Is it madness, or genius? Will it save civilization, or summon the Terminators? Either way, Tesla is determined to make the next ten years mighty interesting.
With Model S in a vigorous prime and Model 3 gestating, Elon Musk’s first master plan is nearing completion. That plan, unveiled 10 years ago, is familiar to Charged readers: expensive, low-volume Roadster enables slightly less expensive Model S, which makes possible moderately priced, high-volume Model 3, as rooftop solar panels gleam in the background.
In a blog post, the Seer of Silicon Valley recaps his journey so far: an “idiotic” quest whose “chances of success were so low that I didn’t want to risk anyone’s funds in the beginning but my own.”
“Part of the reason I wrote the first master plan was to defend against the inevitable attacks Tesla would face…it pretty much completely failed that objective. However, the main reason was to explain how our actions fit into a larger picture.”
The point, of course, is “accelerating the advent of sustainable energy, so that we can imagine far into the future and life is still good.”
Master Plan, Part Deux:
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
The full blog post is well worth reading, but here’s a brief summary of the tasks Tesla has set itself:
Integrate Energy Generation and Storage – Create a smoothly integrated and beautiful solar-roof-with-battery product that just works, empowering the individual as their own utility, and then scale that throughout the world. One ordering experience, one installation, one service contact, one phone app.
Expand to Cover the Major Forms of Terrestrial Transport – With the Model 3, a future compact SUV and a new kind of pickup truck, we plan to address most of the consumer market.
In addition to consumer vehicles, there are two other types of electric vehicle needed: heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport. Both are in the early stages of development at Tesla and should be ready for unveiling next year. We believe the Tesla Semi will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate.
Autonomy – As the technology matures, all Tesla vehicles will have the hardware necessary to be fully self-driving with fail-operational capability, meaning that any given system in the car could break and your car will still drive itself safely.
Musk addresses the “too much autonomy too soon” crowd of critics, saying that “when used correctly, [Autopilot] is already significantly safer than a person driving by themselves and it would therefore be morally reprehensible to delay release simply for fear of bad press or some mercantile calculation of legal liability.”
Sharing – When true self-driving is approved…you will be able to add your car to the Tesla shared fleet just by tapping a button on the Tesla phone app and have it generate income for you while you’re at work or on vacation…This dramatically lowers the true cost of ownership to the point where almost anyone could own a Tesla.