup drivers and will operate on public roads. Waymo hopes to “develop [the] technology and integrate it into the operations of shippers and carriers, with their network of factories, distribution centers, ports and terminals.” The trucks will use the same sensors that power Waymo’s test vehicles. Atlanta is one of the largest logistics hubs in the country. Tesla is testing its electric Semi to transport battery packs from its Nevada Gigafactory to its car factory in California, and Tesla’s Semi is believed to be including autonomous technology, which could compete with Waymo’s technology. — THE VERGE

This story first appeared in Inside Google & Alphabet. You can subscribe here

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