Musk Outlines Phase Two for Tesla Motors

Published: July 22, 2016 4:16 PM /


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Tesla Motors founder and CEO Elon Musk has announced the company will be entering its second stage. The post states that Tesla has achieved the goals that he outlined 10 years ago. The original plan was to create an electric sports car and use the money raised from that to eventually expand into a wider range of cars. The reason for starting with a sports car was because the low volume would make it cheaper to manufacture than other types of vehicles. Since Tesla has expanded beyond sports cars and now offers a luxury sedan and SUV models, Musk considers the original master plan to be completed.

The first point in his new master plan is to merge Tesla Motors with SolarCity, a solar panel company he founded. He wants to integrate home power generation and storage with his electric vehicle business. People will be able to use their solar panel roof to charge up their electric car, and the two systems will work together perfectly. Musk intends to offer, "One ordering experience, one installation, one service contact, one phone app." Tesla has already proposed an acquisition of SolarCity, and Musk told reporters he expects two-thirds of Tesla investors to support the deal.

The second point in the master plan is to expand into a larger range of vehicles. Musk states that Tesla will produce a compact SUV and a pickup truck in the near future. Beyond that, the longer-term goal is to create even larger vehicles such as semi trucks and buses. Musk believes that a Tesla Semi could greatly decrease the cost of transporting goods.

The new master plan also focuses on the importance of self-driving vehicles. Tesla already has a beta version of its autopilot system, which still requires a driver to remain alert and ready to take over the vehicle, but the system continues to improve as more miles are driven. Musk states that their Autopilot system is already safer than a human driver, based on automobile fatality statistics, but the beta label won't be removed until the system is 10 times safer than a human driver.

Musk expects that once the system is safe enough and there are a sufficient number of miles driven with the autopilot to prove its safety, regulators will approve self-driving cars which no longer require a human driver to be ready to take over. In this stage, Musk suggests that Tesla owners can earn money from their vehicles in a system comparable to Uber. When a person isn't making use of their vehicle, they can let it drive someone else to their destination.

In the post Musk also explains his ultimate goals with both the previous master plan and this new one, is to reduce society's dependence on fossil fuels and switch to renewable energy sources. He states, "By definition, we must at some point achieve a sustainable energy economy or we will run out of fossil fuels to burn and civilization will collapse." He also states that sustainable energy is not "some silly, hippy thing -- it matters for everyone."

Is Musk's ambitious master plan a good direction for the company? Leave your comments below.

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I’m a technology reporter located near the Innovation District of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.