With Master Plan Part Deux Still a Work in Progress, Elon Musk Teases Master Plan 4

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Elon Musk outlined Tesla's brilliant Master Plan in August 2006, describing the strategy toward sustainable mobility. Since then, Musk has refined Tesla's objectives in Master Plan, Part Deux, and commissioned a Master Plan 3 for the whole of humankind. Less than a year later, Musk is already working on Master Plan 4, although previous plans are still a work in progress.
Elon Musk's original Master Plan, titled "The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan (just between you and me)," was considered a masterpiece of strategic thinking, owed mainly to its simplicity. In a few words, the plan was to build an expensive sports car (the Roadster), use the money to fund the production of a more affordable car (the Model S), and double that to finance an even more affordable car (the Model 3), all while providing zero-emission electric power generation options (solar).

Although it wasn't easy, Tesla ticked all the boxes, so Musk went on with Master Plan, Part Deux, in 2016. This expanded the original plan's scope, adding more scale and new objectives, including autonomous driving capabilities and robotaxis. Although it mainly sounded like "more of the same," the second master plan is still a work in progress. Tesla lacks models in many important market segments, while Full Self-Driving has been demoted to the driver-assist category. Despite Musk's optimism, autonomous driving and Tesla robotaxi remain a pipe dream.

Despite still working on most of the objectives in Part Deux, Musk announced last year a new Master Plan. Unlike the first two, this one was much broader, requiring the work of a larger "Tesla team," as the signature reveals. This was no longer a cool blog post but a fact-laden document with over 40 slides comprising graphics and spreadsheets.

It's no wonder nobody is talking about Master Plan 3, considering that it takes a data analyst or a scientist to understand what it's all about. It's much easier to understand what it wasn't about. The third master plan is not about Tesla anymore but humanity as a whole. The EV maker's name only appears 14 times in the document. In eight instances, it's underneath or inside tables, the rest being references to better understand the overall picture.

It's impossible to tell when all the objectives in Master Plan 3 are fulfilled because they are so vague. This was probably the excuse for a more detailed Master Plan, which Musk said it is already working on. Hopefully, Master Plan 4 will be as straightforward as the first two master plans. I don't think anybody cares or wants to read another cryptic document put together by what's left of the Tesla team after the recent layoffs.

Musk didn't offer details about the new plan, but it certainly rimes with what he said earlier during the shareholder meeting. Specifically, this year's Cyber Roundup is not just opening a new chapter for Tesla but "starting a new book." It's unclear what this means, although if I had to take a wild guess, I'd say it's about AI and robotics. These are Musk's newest and most shiny toys these days, and they seem like they're about to toss the Master Plan Part Deux into the bin.

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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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