Interview with Elon Musk at the Tesla Factory; Incredible Tesla Model S modifications

A new movie, Racing Extinction, recently premiered on Discovery Channel and featured a short segment with Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk. Yesterday, the film was released on DVD/Blu-Ray. To celebrate the release of the movie on DVD, new bonus footage is now available from the crew's exclusive visit to the Tesla factory. The footage features an extended interview with Elon Musk along with a Model S test drive featuring Musk and race car driver Leilani Munter.

Above (from left to right): Leilani Munter, Elon Musk, and Tom Sepe

Tom Sepe*, who worked on a team to modify and transform a one-of-a-kind Tesla Model S for the movie, explains that Racing Extinction is an eye-opening film about our current environmental crisis. It is an unprecedented and under-reported story that threatens the very web of life that provides us with the air we breath, the food we eat and the water we drink. To get an inside look at the film, we've got new, special bonus footage (from Racing Extinction) featuring an extended interview with Elon Musk at the Tesla factory (see below), check it out...

Source (Youtube): Oceanic Preservation Society

So... how exactly did the Racing Extinction crew transform the Tesla Model S for the movie? As Sepe explains: the modified Tesla is now a weapon of mass construction, outfitted with a 15,000 lumen video projector that deploys on a robotic arm out of the back of the car and is controllable by a joystick.

Above: video projector mounted in Model S trunk

In addition, a military-grade FLIR thermal imaging camera is installed in the front trunk (aka “frunk” as many Tesla car owners have nicknamed it). The camera’s sensor needs to be cooled to almost 0º kelvin and can see light in the infrared spectrum, but it is also outfitted with a special filter that allows one to view carbon dioxide gas.

Above: FLIR camera mounted in Model S frunk

Finally, the paint on the car emits light, the very first car to have an electro-luminescent skin, developed by Darkside Scientific. The paint is a sort of reverse camouflage, allowing us to be seen when we want, or to go dark into ninja mode… but it also pays homage to the billions of animals that communicate in the dark depths of the ocean using only bio-luminescent light.

Above: Leilani Munter next to Model S with "electro-luminescent skin"

With all of these high-tech and artistic mods, the car functions as a high-speed photon cannon, able to blast environmental imagery and messaging onto buildings, smokestacks, oil tankers or billboards from NY to LA. And it also makes for a stealthy get-away vehicle. With the addition of the FLIR camera, we are able to expose the invisible problem of carbon dioxide emissions from the freeway to the cow farm in real time.

Above: Tesla Model S projecting sharks onto Wall Street

Sepe developed and installed many of the electronics and media systems in the car, working closely with the fabrication team at Obscura to control the motors for the projector and the FLIR camera, as well as programming and integrating the electro-paint wiring and building a wifi-enabled control system for changing patterns and selecting the media to project.

Above: Tesla Model S with its custom illuminated paint job

One of the challenges was designing a mobile projection system that enables video content to work on variable architectural surface areas, without having the ability to map the space ahead of time, nor being able to design content that works with a specific space. With Obscura, Sepe designed a custom video projection system with on-the-fly controls for rotation, scaling, stretching, masking and letterbox correction in order to compensate for in-the-field corrections that allows them to illuminate just about any surface area.

Above: Projection from Tesla trunk camera onto a near-by building

Be sure to check out more from the Racing Extinction film, crew, and cast and check out this one-of-a-kind, modified Tesla Model S in action. 


Source (and photos): Tom Sepe