Tesla looks to energy, self-driving trucks and buses
Tesla CEO Elon Musk lays out his “master plan, part deux”
Tech visionary Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and Space X, has big plans for growing the electric car manufacturer. Included in what he calls his “master plan, part deux” is the development of fully autonomous trucks and buses.
It starts with energy, Musk says. He’s also the chairman of a solar provider called Sun City. He sees a solar-dominated future where individuals are in control of harvesting, storing and using energy.
“We can’t do this well if Tesla and SolarCity are different companies, which is why we need to combine and break down the barriers inherent to being separate companies. That they are separate at all, despite similar origins and pursuit of the same overarching goal of sustainable energy, is largely an accident of history. Now that Tesla is ready to scale Powerwall and SolarCity is ready to provide highly differentiated solar, the time has come to bring them together.”
From there, Musk details expanding Tesla product offerings to include “heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport. Both are in the early stages of development at Tesla and should be ready for unveiling next year. We believe the Tesla Semi will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate.”
Then, on to self-driving vehicles. “With the advent of autonomy, it will probably make sense to shrink the size of buses and transition the role of bus driver to that of fleet manager. Traffic congestion would improve due to increased passenger areal density by eliminating the center aisle and putting seats where there are currently entryways, and matching acceleration and braking to other vehicles, thus avoiding the inertial impedance to smooth traffic flow of traditional heavy buses. It would also take people all the way to their destination. Fixed summon buttons at existing bus stops would serve those who don’t have a phone. Design accommodates wheelchairs, strollers and bikes.”
Once fleets of Teslas are driving themselves, the vehicle ownership paradigm will morph into something more like today’s sharing economy.
Musk sums up his continuing master plan:
- 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