Insider Transportation: SpaceX makes 'final attempt' to clear out Texas villagers for its rocket resort, Rivian's 6-figure salaries, and Luminar's bet on lidar
SpaceX has now made one final attempt to take over the last dozen homes that remain outside of its ownership in Boca Chica, Texas. Reuters
For more than a year, SpaceX has been trying to evacuate residents of Boca Chica, the beachfront village in Texas where Elon Musk decided to create a "resort" for launching rockets into orbit, to the moon and to Mars erect. But not everyone wants to give up their home, and SpaceX has now made a final attempt to take over the last dozen homes that remain out of their possession - including financial offers and warnings to residents that "it is not safe" and it is " too dangerous "to live there.
If that push doesn't work - and it seems like a long way to go - the company has hinted that it could "take alternative approaches" to realizing its ambitions. To get the full story, we spoke to Boca Chicans, who view SpaceX's warnings as a threat and don't intend to give in to the pressure. Read our full account of the final battle in the Boca Chica War here.
Elsewhere on the news we have an absolutely wild story of a bitter battle between Volkswagen and one of its suppliers, including secret records, an espionage hunt, and a VW employee found dead in a burned-out car. Plus: How much Rivian pays its engineers, a Tesla veteran's battery recycling company, and Mercedes' new plan for an electric future.
Read about all of that and more below. If you haven't already, sign up here to receive this newsletter in your inbox every week.
JB Straubel's big new bet
During most of Tesla's long climb to its current status as the World's Most Valuable Automaker, JB Straubel was Elon Musk's right-wing man, creating many of the automobiles, powertrains, batteries, and even entire factories that fueled Tesla's wild growth. Now Straubel has his own venture and CEO title at Redwood Materials, where he wants to hunt the big bucks for recycling old EV batteries.
"A big missing part of the remanufacturing economy is how all batteries and materials are no longer made and put back in the supply chain," he told us. "It could be a massive, massive industry."
Rivian offers six-figure salaries amid an increasing talent war
So many electric vehicle startups, not so many engineers getting them all up and running. The war for talent in an emerging space is on, and we pulled the data to see how much Rivian pays its people, from engineers to financial analysts. It's no surprise that six-digit numbers are the norm.
A 25-year-old CEO startup proves Elon Musk is wrong by bringing lidar to the mass market
Musk may have an uncanny ability to predict (and deliver) the future, but when it comes to lidar, Austin Russell believes the Tesla CEO got it wrong. Almost every expert on the planet sees the laser sensor as the key to getting cars to drive, and the 25-year-old CEO of Luminar - a company he founded when he was 17 - makes sure it's not just for research vehicles , but normal consumer cars also work for research vehicles. In an interview, Russell explained the key steps he has taken to achieve this goal.
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