autoevolution
 

Tesla Master Plan "Part Deux" Focuses on Solar Power, Self-Driving, and Sharing

Let's all stand up for a moment and express our appreciation toward Elon Musk's sleepless night. For a man who isn't doing too shabby financially to willingly lose sleep over a promise made to a bunch of people he doesn't know, that's something worthy of respect.
Elon Musk 1 photo
Photo: JD Lasica via Flickr
Ten years ago, Musk penned the first Master Plan for his young company called Tesla. It was a natural progression from small-scale to medium-scale and, finally, large scale. It was basically a way for Tesla to make the money it needed to become a fully-fledged carmaker. Tesla isn't really there yet, but it seems like it will all fall into place once the Model 3 begins production.

Musk is well aware of the troubles his company faced and how easy it would have been to fail, but with good products and some very aggressive promotion tactics, Tesla now appears to be in a pretty strong position. "As of 2016, the number of American car companies that haven't gone bankrupt is a grand total of two: Ford and Tesla," he points out. "Starting a car company is idiotic and an electric car company is idiocy squared."

Before laying out the new plan, Musk takes the time to explain once again why he didn't just go on a long vacation after cashing out on PayPal and chose instead to create Tesla (and later SpaceX): "The point of all this was, and remains, accelerating the advent of sustainable energy, so that we can imagine far into the future and life is still good. That's what "sustainable" means. It's not some silly, hippy thing -- it matters for everyone."

"Integrate Energy Generation and Storage"

Just like the first part, this sequel also consists of four steps, but as the name he used lately to describe the new plan suggested, it is now more focused on products. The first point addresses the sustainability issue, which Musk believes should be resolved on an individual level. Each household must generate its own power, thus becoming energy-independent and, at the same time, reduce their carbon dioxide footprint.

Because, as you can probably imagine, Musk's vision consists of solar panels and energy storage devices that essentially create a sustainable system that can free the users from energy suppliers. To achieve this, he admits that Tesla and SolarCity have to merge, saying that the fact they are separate entities was an "accident of history" in the first place. There is no timeframe offered, but if he keeps the structure of the first plan, then the four points are probably laid out in chronological order. Besides, talks of Tesla and SolarCity becoming one company aren't exactly news.

"Expand to Cover the Major Forms of Terrestrial Transport"

Tesla's current vehicle lineup is quite restrictive, with the arrival of the Model 3 thought to open the brand up to a wider portion of the public. Musk says that "a lower cost vehicle than the Model 3 is unlikely to be necessary," and points out to the third bullet on his list for explanation, even though we have a slight suspicion he meant the fourth.

He does reveal some interesting information on the nature of the company's future models, talking about the Model 3-based crossover we all knew about, but also "a new kind of pickup truck." He then goes into a little more detail on how the manufacturing process is just as important to the success of the company as the cars themselves, saying that "Tesla engineering has transitioned to focus heavily on designing the machine that makes the machine."

The plan then notices the need for two other types of new electric vehicles: heavy-duty trucks and urban transport solutions. He says that both are in the early stages of development but should be unveiled next year.

"Autonomy"

This is a hot subject at Tesla as the company has had to endure a lot of pressure lately following the fatal accident that occurred in May when the driver of Model S running with Autopilot on was killed in a crash. Musk provides an explanation of why the company chose to deploy partial autonomy, quoting the increased safety it offers when used correctly.

He doesn't go into much detail here, but does give an important piece of information: much like Volvo has announced, Tesla too will be offering redundancy in its autonomous systems, "meaning that any given system in the car could break and your car will still drive itself safely." It's not exactly a surprise, but it's the first time any such reference is made in relation to Tesla.

Since it's not really up to him, Musk can't provide the exact date - not even an approximate one - when self-driving vehicles will be allowed to drive on the road. He does say, however, that the regulators will probably need about six billion miles covered in autonomous mode before they can begin to think about approval.

"Sharing"

This is the final point, and it paints the picture we've been presented before: car ownership the way we know it is over. With our vehicles capable of driving themselves, there's no reason why the car should sit idle in the garage for 95 percent of the time when it can be making you money.

Owners would be able to add their cars to the Tesla shared fleet simply by tapping a virtual button on the Tesla phone app. This would "significantly offset and at times potentially exceed the monthly loan or lease cost," which means that Teslas would effectively cost a lot less than their initial price tag.

Tesla would also run its own fleet in areas where demand exceeds supply, which would essentially put the company up against ride-hailing giants such as Lyft or Uber.

Even though there isn't that much new stuff, there's still plenty of information to take in. That's probably what Elon Musk felt as well since he provided a short recap at the end of his post:

* "Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage"
* "Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments"
* "Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning"
* "Enable your car to make money for you when you aren't using it"


OK, so now we know what to expect from Tesla over the coming years, and we can't say we're not excited. We could tell you a list of companies who don't share our enthusiasm since they will soon come into direct competition with Elon Musk's enterprise, but that's what happens in a free market. There's one thing we would have liked to hear about, though: world domination. And by that we mean Tesla's plans for expansion into currently virgin territories.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram X (Twitter)
About the author: Vlad Mitrache
Vlad Mitrache profile photo

"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
Full profile

 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories