Elon Musk’s Vision Includes New Cars, Car Sharing, and SolarCity Deal
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk published his “master plan part 2” on Wednesday night that disclosed a wide-ranging vision for his companies including new future Tesla vehicles, car sharing, urban planning concepts, and a combined SolarCity and Tesla that would sell solar panels and batteries.
Musk, who is the largest shareholder in both Tesla and SolarCity, emphasized that the companies must be joined in order to efficiently make and sell solar panels and batteries. A month ago, Tesla announced that it was seeking to buy SolarCity for $2.86 billion.
While shareholders initially reacted negatively to the deal, causing Tesla’s shares to drop dramatically, in recent weeks Tesla’s stock regained their lost value, indicating investors could now be more comfortable with the merger. Musk told the Wall Street Journal this week that he expects a two-thirds majority to approve the deal.
Musk also said that the only reason that the companies weren’t combined from the beginning was because of “an accident of history.” Musk clarified in a tweet that the companies “should have been done under the same corporate umbrella from the beginning.”
The post wasn’t just a merger pitch, but in Musk’s usual grandiose style he ticked off the goals and driving forces behind all of his business decisions. His over arching ambition, he said, is to deliver “sustainable energy” and end the world’s reliance on fossil fuels. He published the first part of his “master plan” a decade ago during the very early days of Tesla (TSLA) and SolarCity (SCTY).
For more on our review on Tesla’s Model X SUV watch our video.
In Musk’s blog post, he revealed plans for new future Tesla vehicles, including a semi truck (Tesla Semi), a future compact SUV, a new kind of pickup truck, and what he described as “high-density urban transport,” or a bus. The company has hinted about most of these cars before over the years, but this is the first time I’ve heard about a possible Tesla bus.
Musk said that the semi and the urban transport system are in “early stages of development” and could be ready to unveil in 2017. The “Tesla Semi” would lower the cost of transporting cargo and would also make cargo transport safer, said Musk.
Musk also described a more well-designed urban bus that would be smaller, autonomous, free of passenger aisles, and would take riders all the way to their destinations. Bus drivers would be fleet managers, wrote Musk.
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Musk’s transport vision also includes car sharing, which analysts have speculated that Tesla would pursue for some time. Tesla customers could add their cars to a “shared fleet” by tapping a button on a Tesla phone app, wrote Musk. That could lower the cost of ownership of a Tesla, because it could generate income for you, he said.
Autonomous cars were also a major theme laid out by Musk as way for cars to travel more safely and to be managed as a group.
In May, a Tesla car crashed while its autonomous car software was enabled, marking the first known fatality in an autonomous car. U.S. regulators are investigating the accident.
Finally, Musk also discussed his concept of making his factories more efficient and innovative, which he calls “the machine behind the machine.” (Read more about his industrialization plans here).
Next week Tesla will hold a customer party at its “gigafactory,” a massive battery factory under construction outside of Reno, Nev. SolarCity is also building a factory in upstate New York with a plan to churn out highly efficient solar panels.