In December, Elon Musk tweeted that he was so annoyed with California traffic that he was “going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging.” Then he did. That’s why it’s worth believing his latest outlandish proposal: That if he can’t fix South Australia’s power problems in just 100 days, he’ll foot the bill.
The plan to alleviate the Australian state’s recent power crisis with at least 100 megawatt hours of new battery arrays was first proposed by SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive. Musk himself was the one to add the “or it’s free” offer in a tweet to venture capitalist Mike Cannon-Brookes, who cast doubt on the sincerity of Tesla’s offer Thursday night. Cannon-Brookes did not respond to a request for comment.
“We did it in 90 days in California. Similar sized installation,” Musk told Gizmodo over Twitter DM. True enough, Mira Loma became the home of an 80-megawatt hours battery substation this January—though Ars Technica reports that, including planning, the project took closer to six months. Ten extra days for an additional 20 megawatt hours will be tight, especially since Australia is considerably farther from Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada than California.
It’s unclear, however, why Musk would need to offer the sort of “in X time or your money back” deal mostly associated with pizza delivery policies. Twitter pissing matches are funny that way.
“Our systems have worked very well for California and Hawaii, among others,” Musk simply explained. “Not our words — just read their press releases.”