NASA astronauts Doug Hurley (left) and Bob Behnken stand in front of the Tesla Model X, which they bring to the launchpad for the launch of the SpaceX Demo-2.
Tesla recently revealed in a filing some of the ways the company is partnering with CEO Elon Musk’s other businesses, including SpaceX and The Boring Company.
The filing shows related party transactions in which SpaceX purchased Tesla vehicle components for $ 2.6 million and Tesla Energy systems, components and services for $ 1.5 million in 2020. Filing published late Friday advises that these awards include labor and some parts and systems have been modified.
The collaboration between Musk’s companies is not new.
For example, SpaceX shares two board members with Tesla. Musk sits on the boards of both, as does his brother Kimbal and Antonio Gracias.
SpaceX has also made a tradition of driving astronauts to the Launchpad in the corporate version of an “Astrovan,” a Tesla Model X adorned with the NASA logo, for crew launches and other occasions. Tesla shares some employees with SpaceX, including Charles Kuehmann, who serves as vice president of materials engineering for both companies.
Transactions between Musk’s companies were relatively small. However, Friday’s filing suggests that SpaceX has bought more technology and services from Tesla over time, despite the automaker struggling with chip shortages that have plagued the auto industry.
The company’s Crew Dragon “Resilience” capsule returned to Earth Sunday and splashed down after a record breaking SpaceX-NASA mission to the International Space Station in the Gulf of Mexico.
To accomplish its various roles, SpaceX purchased $ 2.1 million auto parts from Tesla in the first quarter of 2021 alone, including manpower and modifications for non-vehicle use. That’s more than three times the $ 600,000 SpaceX spent on Tesla auto parts the previous year.
During Tesla’s first quarter earnings statement on April 26, Musk announced a record quarter for his electric car company. He also lamented the complexities of vehicle production in general and the persistent chip scarcity and supply chain constraints that plagued the industry and Tesla.
He said the effort Tesla made to achieve high volume production of electric vehicles included overcoming “a logistics problem that made World War II seem trivial.” The CEO added that the first quarter of 2021 “had some of the toughest supply chain challenges we’ve ever faced in the life of Tesla. Insane supply chain difficulties with parts across the range.”
Friday’s filing failed to specify exactly what SpaceX purchased or how all of the systems and parts are being used.
The file also states that The Boring Company, of which Musk is a co-founder and major shareholder, is now a tiny Tesla customer. The Boring Company purchased Tesla Energy Systems and Related Services in 2020 for a total of $ 300,000.
Musk’s tunneling company developed the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop, a 1.7 mile tunnel, to transport visitors to various exhibition halls. Tesla Model 3 drivers drive through the LVCC loop to pick up and drop off passengers who need to book their rides through an app.
The LVCC loop cost Nevada taxpayers about $ 50 million and has been criticized for the lack of pedestrian entrances, sidewalks and platforms, as well as the fading capacity for people moving compared to a subway.
Tesla’s filing did not say whether it will sell or sell vehicles to The Boring Company for such infrastructure developments.
Here is a list of the ways Tesla claims to have partnered with and paid for by Musk’s company in 2020 and through March this year.
- SpaceX purchased Tesla Energy systems, components, and related services for $ 1.5 million in 2020. In the first quarter of 2021, $ 200,000 was spent on similar purchases.
- SpaceX purchased vehicle components from Tesla for $ 2.6 million, including modifications, labor, and support in 2020. In the first quarter of 2021, Tesla spent $ 2.1 million on the same items.
- SpaceX paid Tesla $ 100,000 for “technical support and resources” used in 2020.
- SpaceX ordered a custom tool that Tesla built for it in 2020 at the automaker’s machining facility for $ 700,000.
- Tesla’s SpaceX-licensed software from 2020 through February 2022 for total fees that are expected to be $ 100,000 by the end of that term.
- Tesla paid SpaceX $ 600,000 in 2020 to use the company’s aircraft. SpaceX paid $ 100,000 for it in the first quarter of 2021.
The boring company
- The Boring Company purchased Tesla Energy Systems and Related Services in 2020 for $ 300,000.