By on July 21, 2016

Tesla Building Circa March 2015

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s vision for his company’s future covers all the automotive bases, from personal vehicles to commercial trucks and transit fleets.

In a blog post on Tesla’s website, Musk spelled out the steps of his “Master Plan, Part Deux” — a long-term update of his previous decade-long business plan. With the Model 3 on the way in late 2017, the old plan has come to an end, so the company’s founder is looking for other things to power with electricity.

Tesla has big plans to partner with SolarCity on solar energy, but the company is an automaker first and foremost. With this in mind, the company plans to plug the holes in its lineup, offering a new small SUV and a pickup to cover remaining market segments.

Musk didn’t provide a timeline for the future vehicles, which isn’t surprising. Getting the Model 3 into production and clearing its huge reservation list will keep the company busy for at least the next two years. Design work might go on in the background.

The plan goes further than just cars and trucks, with heavy-duty trucks and an urban transit system being another goal.

“Both are in the early stages of development at Tesla and should be ready for unveiling next year,” Musk wrote. “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.”

As for the transit system, Musk fleshed out a vision he first mentioned at a Norwegian transportation summit in April:

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.

Musk said he plans to continue development of the Autopilot system, moving it from a semi-autonomous driving aid to a fully autonomous system — the kind that would allow an occupant to sleep or read a book. His goal is to offer a system that’s 10 times safer (per miles driven) than the fleet average.

The CEO shot back at critics who want the current Autopilot system removed from Tesla vehicles. As he’s done before, Musk pointed out the number of miles driven on Autopilot and the many updates to the system.

“It would no more make sense to disable Tesla’s Autopilot, as some have called for, than it would to disable autopilot in aircraft, after which our system is named.”

Autonomous driving would allow Tesla to roll out a planned ride-hailing service, which would use privately owned vehicles as the fleet. Owners could earn money to counter the cost of the vehicles, Musk claimed, which is a dream come true for people who wish their car would pay for itself.

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49 Comments on “Tesla Pickup, Compact SUV all Part of Elon Musk’s New Master Plan...”


  • avatar
    mustang462002

    What the hell are truckers and bus drivers supposed to do for a living?

    • 0 avatar
      SlowMyke

      Sit patiently in the driver’s seat and keep their hands on the steering wheel in case of an emergency situation where they need to resume control over the vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      dddwww

      The same thing buggy whip makers, cobblers and gas light lighters did, find a new job.

    • 0 avatar
      redliner

      Become a truck mechanic or learn how to code.

    • 0 avatar
      mstover

      Same thing that pilots do today….they become redundant equipment. New commercial aircraft can take off and land all by themselves. The pilot is needed for emergencies and taxiing out and back due to FAA regulations.

      If this system in trucks gets good enough, truck drivers can switch to new jobs…just as buggy whip manufacturers had to do.

    • 0 avatar
      Speed3

      I am quoting from Economist Scott Sumner’s recent blog post, “Back in 1967, the US steel industry employed about 780,000 workers, and produced about 115 million tons of steel. By 2015, employment had fallen to 90,000, producing about 79 million tons of steel. In both years the US consumed about 130 million tons of steel. ”

      Technology and productivity gains have always made some jobs obsolete. However new jobs open up.

      If I were an uber/cab/bus driver, I would certainly be aware that the clock is ticking and proactively figuring out the next act my career.

      Yes, the transition between jobs or careers sucks, but a lot of drivers might be better off doing something else.

      Society will certainly be better off when the efficiencies of electric, autonomous, ubers shuttle us around.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “If I were an uber/cab/bus driver, I would certainly be aware that the clock is ticking and proactively figuring out the next act my career.”

        How many people out their are astute enough to realize that their job is becoming redundant let alone those populating those occupations?

    • 0 avatar
      wristtwist

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU

      I’m just going to leave this here.

      • 0 avatar
        TriumphDriver

        The exchange between Henry Ford/a senior Ford manager and Walter Reuther (head of the CIO) may or may not be apocryphal but it is relevant nonetheless. It was allegedly pointed out to Reuther that none of the machines on the production line paid dues to the UAW. Reuther immediately responded that they didn’t buy Fords either.
        Most of the progress since buggy whip days has indeed led to more and in many cases better paid jobs, but it seems to me that automation has changed that scenario. Given the way the surplus value created accrues almost entirely to the owners of capital, we are confronted with a weakening of demand as workers become under-employed or cease to participate at all.
        If we continue on this path don’t be surprised if at some point your autonomous trucks and vehicles become targets of sabotage. The Luddites had a point, although the subtlety of their views is largely lost today.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Personally, the CUV prospect is most appealing, but it sounds like it won’t be available anytime near the Model 3. This means I probably won’t be switching my Model 3 pre-order to a mythical Model Y.

    The efficiency of a heavy truck EV could be very compelling to short-haul local providers. But for long-haul, I’m not so sure. In that case, time is money, and even the quickest recharge rates won’t cut it, not to mention the inordinate energy required to do a long haul in the first place.

    As for a pickup EV: I can see it appealing to those who buy pickups but don’t use them for any work duty. But having a pickup EV seamlessly take over F-150 duties in central Texas? That’s asking a lot, but we’ll see. A Tesla pickup could easily win the ‘torque wars’.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Didn’t you hear? That “mythical Model Y” was intended to be a pickup truck somewhere around 2020 according to Musk over three years ago.

      As for the use of a pickup, even in central Texas, exactly how many of them get used as trucks on runs longer than about 200 miles? It seems an electric would offer all the benefits of huge torque and superior fuel economy equivalence. Sure, there will be some who just have to off-road their sport trucks and some who just have to carry or tow heavy loads the entire width or height of the state, but the vast majority of them hardly ever leave metropolitan areas and run between regional towns and cities typically only 30-50 miles apart.

      I’ll grant I don’t live in the region but where I live is heavily agricultural and still pickups on average are little more than family cars with the ability to carry or tow at need.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Vulpine – any EV truck will do fine in urban dense areas. In my part of the world? Not so much.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          While I didn’t say it in so many words, I thought I made it clear that there will be, at least for a while yet, a need for ICE in more extreme use. Someone who puts more than 200 miles on their truck on a regular basis or tows/carries very heavy loads regularly will more likely want and need a full-sized ICE pickup. I’m fine with that. By appearances, at least 50% of all pickup truck owners simply don’t have that usage model.

          On average, anyone who owns a boat rarely tows it more than 50 miles to reach water. On average, anyone who owns an RV rarely tows it more than 200 miles to reach a campsite. Yes, again there are exceptions; people who use boats for a living such as professional fishermen or racing, as an example. People who live in their RVs and travel around the country, spending anywhere from a week to 4 months or more at a given site before moving on. These people need more than most and a BEV offers the torque and the range (based on the current Model S) to meet the average need and then some. I expect a truck version would also carry bigger motors and/or lower gearing with much heftier hardware to handle those loads regularly, even if that capability is never used in the manner intended by the OEM (just as such technology is currently used by the operator in every brand currently on the road by a minority of drivers.)

          It’s possible, though not exactly probable, that a BEV truck could even meet your needs–if designed right. On the other hand, a hefty fuel cell generator feeding those batteries could well cover all your needs–again, if designed right.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Vulpine – current technology would mean a very heavy pickup to have the range and capacity out side of urban dense areas.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I don’t think it would be as heavy as you do; the Model S still weighs in at just under that of a current full-sized truck and it would only need about 30-50kWh more to offer the same range as an S95 while towing. That wouldn’t make it that much heavier than an existing half-ton or three-quarter-ton truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      As a pickup owner an electric pickup is appealing. I’ve spent a few days behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Volt; the electric drivetrain is fantastic. Its is by far the most enjoyable to drive compact I’ve ever experienced and that’s entirely a function of the electric drivetrain.

      However I must agree about charge rates and range. On my many road trips I’ll do 1000 miles in a day. EV tech just isn’t there yet. I want to recharge a 350 mile range in 3-4 minutes.

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    It will be interesting to see how the energy problem is solved in dense urban environments. I’m pretty sure the roof real estate here could not hold enough solar panels to power the building, but perhaps I’m wrong on that.

    This plan will require a ramp in battery production even larger than the existing model 3 ramp. That’s going to be a huge challenge given the raw material availability for existing technologies.

    It’s gonna be an interesting decade. :)

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Solar panels on the roof could serve a double purpose. If raised even as little as six inches off the roof itself, the panels would absorb the majority of the solar heat, shading the roof and reducing the radiant heating of the roofing material by perhaps 50°F or more. That could help cool the interior significantly

  • avatar
    yamahog

    I just wonder whether the future tesla models will come in time for private car ownership. I like driving and would like to own a neat project car in the future (Citroen DS? ’64 Buick Riveria? Austin Mini?) but I don’t see the point of owning my own car just for commuting / going out to visit friends and impairing my ability to drive.

  • avatar

    Musk better get profitable in a hurry. The next administration may put an end to the subsidies and tax credits he and his customers have enjoyed up to now.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      What Federal subsidies and tax credits does Tesla receive?

      • 0 avatar

        Tesla’s received $4.9 billion dollars in Federal and State aid in the last 10 years according to a May 30 article in the LA Times.

        Then there’s that $7500 tax credit the buyers receive.

        I don’t care what has been done in the past. We’ve got a 19 trillion dollar deficit. Anything the country is doing like this is akin to buying a yacht while your house is being repossessed.

        • 0 avatar
          Louis XVI

          Where do you get the idea that we have a 19 trillion dollar deficit? According to the CBO, the deficit is currently $534 billion, while the total national debt is $14 trillion. Moreover, the deficit has fallen for six consecutive years, and is currently only about 1/3 as big as it was during the peak of the recession.

          • 0 avatar

            I sense someone trying to make me violate the “Six Rules.”

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/federal-debt-tops-19400000000000 :

            At the close of business on Monday, July 18, the total federal debt was $19,391,094,247,028.26, according to the Treasury. By the close of business on Tuesday, July 19, it had risen to $19,402,361,890,929.46.

            On Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, Congress passed the “Bipartisan Budget Act,” which suspended the legal debt limit until March 15, 2017. President Obama signed that bill into law on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015

            At the close of business on Oct. 30, the federal debt stood at $18,152,981,685,747.52.

            In the less than nine months since then, the federal debt has increased by $1,249,380,205,181.94

            ———————————————–

            That sounds like a deficit far in excess of 534 billion, seeing as we’ve borrowed almost two and a half times that much over what has been stolen from the citizenry in the past nine months.

          • 0 avatar

            Thank you sir. A gentleman and a PATRIOT.

        • 0 avatar
          Ugliest1

          *sigh* That $4.9 billion was a LOAN, and paid back by Tesla to the government including interest a couple of years ago. Tesla was not the only company to get money out of that particular budget either… however Tesla had one of the least amounts. That bastion of journalistic impeccability the LA Times has misrepresented the truth again, if @WR is correctly quoting that article.

          The $7,500 tax break does not go to Tesla. That goes to a purchaser of ANY make of electric (new alternative fuel technology) car, and said purchaser will only get the full $7,500 if they make a high enough income. Once ANY company sells 200,000 electric cars in the US, that $7,500 tax credit to purchasers reduces to zero over several quarters.

          • 0 avatar

            They paid off a $465 million dollar Department of Energy loan. The 4.9 billion dollar handout is factual and correct.

            *sigh*

          • 0 avatar
            orenwolf

            It wasn’t a cheque. That figure includes CAFE credits and tax savings on factories. You know, like every auto plant ever gets as an incentive to build in a particular jurisdiction. By that reasoning any time you reduce your tax bill you are getting “money from the government.”

            The only big dollar cheque loan from the government they paid back.

            https://www.rt.com/usa/264065-musk-tesla-government-subsidies/

          • 0 avatar
            Louis XVI

            WhiskeyRiver, do you understand the difference between the deficit and the federal debt?

            ToddAtlas, I don’t know who “cnsnews.com” is, but I’ll accept that that’s the total debt as of July 19. My understanding of the status of the deficit and debt is based upon the Congressional Budget Office’s latest estimate for the fiscal year as a whole, which can be found here: https://www.cbo.gov/topics/budget

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Do you know who the US Treasury is, because cnsnews linked to their sources? Do you understand the difference between the deficit and the CBO’s number, since the debt is growing faster than their stated deficit? If you expect truthfulness from this regime after all these years of shameless lying, then that’s on you.

          • 0 avatar
            Ugliest1

            @WR my bad conflating the $465m loan with the Gigafactory $4.9b in tax breaks over the next 20 years, tied to specific deliverables and allowing Reno/Nevada to gain significant benefits in taxes, employment, etc. It wasn’t a handout, which was my main point.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      That’s no different than what BAFO will say about the Chicken tax making the Tesla pickup possible when the sun comes up in Oz.

    • 0 avatar
      quiksilver180

      Right, just like the big three haven’t received any funding in the past… oh wait.

      It’s surprising for all the bashing on Tesla, an American company who makes their products and sources a majority of their parts in the US. Instead of China, Mexico or Canada.

  • avatar
    redliner

    Where are the long promised VIA plug in hybrid trucks?

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Awesome! A pickup with an easy-to-soap roof.

    Just don’t drive off the gravel, ground’s still soft from last night’s rain.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      The plan says “a new kind of pickup truck” – I’m imagining a Tesla-mino. Maybe Choo-Choo Customs will be willing to design an SS package for them?

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Why, PD, I had no idea you were in Chattanooga.

        As for what kind of pickup… I would hope something a little more compact than today’s mid-sized trucks. That Es-camino actually sounds like a good idea, but not a likely one unless they make it 2.5 doors.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Musk may get a free pass on reliability problems from his Model S fanboys and girls, but wait ’til he starts selling trucks and buses to commercial fleets.

    He’ll be like Flxible in the 1980s, their legal department was bigger than their engineering department.

  • avatar
    Disaster

    Musk and Tesla are spreading themselves much to thinly. He needs to concentrate on the matters at hand, meeting production orders and improving quality. If the Model 3 has the same quality as the Model X it will be a total disaster.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “If the Model 3 has the same quality as the Model X it will be a total disaster.”

      True, but the Model 3 is a substantially simpler design than the X, or even the S. I’m confident they’re learning and applying many lessons.

      My EV benchmark will be my former 12 Leaf, which was an exceptionally reliable and well-built vehicle. Its pitfalls were more rooted in its design, such as its lying gas gauge and terrible nav system.

  • avatar
    Jimmy7

    Stock price getting soft? Just add vaporware!

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Every company has “vaporware”.

      Is it still vaporware after a functioning concept vehicle is shown?

      Is it still vaporware until a consumer actually buys one?

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    Tesla may find niche markets around the world. Fracking and $50 oil will ruin the EV in most major markets for the next 20 years.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Fracking is ruining drinking water and crops with the toxic chemicals they use to ‘loosen’ the oil.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      Nah EVs can sell on their own merits. Drive a Volt and a Cruze/Civic/Corolla back to back and tell me you don’t prefer the Volt. Once prices come down and charging happens more rapidly you’ll see more mainstream adoption.

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