Jul 25 2016

Tesla’s New Master Plan and the Future of Electric Cars

Published by under Student blog entries

In 2006, Elon Musk released his first Master Plan for  Tesla Motors, Inc. while he was still just on the board of directors. At this time, the Roadster had yet to be released and the idea of financing an electric car company was considered laughable in the industry. He laid out a four step plan that was based around providing an inexpensive electric car through the sale of expensive ones that will gradually drive the price down to one that everyday Americans can afford. Once the Roadster was released, it became a novelty item for those that could afford it, a unique car for the rich to collect.


Courtesy of Tesla

And then the Model S dropped, resembling a mix between KIT from Night Rider and the StarShip Enterprise while also not completely breaking the bank. No longer were electric cars those ugly boxes driven by your hippy neighbor, instead its a luxury car that causes onlookers to drool in envy. In 2015, the Model S became the #1 best selling plug-in car, selling over 50,000 cars around the world.

10 years later, Musk releases his second Master Plan which highlights a new direction for the company. Now that Tesla can provide a relatively cheap electric car, with the soon to be released Model 3, the focus can be placed on improving this technology to the point where it would be dumb not to drive on of these cars. The new plan, as he puts it, is:

  1. Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage
  2. Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments
  3. Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning
  4. Enable your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it

These ideas are not just important for the next wave of Tesla cars, they’re going to make advances in other fields. The work and innovation required to build the kind of solar panels that Musk wants on his cars will lead to more efficient solar panels and better battery storage systems. The self-driving car will be a major breakthrough and represent one of the first implementations of A.I. in a system that will define the future of automotive transport.


Courtesy of Tesla

The large car companies have been scrambling to find something to topple the giant that is Tesla from the electric throne, with exciting results. The new GM Bolt intends to be released at $30,000, $5,000 cheaper than the Model 3 with the same 200 mile range. This new Master Plan, and the one before it, outline an ambitious strategy that has sparked intense competition as a result. This kind of competition can only be good for the consumer, driving down the price of electric cars while also putting a focus on energy technologies.

Much like Elon Musk’s other investments into SpaceX and the Hyperloop, the success of Tesla is not measured in dollars. Musk decided that because we “must get off fossil fuels anyway and that virtually all scientists agree that dramatically increasing atmospheric and oceanic carbon levels is insane, the faster we achieve sustainability, the better” (Musk, 2016) and invested his own money to drive a much needed industry forward. When we are all driving automated electric cars within the next ten years, we will have Elon Musk to thank.


Musk, E., 2016, Master Plan, Part Deux, Tesla Motors, https://www.tesla.com/blog/master-plan-part-deux



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