November 16 may go down in history as serial entrepreneur Elon Musk’s biggest day as he graces the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, manages SpaceX’s secret Zuma satellite launch, hosts the gala premier of the Tesla Semi heavy duty all-electric truck, all while responding to a Tesla racism lawsuit.
Rolling Stone features Musk on the cover in a SpaceX space suit, declaring him “The Architect of Tomorrow.” The article profiles Musk as the master planner to convert humanity to sustainable energy and terraform the planets of the universe before “some single event, man-made or natural, taking out civilization as we know it, as it did the dinosaurs.”
But Musk describes himself as a serial victim who was emotionally scarred by an abusive evil genius father, just got dumped by long-time girlfriend Amy Heard, and has to deal with $9 billion of “unethical” short-selling of Tesla stock by “jerks who want us to die.”
When asked about being “notorious” for setting ambitious deadlines for Tesla’s Roadster, Model S, Model X, and now Model 3, which “were all delayed,” Musk responded: “Better to do something good and be late than bad and be early.”
Musk’s first task of the day will be managing the countdown for a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to launch Northrop Grumman’s top-secret “Zuma” mission from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, between 8 and 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. SpaceX’s task is to deploy a low-Earth orbit spacecraft at about 1,240 miles above Earth. There is broad speculation that Zuma may be associated with SpaceX’s launch of the U.S. military’s top secret robotic X-37B Spaceplane this past June, as tensions with North Korea were beginning to boil.
With a successful launch and recovery of the reusable Falcon 9 booster core, Musk will have an hour to prepare for the gala introduction of the Tesla Semi heavy duty truck. He hyped the event earlier in the week by tweeting to his 15 million followers, “This will blow your mind clear out of your skull and into an alternate dimension.”
The Tesla Semi project is being led by Jerome Guillen, the Model S Program Director and former Daimler-Mercedes General Manager who developed the 12 miles-per-gallon Cascadia commercial “SuperTruck.” Guillen is considered Musk’s top engineer and was responsible for recruiting several other top Daimler engineers, including Evan Chenoweth, who designed the SuperTruck’s engine.
Daimler Ag, the largest builder of heavy duty trucks in the world, beat the Tesla Semi by 3 weeks when it introduced the E-FUSO Vision ONE all-electric heavy truck at the Tokyo Motor Show. SuperTruck 2’s impressive gross vehicle weight is just 23.26 tons and packs a 300-kilowatt battery that can drive an 11.11-ton payload for 220 miles on a single charge.
According to Forbes, Tesla Semi will feature 200- and 300-mile ranges with a single charge. Since recharging the large-capacity battery pack will take about 2 hours for an energy-intensive flash charger, and a day for a normal charger, Tesla Semi is rumored to have a revolutionary battery-swapping system to put the truck back on the road quickly.
Semi is also expected to feature Tesla’s Autopilot technology, which was developed and tested in Tesla’s passenger cars. The system is described as a “neural net for vision, sonar and radar processing software” that provides a superior 360-degree view of the world, compared to what a human driver can see and process.
The American Trucking Association reports that 70 percent of all freight is moved by commercial trucks that consume about 38 billion gallons of diesel fuel each year. Given the difficulty in hiring drivers for night shifts, Tesla Semi claims its autonomous vehicles could move most freight during the low freeway usage period of 10 pm to 5 am.
But on potentially his greatest day of triumph, Musk must also manage a new potential class-action lawsuit claiming Tesla’s auto assembly plant is a “hotbed for racist behavior,” where the word “n*gger” was frequently used and management turned a “blind eye.”
Although Tesla has denied the allegations and disputes “conflicting accusations and counter-accusations between several African-American and Hispanic individuals,” CEO Musk is ultimately responsible for managing the factory’s very human conflicts.