Tesla boss Elon Musk has confirmed that its new minibus will be based on the same platform as the Model X. He also hinted that a van is on the way as the details of his second ‘master plan’ start to fall into place.
In typical Elon Musk style, the Tesla overlord confirmed the minibus in a tweet, before following up with more that all but confirmed more announcements are on the way.
The Tesla boss first responded to a piece on Jalopnik, which suggested that Tesla’s new bus might in fact be a microbus that finally puts an end to VW’s endless line of concept Combi-style microbus renders.
A typical Musk Tweet…
Musk chimed in to end the debate, clearly and definitively.
Some good guessing by @Jalopnik. The Tesla Minibus will be built on a Model X chassis. People density potential is surprisingly high.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 29, 2016
Tesla has built its reputation on fast and luxurious cars and now we have the more affordable, high-volume Model 3. The Model X was an on-the-fly response to the global demand for big and powerful SUVs and now it’s back to the quest for world domination.
Autonomous tech can drive change
That means buses, heavy electric trucks and commercial vehicles that could change urban transport as we know it. Combined with autonomous technology, which will be good enough to remove drivers from the equation one day, this could be the game-changer.
The recent death of a driver using the Model S Autopilot technology won’t help this cause, but it will not derail the plan altogether. Autonomous buses and trucks are coming, it’s just a matter of when.
Musk also confirmed the pick-up truck as part of the second master plan and he has now hinted that an electric van with the capacity to charge and power tools could easily follow on from that. The Tesla boss said himself that the company needs to create a diverse range and needs to use the same platforms to create a variety of models.
In response to a random question on Twitter about a van, he said:
@JamesRossi100 probably makes sense to build off the pickup truck chassis
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 31, 2016
Musk thought Tesla could fail
This is standard practice in the wider automotive industry, but Tesla had to cover a broad range of options before it could begin to explore the niche options. He also insisted Tesla had to boostrap itself, paying for the development of the cheaper models with the low-volume, high-ticket sales.
He freely admits he thought the venture might fail and he only wanted to risk his own money. How times have changed…
Europe, though, is not a big market for pick-up trucks and the Ford Transit reigns supreme as the workman’s vehicle of choice. If Tesla can produce a van that takes the fight to the Transit and takes full advantage of government incentives that go with electric motoring, then it could have an instant nailed-on hit on its hands that makes the Model S pale into insignificance.
We’re looking forward to it.