August 3, 2016

Less than ten years ago, Tesla was a crazy idea that even the specialist motoring press couldn’t take seriously. Now Elon Musk has turned the whole car industry upside down and provided a blueprint for the future.

So how can he top the last ten years? With the Master Plan, Part Deux. That’s how.

Musk has revealed his manifesto for the coming decade and it’s a monster. One thing we’ve learned over the past decade, though, is not to call out Elon Musk on his crazy plans. That’s because they tend to work.

You can read the whole thing here, but here are the main takeaways:

The energy company hates Elon Musk now, too

tesla powerwall

Tesla is looking well beyond the car industry and wants to combine Solar City solar panels, the Tesla PowerWall battery system and the car on your driveway. That doesn’t leave much room for traditional electricity.

The bid to buy Solar City has been accepted and even though it resulted in a dip in both companies’ stock price, the long-term potential is just incredible. It’s the missing link in the whole chain and the Tesla Gigafactory in Reno, Nevada, was always going beyond cars.

Now the technology will keep moving forward and the capacity of the batteries and the power of the panels themselves should go through the roof when nanomaterials become a production reality.

This really could be the key to a zero emissions life. The next generation of solar panels should be thinner, cheaper, stronger and more effective. So it should be relatively simple to install them on the roof of most homes. Combined with a single battery that can power everything you have, this could provide clean, renewable energy for us all.

Tesla is quietly dropping the ‘Motors’ from its name and it is aiming at your whole life now.

Tesla is more committed than ever to autonomous tech

tesla autopilot

We already know there will be growing pains with the technology and the public inquest into the recent death of a driver using Autopilot in his Model S will not be the last.

But Tesla is going at autonomous technology harder than ever. Simply put, Elon Musk believes this will save lives and make the average car ten times safer.

Massive fleet learning will be used to train the software. Tesla is collecting millions of miles of data a day and the cars are going to learn to drive, one way or another.

Autopilot isn’t fully autonomous, yet, but it’s coming.

Electric trucks and buses are ready to rock our world

nikola motor truck

The Tesla Semi could look something like this Nikola Motors electric truck

Musk started with the high-priced sports cars and luxury cars, then he moved to the high-volume Model 3 and now he has set his sights on commercial transport. That will include a minibus based on the Model X platform that can transport the masses around urban centers.

With no drivers, Musk imagines a world where smaller buses run more frequently. You can call them with a smartphone app, the buses will go anywhere and drop you off at your door. So most urban dwellers won’t need a car at all.

The heavy electric rigs, meanwhile, will cut the cost of transport and the driver will be purely optional before too long. It’s bad news for the truck drivers, but haulage companies will love it.

There are lots of new cars on the way

tesla model 3

Tesla confirmed the new pick-up truck and Musk has since hinted that the company could start to exploit the different platforms with a van that could take the fight to the Ford Transit.

There are rumors of a more luxurious machine with gullwing doors on the Model 3 platform and platform sharing should open up a number of opportunities for a company as forward-thinking and flexible as Tesla.

You can rent out your Tesla

tesla model s

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

An ambitious new ‘shared fleet’ system will allow owners to make money off their car by renting it out while it’s sat idle on the driveway. This could have a serious impact on the overall costs, especially on a lease deal.

Tesla will have to contend with insurance and legislative issues, but it is slaying far bigger dragons on a daily basis and the shared fleet scheme should be a relative breeze to implement. If the cars are autonomous and ten times safer than a manually operated car, then the potential issues tend to evaporate.

So these are the main takeaways from Elon Musk’s latest manifesto. If it was anybody else, we could dismiss them as the ramblings of a madman. But it isn’t anybody else, so we’d place a fair bet on this becoming our reality before too long.

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