Tesla Roundup: Bitcoin Buy, CO2 Removal Prize, Home Charging Win

In this Tesla roundup, we share news about the company's Bitcoin investment and performance in a home charging study. Separately, Elon Musk is funding innovations in carbon negativity initiatives. (Unsplash)

Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk gave devotees of the man and the brand plenty of positive news this week. Tesla made headlines by buying up bitcoins and topping a customer satisfaction survey, while the Musk Foundation is funding up to $100 million in prize money to inventors who can find a way to clean the atmosphere of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Tesla Goes Big on Bitcoin

In a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Tesla revealed a $1.5 billion Bitcoin investment. With this purchase, Tesla becomes one of the largest companies to invest in cryptocurrency. Tesla also announced that it would soon allow bitcoin payments, becoming the first automaker to do so.

Created in 2009, Bitcoin soared in value on the Tesla news, cresting $44,000 per coin for the first time.

Musk Offers Big Money for Carbon Negativity Solutions

Speaking of windfalls, Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk announced that the foundation bearing his name would fund up to $100 million in prize money to inventors for innovations that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The contest, which the Xprize Foundation will administer, is the largest of its kind.

According to Musk, the contest’s goal is to reveal actionable solutions to the global warming crisis. “Carbon negativity, not neutrality. This is not a theoretical competition. Whatever it takes. Time is of the essence.”

With this urgency in mind, the contest will open on Earth Day, April 22, 2021. At the 18-month mark, the top 15 teams will receive $1M each, and Xprize will award 25 Musk-funded student scholarships amounting to $200,000 each. Then, on Earth Day in 2025, three prize winners will receive either $50 million, $20 million, or $10 million for the top three carbon negativity solutions.

Criteria for the contest entries include the following:

  • must be capable of capturing up to 1 ton of CO2 per day as cost-effectively as possible
  • must be scalable enough to remove as much as 1 billion tons per year
  • must be able to keep CO2 out of the atmosphere for 100 years or more

The organizers hope this will lead to a boon in environmental startups looking to get into the CO2 removal business. “It’s not two or three solutions or a handful of companies, it’s probably a handful of solution types and dozens or hundreds of different efforts that we need,” says Xprize executive director of environment, Marcius Extavour. “We need a whole industry doing carbon removal.”

Tesla Owners Happiest with Home Charging Stations

Tesla owners proved the most satisfied with their home electric vehicle chargers in the inaugural J.D. Power Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Home Charging Study. According to the study, EV owners across brands averaged 749 points in overall satisfaction, out of a 1,000-point scale. Tesla owners averaged 784 points out of 1,000.

Because most EV owners report charging at home (88%), satisfaction with the home charging process is key to EV adoption and satisfaction. According to J.D. Power, satisfaction is highest with EV owners who charge their vehicles using the highest power Level 2 permanent charger. Tesla owners also scored the highest amongst Level 2 permanent chargers’ users due to its cord length, charging speed, and ease of use, among other factors.

Tesla Continues to Lead by Example and Innovation

As most automakers ranging from Acura to Volvo work to electrify their fleets, Tesla’s home charging satisfaction rating bodes points in the direction of success. Meanwhile, Tesla’s advances with Bitcoin and Elon Musk’s CO2 removal contest prize money indicate that the automaker’s innovative thinking extends well outside of the automotive landscape.

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