Elon Musk’s Cybertruck is here, and so are the jokes

Elon Musk’s Cybertruck is nothing if not divisive. But nobody should feign surprise: the warning signs were there.

His Tesla passion project is every bit “the futuristic-like cyberpunk, Blade Runner pickup truck” Musk said it would be. He even telegraphed its alienating aesthetic when interviewed by Recode’s Kara Swisher last year, conceding that he might have to build a more conventional truck in the future if nobody likes it:

I’m personally super-excited by this pickup truck. It’s something I’ve been wanting to make for a long time. And I’ve been iterating sort of designs with Franz … It’s like I really wanted something that’s like super-futuristic cyberpunk. Which, if it doesn’t … if I’m weirdly like … if there’s only a small number of people that like that truck, I guess we’ll make a more conventional truck in the future. But it’s the thing that I am personally most fired up about. It’s gonna have a lot of titanium.

Well, Elon, the early results are in…

In all fairness, it does have its defenders… kind of.

Watch this supercut of Elon Musk unveiling the Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla CEO Elon Musk took the stage on November 21st to unveil the Cybertruck, Tesla’s all-electric pickup truck and the automaker’s sixth vehicle since its founding in 2003.

There will be three versions of the truck — 250 miles, 300 miles, and 500 miles of range — with a variety of towing capacities and 0–60 mph capabilities. Musk unveiled the truck at a cyberpunk-inspired event with many, many lasers and even a surprise ATV.

But the event didn’t exactly go according to plan. In an effort to demonstrate the truck’s shatterproof windows, Tesla design chief Franz von Holzhausen smashed them with a heavy metal ball thrown at close range.

There are three versions of the truck available:

  • Single motor rear-wheel drive with 250 miles of range, 7,500-pound towing capacity, and 0–60 mph capabilities in under 6.5 seconds, for $39,900
  • Dual motor all-wheel drive with 300 miles of range, 10,000-pound towing capacity, and 0–60 mph in under 4.5 seconds for $49,900
  • Triple motor all-wheel drive with 500 miles of range, 14,000-pound towing capacity, and 0–60 mph in under 2.9 seconds for $69,900 (though this version won’t start production until late 2022)

Musk has called the design “heart-stopping” and said the project is his “personal favorite” out of all the ones Tesla is working on.

You can read our complete breakdown of all the rumors and speculation here. And be sure to follow us on Twitter and theverge.com as we cover the event live.

Tesla’s Cybertruck is available for preorder with a $100 deposit

Tesla’s newly revealed Cybertruck is now available for preorder at tesla.com/cybertruck. The company is currently taking $100 deposits to reserve the truck. But as Tesla CEO Elon Musk noted during an event in Los Angeles on Thursday night, deliveries are still a ways off.

There are three versions of the truck available:

  • Single motor rear-wheel drive with 250 miles of range, 7,500-pound towing capacity, and 0–60 mph capabilities in under 6.5 seconds, for $39,900
  • Dual motor all-wheel drive with 300 miles of range, 10,000-pound towing capacity, and 0–60 mph in under 4.5 seconds for $49,900
  • Triple motor all-wheel drive with 500 miles of range, 14,000-pound towing capacity, and 0–60 mph in under 2.9 seconds for $69,900 (though this version won’t start production until late 2022)

Autopilot comes standard, but like Tesla’s other vehicles, “full self-driving” capabilities will cost an extra $7,000.

The $100 deposits are fully refundable, Tesla says. Customers can finish configuring their vehicles as production nears in late 2021.

Tesla made an ATV to complement its futuristic Cybertruck

At the Tesla Cybertruck event in Los Angeles on Thursday, Elon Musk said three words most of the tech world is familiar with: “One more thing.” That turned out to be an electric all-terrain vehicle. The ATV can charge from the bed of the Cybertruck, naturally.

The Tesla ATV’s aesthetic is still very much in the Blade Runner motif that Musk touted in the run-up to the event. We’ll have more details about the ATV as we get them from Tesla, so stay tuned.

Update November 22nd, 3:56PM ET: Over 12 hours after the event, Tesla has yet to release any specs related to the ATV. But we do have a few more details.

First, the ATV is called the Tesla Cyberquad. Second, Musk tweeted earlier today that it will be first be made available as an option with the Cybertruck. So that means it won’t be sold as a stand-alone vehicle — at least not initially. The CEO also confirmed that the ATV will be a two-seater.

During the event, Musk also demonstrated a cool feature that helps explain why both vehicles are being offered as a package. The ATV can be charged from the bed of the Cybertruck by plugging into the truck’s outlet.

Tesla Cybertruck will get up to 500 miles of range and start at $39,900

Accessory for model 3 – tesmat, $20 Off with code DEEPBOON

Tesla CEO Elon Musk just unveiled the company’s first electric pickup truck, also known as Cybertruck, at an event in Los Angeles, California. The truck will come in three versions with 250 miles, 300 miles, and 500 miles of range, respectively. And it will start at $39,900, Musk said. The truck won’t be rolling off the assembly line until late 2021, but preorders can be made at tesla.com/cybertruck.

Always a showman, Musk put the truck through its paces in an effort to demonstrate its ruggedness. He had Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla’s chief of design, hit the door of the truck with a sledgehammer several times, claimed it was practically bulletproof, and showed the truck winning a tug-of-war with a Ford F150 and a drag race with a Porsche 911.

However, when he tried to show how shatterproof the “armored” glass was, things went awry. A metal ball thrown by von Holzhausen shattered both the truck’s windows. “We’ll fix it in post,” a sheepish Musk quipped.

There are three versions of the truck available:

  • Single motor rear-wheel drive with 250 miles of range, 7,500-pound towing capacity, and 0–60 mph capabilities in under 6.5 seconds, for $39,900
  • Dual motor all-wheel drive with 300 miles of range, 10,000-pound towing capacity, and 0–60 mph in under 4.5 seconds for $49,900
  • Triple motor all-wheel drive with 500 miles of range, 14,000-pound towing capacity, and 0–60 mph in under 2.9 seconds for $69,900 (though this version won’t start production until late 2022)

The truck can seat a total of six adults, Tesla says. The body is made of ultra-hard 30X cold-rolled stainless steel. Musk had von Holzhausen demonstrate the body’s strength by smashing it with the aforementioned sledgehammer. The payload has a 3,500-pound capacity, with 100 cubic feet of storage space. The truck’s vault length is 6.5 feet, and it will have 4-inch suspension in either direction. A 17-inch touchscreen sits in the center of the dashboard, though images of the interior look slightly unfinished. (Is that dashboard made of Formica?)

Musk has spent the better part of a decade poking at the idea of a Tesla pickup truck. He tweeted in 2012 that he “[w]ould love to make a Tesla supertruck” with “crazy torque” and “dynamic air suspension.” By 2013, he told Business Insider that the company was actually planning to make one. The pickup was even featured in his second “master plan” for Tesla, which he published in 2016.

Musk continued to toy with the idea in public, saying in April 2017 that a reveal event would happen in “18 to 24 months.” In 2018 he said the truck had taken on a “futuristic-like cyberpunk, Blade Runner” design, and that he didn’t even care much if people didn’t like it. He’s since said the pickup truck is his favorite project out of all the ones Tesla’s working on.

While the pickup truck has obviously been a pet project for Musk, it could also be a great opportunity for Tesla’s business. Not only are pickup sales on the rise in the US, but trucks command high average selling prices and high profit margins.

“Pickup truck buyers spend a lot on their trucks,” says Tyson Jominy, vice president of data and analytics consulting at JD Power. “A $50,000 pickup truck is a very common occurrence now. People are willing to spend on this segment to haul their toys, to support a lifestyle.”

Tesla’s business could arguably use the bump. While the company squeaked out a $143 million profit in the past quarter, it only did so after including $164 million worth of regulatory credits and money that it’s banked from customers who’ve paid for the yet-to-be-released “full self-driving” version of Autopilot.

That said, a lot will happen between now and when the truck starts shipping. Not only will Tesla soon start producing Model 3s in China for that market, making it less of a burden to sell cars there, but the company is also releasing the Model Y crossover at the end of 2020.

One of the only segments rivaling the growth of pickup trucks over the last few years is the SUV segment (and especially the small SUV segment). If things go according to plan for Tesla, the company’s business will already be in better shape by the time the Cybertruck ships, meaning whatever profit it can reap from the pickup will be gravy.

Tesla has led the charge into long-range electric vehicles, and there’s currently no mass-market electric pickup truck available for sale. But the landscape will change by the time the truck ships. Ford has an all-electric F-150 on the way, General Motors confirmed it will put an electric pickup on the market in 2021, and EV startup Rivian — which is now backed by both Ford and Amazon — is scheduled to release its electric pickup in late 2020.

Depending on how things shake out with all of these plans, Tesla could wind up releasing the Cybertruck into a market that’s already somewhat established — which would be an unfamiliar position for the company.

What to expect from Tesla’s Cybertruck pickup truck event

On Thursday night at 11PM ET, Elon Musk will appear onstage at the Tesla Design Center in Los Angeles to reveal the product he’s most excited about: Tesla’s first electric pickup truck. And while the CEO has teased the truck on and off for six years, with increased hype at every turn, it’s still not super clear what’s in store. Unlike, say, the Model Y reveal earlier this year, Musk has played this one somewhat close to the chest.

Yes, Musk has said he drew inspiration from Blade Runner in designing the truck. It’s also called (or at least codenamed) “Cybertruck,” with an appropriately science-fiction-style, vowel-dropped logo to boot. We have a rough idea of some specs that will be offered. And we know he wants to combine Porsche-level performance with utility that makes a Ford F-150 look like a Tonka truck. As for what it looks like, though, everyone is still in the dark. Like, literally — Tesla has only released a few really murky teaser images for the truck.

Pickup trucks are currently the fastest-growing segment in the US, and they tend to sell for sky-high prices. Even with direct competition from established players (like Ford’s forthcoming electric F-150) and newcomers (like Rivian), there is a ton of money to be made in pickup trucks. Moving into the market seems like a no-brainer for Tesla, especially because the company remains in search of sustainable profitability.

Of course, nothing is easy when it comes to Tesla. Musk said in 2018 that he didn’t care if people were turned off by the truck’s futuristic design, which is an interesting way to market a vehicle. He quickly backtracked, however, and said he would eventually like to get gas and diesel trucks off the road. And in that same interview, Musk also said Tesla would even consider making a more conventional pickup truck in the future in order to meet a wider customer base.

In other words, Musk has proposed so many different ideas for the Tesla pickup truck over the years that Thursday evening will, at the very least, provide some highly desired clarity. And despite Tesla’s track record of missed deadlines and early production problems, the company’s lead in electric vehicle technology has ensured that whatever Musk reveals is destined to be the thing people benchmark against as they evaluate the first electric pickup trucks on the market.

One of the few murky renders of the Cybertruck pickup.
Image: Tesla

Specs and price

One thing Musk has given a ballpark for is the Cybertruck’s starting price. In June 2019, the Tesla CEO said the truck would start at “less than $50,000,” putting it between the starting price of the Model 3 (currently $39,400) and the Model S (currently $79,990) sedans. It’s also just about the same price as the long-range version of the Model Y crossover SUV ($48,000) that will ship in late 2020, though Tesla ultimately plans to sell a cheaper, shorter-range model for around $39,000.

“It’s got to be, like, $49,000 starting price max. Ideally less,” Musk said of the truck earlier this year. “It just can’t be unaffordable. It’s got to be something that’s affordable.”

Musk has also said the base model will be equipped with a dual-motor setup (meaning all-wheel drive will come standard) and a dynamic suspension that automatically adjusts based on how much weight the truck is carrying. He’s also claimed there will be a version of the truck that gets 400 to 500 miles of range, meaning the more affordable base model may wind up with closer to 300 miles.

That said, Tesla has been able to squeeze increasing amounts of range from the battery packs it already ships, and it also went out and acquired two battery companies this year. It’s not unthinkable that the base pickup truck could offer more than 300 miles by the time it ships.

One thing to look for on Thursday is whether Tesla will make versions of the truck with bigger cabs or wildly different trim levels.

Typically, Tesla’s cars get better performance and range as they get more expensive. But the priciest models aren’t bigger or really materially different from the cheaper versions. This is decidedly not the case with most pickup trucks, though, which come in a wide range of sizes and are deeply customizable.

The resulting decision tree is part of what makes buyers wind up spending so much more on pickup trucks, according to Jessica Caldwell, the executive director of insights for Edmunds. Tesla doesn’t need to copy that playbook to sell trucks, Caldwell says, but it would help sway customers who may otherwise buy an F-150.

“Even more recreational truck buyers are going to want to use this as their daily driver, so they’re going to want all the amenities. They’re going to expect the clean cool design from Tesla, but want the things that they’d get in another truck,” says Tyson Jominy, the vice president of data and analytics consulting at JD Power. “People are willing to spend on this segment to haul their toys, to support a life style. It’s a very expensive segment, which is where Tesla’s sweet spot is.”

Musk has tweeted that the truck will have lockers, plus 240V outlets for using “high power tools in field all day” with “[n]o generator needed. We can also expect to see Autopilot functionality, media streaming from Spotify and Netflix, and other similar software features found on the company’s current cars. Whether Tesla will offer an extended cab version, or other more typical pickup truck accoutrements, is something to watch for on Thursday.

The most eye-popping number Musk has thrown out about the Cybertruck, though, was the suggestion it will have a 300,000-pound towing capacity. That would represent an order of magnitude of improvement over the towing capacity of most pickup trucks on the market.

Even Tesla’s slowest vehicles are still pretty fast. But mixing in anything remotely resembling that kind of capability could make the Cybertruck something that even the most loyal truck buyers stop to consider.

“Heart-stopping” design

Again, we’re truly in the dark here, but Musk has said the Cybertruck will be “a really futuristic-like cyberpunk, Blade Runner pickup truck.” He’s called the design “heart-stopping,” and said the project is his “personal favorite” out of all the ones Tesla is working on.

“I’d expect it to be curvier and sleeker than what we see from Detroit, which is that sort of brash, in your face, big-grille design,” Jominy says.

“We know it’s definitely not going to look like a Silverado,” says Caldwell.

Musk has suggested that the truck’s design may be too far-out for mainstream buyers, but Caldwell suggests the boom in truck sales may have carved out space for a company like Tesla to try something new. She also points out how players like Ford have successfully introduced new ideas into the market that once seemed like non-starters in their own right, like an all aluminum body or the smaller EcoBoost engine.

“I think Tesla’s in kind of a unique position in which they can almost become the anti-pickup-truck pickup truck, because they’re not necessarily having to stick with the same formula people have used in the past,” she says. “I think pickup truck buyers are probably more flexible than we give them credit for.”

Some sort of demonstration

Tesla typically offers rides in the prototype vehicles it debuts at these events. And according to the invites that were sent out, there is supposed to be an outdoor portion of the event, so it’s possible attendees will get that chance.

But Musk has touted the Tesla pickup’s supposed performance capabilities so much over the last few years that it’s hard to imagine he won’t take the chance to put on some kind of demonstration.

If that’s the case, it makes sense that he’d focus on the towing capacity. And if Musk really wants to show how the Cybertruck outperforms an F-150, he’ll hook the thing up to something truly massive and drag it down the stretch of road typically used for test rides in front of SpaceX headquarters. Maybe he’ll have the truck tow a Tesla Semi with a trailer full of F-150s. Or maybe he’ll strap a Falcon 9 rocket to an oversized flatbed and drag it a few hundred feet.

Either way, Thursday night is his first chance to back up all his F-150 smack talk with some action. And for its part, Ford has already showed its forthcoming electric F-150 towing a one-million-pound train.

The death of the Tesla pickup renders

Tesla has a wide base of fans, customers, and people who fall into both categories. They tend to be an imaginative, collaborative bunch. And as we inch closer to the Cybertruck reveal, they’ve gone absolutely buck wild trying to guess at what it looks like.

Just do a Google image search for “Tesla pickup truck” before Thursday night’s event and you’ll see what I mean. There has been no end to them.

This was bound to happen, especially since it’s the first truly new design we’ve seen from Tesla in two years. In some ways, it’s been a nice reminder of how much time and effort goes into real automotive design, because most of these look like half-finished, half-botched Photoshop attempts.

Expect the unexpected

This is Elon Musk we’re talking about. The man who published a tweet that ultimately cost himself $40 million. The guy who started a tunnel-digging company while sitting in traffic. The general rule of thumb with him is there’s always a chance things go way off script when he’s speaking in or to the public.

He could tease yet another new Tesla product. Or he could make a grand proclamation about Tesla Cybertrucks roving the Martian surface in four years. More likely, he’ll tout some theoretically possible feature that sounds oh-so obvious to fans and nearly impossible to skeptics.

Musk is likely to focus some of Thursday’s event on how Autopilot will change the pickup truck experience. The question is how much further does he push it. The truck likely won’t go into production until at least 2021, but Musk has already claimed Tesla will have 1 million robotaxis on public roads in 2020. If he believes that, then what does he think is possible with a fully autonomous truck, regardless of whether that’s even possible in this time frame?

Known unknowns

We don’t know where, or really when, the pickup truck will be built. We don’t know how many of them Tesla wants to build. We don’t know what the “cyber” in “Cybertruck” means (as if words have meaning anymore). We also don’t know how another new vehicle is going to stress Tesla’s production capacity and customer service, both of which are stretched quite thin at the moment. Most of all, we have no idea how customers will respond to a Tesla pickup truck, especially if its design is really as out there as Musk has said.

But despite its problems, the company has proven an ability to convert buzz into buyers, especially with the Model 3. The Cybertruck is almost a sure bet to become the latest hot commodity from Tesla, regardless of what it looks like, or who’s ponying up the money. And its mere existence is likely to make automakers rethink how they view pickup trucks, even if it’s just a little bit.

“This is sort of game on,” Jominy says. “Tesla’s essentially attacking the fortress of Detroit right at the front gate.”

Update November 20th, 11:52PM ET: Added time of the event.

Tesla’s fourth Gigafactory will be in Berlin, Elon Musk says

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Tuesday that his company’s fourth Gigafactory will be built just outside Berlin, Germany.

The announcement comes as Tesla is finishing up construction on the third Gigafactory outside Shanghai, China, and just a few days after New York State wrote down the value of the company’s second Gigafactory, a repurposed SolarCity facility in Buffalo, New York, by more than $800 million. Tesla’s first Gigafactory opened in 2016 (but is still under construction) outside Reno, Nevada.

“Berlin is great,” Musk said, after receiving the Golden Steering Wheel award from German auto publication Auto Bild. “I love Berlin.”

Musk has spent the last few years teasing that Tesla would build a fourth Gigafactory in Europe, and Germany’s grip on the auto industry made it a likely landing spot. He’s said he wants to build up to as many as 10 or 12 around the world.

In a recent earnings report, Tesla said the European Gigafactory would likely be operational by 2021. The company predicted it would be similar to the Shanghai facility as well, since it would be producing Model 3 sedans and Model Y crossovers.

The new factory outside Berlin is not Tesla’s fourth overall; the company currently assembles all of its cars at a former Toyota plant in Fremont, California. It also operates a seat factory near the Fremont plant, and has been building another facility in Lathrop, California.

Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada is the focus of an investigative podcast released this week from USA Today, which found the massive facility has strained local resources and brought a “host of complications to the region.”

Walmart drops lawsuit against Tesla over solar panel fires

Walmart has agreed to drop a lawsuit against Tesla over a rash of solar panel fires filed in August, according to a new filing with the New York State Supreme Court. The retail giant had claimed that “years of gross negligence” by Tesla — and its solar panel subsidiary, SolarCity — led to fires on the roofs of at least seven of its stores, causing millions of dollars in damage, and resulting in Walmart having the solar panels deactivated.

“Walmart and Tesla are pleased to have resolved the issues raised by Walmart concerning the Tesla solar installations at Walmart stores,” the companies said in a joint statement, without elaborating on the specifics of the agreement. “Safety is a top priority for each company and with the concerns being addressed, we both look forward to a safe re-energization of our sustainable energy systems.”

Walmart’s lawyers had accused SolarCity of adopting “an ill-considered business model that required it to install solar panel systems haphazardly and as quickly as possible in order to turn a profit” in the explosive complaint. They argued SolarCity relied on contractors and subcontractors who were “not been properly hired, trained, and supervised.”

The lawyers also alleged in the lawsuit that Tesla did not properly handle Walmart’s complaints about the fires. Just days after the lawsuit was filed, Business Insider uncovered a secret program at Tesla dubbed “Project Titan” that was spun up to quietly fix the defects that led to solar panel fires.

However, a settlement appears to have been in the works for a while. In August, Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove told The Verge that the companies were “working towards a resolution,” before adding that “if you were to characterize that as a settlement, we wouldn’t dispute it.” Tesla CEO Elon Musk also said in a recent court deposition that he spoke to Walmart’s CEO shortly after the lawsuit was filed, and the two “figured out a resolution.”

“This lawsuit is going to be withdrawn,” Musk said.

Update November 5th, 11:57AM ET: Added joint statement from Walmart and Tesla.

Elon Musk donates $1 million to plant trees after testifying that he’s cash-poor

Elon Musk has donated $1 million worth of trees ($1 per tree) to YouTuber Jimmy “MrBeast” Donaldson, who’s currently campaigning to raise $20 million from fellow YouTube celebrities for a climate change fundraising effort. That’s intriguing, because Musk said in sworn testimony recently that he’s financially illiquid.

Musk told the YouTuber he would make the donation on Twitter after some nudging by Marques “MKBHD” Brownlee, who has interviewed Musk in the past and is an avid Tesla fan. Musk initially showed interest yesterday, asking on Twitter about the type of trees being planted as part of MrBeast’s fundraising effort. MrBeast responded that the trees are being planted on every continent save Antarctica; the type of tree depends on where it goes.

The fundraising program has been successful even without a Musk donation; MrBeast has raised more than $6 million. The project is a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation. When Brownlee told Musk that, Musk replied, “sounds legit,” and pledged to donate 1 million trees.

In the past, Musk has engaged in a playful back-and-forth with MrBeast, who’s become famous on YouTube for philanthropic stunts that largely involve giving away huge sums of money, sometimes to total strangers. The YouTuber promised to purchase a Tesla after telling Musk he would do so if the chief executive hosted an episode of “Meme Review” on the channel of Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg. After Musk hosted Meme Review, MrBeast followed through. MrBeast has since asked Musk if he would help him “vlog on the moon.”

But it appears Musk has indeed donated the money for the trees: as of 8:50 PM ET, he’s now listed in the top spot with 1 million tree donations according to the Team Trees page, which seems to require an actual donation (not just a pledge) to appear on the leaderboard.

Musk also followed through on a previous donation he promised to make on Twitter: one that helped schools in Flint, Michigan install UV water filtration systems for their water fountains after the Flint water crisis.

But Musk’s Twitter use isn’t all positives; he’s now embroiled in a Twitter-related defamation suit. Last year, Musk used his Twitter audience of nearly 30 million to call a British cave diver named Vernon Unsworth “pedo guy,” after Unsworth criticized Musk’s attempts to aid the rescue of a boys soccer team in Thailand that had become trapped in a cave. Musk later told BuzzFeed News that Unsworth was a “child rapist,” adding, “I fucking hope he sues me.” Unsworth filed a defamation suit against Musk, and the trial is now set to begin in Los Angeles on December 3rd.

How does this relate to a relatively benign donation of trees to the Arbor Day Foundation? Well, in a recent court filing, Musk told lawyers representing Unsworth that, despite his massive stock holdings in Tesla and SpaceX, he was financially illiquid, according to The Los Angeles Times. That means his insurer, American International Group Inc., may get involved in any potential court settlement or financial payout as a result of the case. It also means it’s surprising that Musk has the cash on hand to help MrBeast plant all those trees for charity.

Update, 8:58 PM ET: Added that Musk appears to have already followed through and donated the money for a million new trees.

Elon Musk offers discounted solar panels and batteries after California blackouts

Tesla is offering a discount on solar panels and batteries to people who are affected by wildfire power outages, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted today. More than 2 million people across California have been affected by power outages since October 25th as utility companies try to prevent their power lines from sparking new blazes. A fire just north of San Francisco has already consumed more than 66,000 acres and is only 5 percent under control.

Musk offered $1,000 off to customers who are affected by the outages. His generosity is likely to benefit more affluent Californians’ who are coping with the power loss, given the price of a home installation. On its website, Tesla lists the average price of a Solar Roof as $33,950. Its home battery system, the Powerwall, costs roughly $14,100 for a 2,200-square-foot home. The company unveiled Solar Glass Roof tiles just three days ago.

Preemptive power outages are becoming the new normal in California as the state faces increasingly devastating wildfire seasons and utility companies are blamed for being the culprits behind disasters like the 2018 Camp Fire that nearly leveled the entire town of Paradise. The current outages are the second massive blackout affecting Pacific Gas and Electric Company customers this month. Though the outages are meant to avoid catastrophe, they can cause a crisis for those who rely on powered medical devices.

The fragile, flammable nature of the power grid means that some residents are turning to solar power as a way to keep the lights on. Homes with solar panels are still connected to the energy grid, but with a battery system, they can keep the power on if the grid fails. After roughly 2 million people lost power roughly two weeks ago, solar panel and battery sales jumped, CBS News reported. “It’s like controlled chaos right now — it’s an overwhelming response,” Tim Hamor, co-owner of California-based solar installer Alternative Energy Systems, told CBS.

Tesla seems to be seeing an uptick in sales, too. “Apologies to those waiting for Solar/Powerwall outside California, as we are prioritizing those affected by wildfires,” Musk tweeted today. On an October 25th call with reporters, Musk said that his company was “seeing some demand growth” as a result of the blackouts. “When you’re just sitting there in the dark and all of your devices are battery powered and you lose your phone connection, it’s like a security risk. You can’t even call 911.”