Tesla CEO Elon Musk has updated the renewable energy/car manufacturer’s project road map with a number of significant changes and forthcoming electric vehicle and home solar projects.
Musk begins by reiterating the original vision, called the Master Plan:
The first master plan that I wrote 10 years ago is now in the final stages of completion. It wasn’t all that complicated and basically consisted of:
- Create a low volume car, which would necessarily be expensive
- Use that money to develop a medium volume car at a lower price
- Provide solar power. No kidding, this has literally been on our website for 10 years.
With that plan now drawing to a close, it’s goals accomplished, Musk says he felt it was time to update them. He then re-explains his rationale for creating Tesla in the first place, and how the old manifesto and this updated one play into what Musk calls “the larger picture.”
Musk outlines the projects Tesla and Solar City are working on now that both companies are one and the same, starting with a sweeping plan to make solar panels affordable, aesthetically pleasing and dead simple to install, use, monitor and maintain. In short, Musk sees the combination of Tesla and Solar city as the world’s first renewable energy enterprise.
Musk then touches on the current state of Telsa’s electric vehicle line. With the affordable Tesla Model 3 set to roll off the production line this year, the automaker is now turning their attention to not only very particular kinds of vehicles — Musk specifically points out a compact SUV and a utility as goals — but also to “heavy-duty trucks and high-passenger-density urban transport.”
That’s right, Tesla’s working on electric buses and semi-trailers now. And they think they’ll be ready to unveil the Tesla Semi next year. And they want their buses to be fully automated and controlled by a single remote manager rather than an army of drivers.
Brace yourself, however, because Musk isn’t finished.
But Musk isn’t done on the topic of autonomy, going into detail on why the company is still referring to their Autopilot feature as being in beta and what would be required for it to come out of that state, into full release. Musk explains that Tesla would, for worldwide regulatory approval of the Autopilot feature, require around 10 billion kilometers of testing. At present, they’re averaging around 5 million kilometers per day through current Tesla owners simply using the software and allowing it to learn to be a safer, more responsive system. Better yet, once it’s approved, you would simply press a button on your remote to summon your Tesla to you, hop in and have it take you wherever you want while you read, work or sleep.
Ride sharing is also Tesla’s list of priorities for Autopilot. Musk states that most people are only using their cars around “5% to 10% of the day,” and that Autopilot would allow your car to zip around while you aren’t using it, picking up passengers and netting you a handy bit of extra income for your generosity — income that could be used to render any monthly repayment on the vehicle negligible and make Teslas affordable for everyone. Don’t worry if you’re not comfortable sharing your lovely Tesla with other people — Tesla will have an autonomous fleet of their own on the road doing exactly the same thing for anyone who has need of it.
You can read the entire, very eloquent and surprisingly candid Master Plan, Part Deux blog post right here. If Musk and his team are capable of achieving any of these lofty goals, the future will be exceedingly bright indeed. At this point, there’s no reason to think that they can’t.