Electric Pickups, Semis and Buses? Tesla has plans for all that and more.
Let us know in the comments what you think of Tesla’s new master plan.
Tesla is already a leader in fully electric vehicles, and with the release of Elon Musk’s Tesla Master Plan, Part Deux, Telsa is positioning themselves as the ultimate company for the vehicles of the future.
Hey guys, Ken here with 4WheelOnline.
Tesla’s first master plan consisted of four bullet points.
- Create a low volume car, which would necessarily be expensive
- Use that money to develop a medium volume car at a lower price
- Use that money to create an affordable, high volume car
- Provide zero emission electric power generation options.
So while Tesla didn’t hit every mark in their full master plan, they hit the key points pretty well.
The new master plan also includes four key points. One of them has to do with the purchase of solar city, which is more about homes than vehicles.
The next point is where things start to get exciting. The plan is to expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments.
But what does that mean? Well, Tesla’s current market segments include SUVs with the Model X and Premium sedans with the Model S.
One segment they mentioned was compact SUVs. Now, that seems interesting to us because we thought it was already pretty compact. Turns out though, it’s comparable to the Ford Explorer in size.
We’re thinking the compact SUV will be based on the Model 3’s frame and similar in size to the Ford Escape.
They also mentioned Pickups! Unfortunately all that they had to say about it was that it would be “a new kind of pickup truck”
So that’s exciting, but how long do you think it will be until we see a Mall crawler Tesla?
The biggest announcement was Tesla’s entrance into the commercial vehicles market.
Elon said that a Heavy Duty truck and a “High passenger-density urban transport vehicle” (aka a bus) were in the early stages of development.
Adding to that he said he believes Tesla will deliver a Semi that offers a reduction in cost of cargo transportation while increasing safety and “making it really fun to operate.”
Not drive? I guess we’re operating now.
One of the biggest issues with an electric semi is the battery. A Model S weighs about 4,500 pounds and has a range of about 250 miles.
A semi truck on the other hand can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and travel 600 miles per day. That’s a massive jump.
However, the internet is swarming with ideas on how they can make an electric semi actually reasonable. One idea is to put extra batteries in the trailers. Another is to have battery swapping stations, but the master plan didn’t go in depth.
Tesla already has a competitor in the market, Nikola Motor Company, though in a tweet they called it the ultimate compliment that Tesla and Elon are following their lead.
That’s a bit of a stretch, but as a side note… wait for it… Nikola is releasing an electric side by side in September. So be on the look out for that.
This is where we roll into the master plan’s next point. Full autonomy.
Tesla thinks that autonomous buses will revolutionize the field of urban transportation. Autonomy would allow buses to become smaller, decrease their impact on traffic and make them much easier for passengers to use.
Also he says they’re going to be quicker.
Consumer vehicles will also have full autonomy in the future, though Elon expects that approval of the technology would require 6 million, I mean billion miles of testing.
This is where we start to question Elon Musk’s estimates. Last year he did an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on reddit and was asked how SpaceX came up with the 50% probability of success for their self landing rocket’s first stage. His answer?
“I pretty much made that up. I have no idea :)”
The last point in the master plan is about ride sharing. He says most cars are only use for 5-10% of the day, and that autonomous cars could be rented out, lowering the cost of ownership. This means every Tesla could be a potential Uber or Lyft. Elon even mentions Tesla having its own fleet of autonomous chauffeurs available for rent.
One of our first questions was how would Tesla ensure riders don’t damage the vehicle. Other companies like Uber charge the rider’s credit card up to $200 for a cleaning fee. We expect that to be much higher if you damage my tesla.
The four key points of the Master Plan Part Duex:
- 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
Although not part of “the plan”, construction of Tesla’s battery plant, called the gigafactory is what makes it all possible. Without it none of the master plan can be achieved.
Tesla will be doubling worldwide production of Lithium-ion batteries.
Building the gigafactory will allow vertical integration of the electric vehicle process. They’ll be able to build all the batteries they need for their products right there in the gigafactory. All they have to do is have the raw materials shipped in, reducing overall battery costs by 30%. Seems like a no brainer.
The gigafactory is already in use, but it is only 14% complete. When it’s done it will cover 5.8 million square feet of land, and have multiple floors for a total of around 10 million square feet making it the second largest building in the world.
Another interesting point is that the vehicle and battery assembly processes will be highly automated. I guess you could call that autonomous robots building autonomous vehicles.
It’ll probably end up being robots making batteries out of humans.
Despite the heavy automation they will still employ about 6,500 people.
Elon has also said gigafactories could be built all over the world for each market. And when electric Semi trucks and Buses become a reality, he might have to do that.
If Elon Musk has his way, the future is going to be an interesting place.
What do you like about what Tesla’s got in store? Let us know in our poll and then continue the conversation in the comments below.
And don’t forget to hit the thumbs up and subscribe button, then share the video with all your friends.
Until next time, I’m Ken with 4WheelOnline and you’ve just been refreshed.