GM exec: Elon Musk 'full of crap' on self-driving vehicle claims

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The company says it has powered small islands, such as Ta'u in American Samoa.

Tesla is among the US companies sending rooftop panels and batteries to Puerto Rico, where more than 90 percent of homes and businesses remain without electricity after Hurricane Maria destroyed the grid.

The advantages of Tesla's Powerwall solution are that it can use stored solar energy during a power outage and could potentially reduce time-of-use rates by storing energy at night when rates are low.

Tesla, meanwhile, is sending hundreds of batteries that can store power generated by solar panels to Puerto Rico to provide emergency help in the wake of Maria.

But could Tesla do more?

"The Tesla team has done this for many smaller islands around the world, but there is no scalability limit, so it can be done for Puerto Rico too", Musk claimed in a tweet.

So the question is whether Musk will follow up with Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello about his offer to rebuild the island's power grid.

But let's hold on a second.

Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, was in a loquacious, 280-character mood on Twitter today: In one tweet, he mused about beefing up Puerto Rico's hurricane-hit power grid with solar power and heavy-duty batteries. Along with transforming the electric vehicle industry, revolutionising transportation by inventing the Hyperloop and making every effort to take humans to Mars with SpaceX, he now wants to solve the energy crisis in Puerto Rico.

Scot Miller, who leads General Motor's autonomous driving projects, is quoted in media reports suggesting that Musk's Tesla Model 3 is not as advanced as some people think.

Coming up with a calculation for how big an installation Puerto Rico would need to cover its energy needs isn't just a matter of back-of-the-envelope math.

Its size also means that, by extension, it would be expensive.

Sure, he's not exactly a neutral observer, but Scott Miller didn't hold back the punches when talking to a group of Australian reporters in Detroit about Elon Musk's baby - and he makes a point worth listening to. That figure pegs the South Australia scheme at over $32 million. Renewable energy sources provided a mere 2 percent of Puerto Rico's power.

They didn't take long to respond.

Tesla declined to comment further.

Focusing on the Tesla system's lack of redundancies - backup sensors to take over in case one malfunctions and mis-reads traffic - Miller said: "Do you really want to trust one sensor measuring the speed of a auto coming into an intersection before you pull out?"

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