Ten Years Later: Musk’s New Tesla Master Plan

When Elon Musk put out his original master plan for Tesla Motors back in 2006, it seemed more than just a little ambitious.  Some might have even called it crazy.  Musk himself is willing to look back now at those early days and admit he thought chances at success were low, saying that “starting a car company is idiotic and an electric car company is idiocy squared.”

Idiotic or not, you can’t argue with success.  Thousands of Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles are now on the road and the Model 3 is slated for production sometime in 2017.  10 years after his first plan was released, Tesla has achieved nearly every goal set out by its co-founder, so Musk has unveiled his “Master Plan, Part Deux.”

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Musk summarizes the new plan like this:


  • 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

That’s a very brief recap of a lot of ideas.  For now, let’s focus on expanding electric vehicles to all major segments and enabling your car to make you money.

Now that Tesla has consumer vehicles covered, Musk has plans to develop electric semi trucks and passenger buses.  He expects the Tesla Semi to “deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate.”

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The idea for Tesla’s electric bus is to ease traffic congestion by making the buses smaller and lighter.  It would work by “matching acceleration and braking to other vehicles, thus avoiding the inertial impedance to smooth traffic flow of traditional heavy buses.”

Musk also has a big plan for Tesla owners to be able to make money as part of a car-sharing program.  This would be pretty far down the line, as the concept is based around cars that are capable of driving themselves.  It sounds pretty futuristic even by today’s standards, but your car would basically be available for rent by anyone while you’re at work or on vacation.  Folks would be able to just push a button on their Tesla phone app and summon your car when they need it.  Musk sees this as a way to offset ownership costs “to the point where almost anyone could own a Tesla.”

Elon Musk’s ideas might seem ahead of their time, but considering how far Tesla Motors has come in the decade since the first master plan was revealed, it’s pretty hard to bet against them.