Elon Musk’s highly anticipated “Master Plan Part 2” is chock full of interesting new, but vague details on Tesla’s plans but probably one of the most exciting is the new SUV and pickup consumer vehicles included…
From the Plan pt.2:
Expand to Cover the Major Forms of Terrestrial Transport Today, Tesla addresses two relatively small segments of premium sedans and SUVs. With the Model 3, a future compact SUV and a new kind of pickup truck, we plan to address most of the consumer market. A lower cost vehicle than the Model 3 is unlikely to be necessary, because of the third part of the plan described below.
We’ve known for quite awhile that Tesla was working on a compact SUV, dubbed the Model Y, that would be built on the Model 3 platform. Musk himself Tweet-stormed about it and even hinted that it might have the Falcon Wing doors of its bigger Model X cousin.
The Pickup has been talked about a little less. Earlier this year Musk told Invest Hong Kong:
“I think it is quite likely we will do a truck in the future. [Kristie asks for more details] No. I think it’s sort of logical thing for us to do in the future.”
Tesla CTO JB Straubel also got in on the act:
“I can’t say too much about the new products and the things we are developing, but from a pure technology point of view, everything that we’ve done on vehicles translates directly into trucks. There’s no reason that today you can’t make a very compelling electric truck. They can charge at same sort of times as a Model S – as one of our passenger vehicles – and have the same economy of operation.
That sector hasn’t seen the same type of innovation. It’s a bit more conservative and obviously people don’t want to take risks on the end business, which is to move kilograms from A to B, but I think we will see that coming back – especially perhaps as fuel prices tend to rebound. You know there was a lot more interest in this a few years ago when fuel prices were much higher.”
The Truck idea isn’t new however.
Musk has been talking about a Truck forever. During a Tesla owners event in 2013, Musk discussed his idea for a Tesla truck:
“I am quite keen on building a truck and I think there’s a lot one can do with truck technology.
One of the things that I think should be present in trucks is something like an air suspension that dynamically adjusts the load and sorta keeps the angle of the truck correct and the ride height even and adjust the dampening in real-time. Because the challenge you have with any vehicle where there’s a big potential difference between the minimum and maximum load is that the suspension is always wrong and usually wrong by a lot.
I was driving an F-250 down the 405 one day and honestly that thing… it was resonating on 405 on the little ridges. I thought my teeth were going to rattle out of my head. If you put load on it it’s fine, but if you’re empty it’s not. It would be good to do that and obviously to make it light and really handle well. That’s where having a battery pack low can improve the center of gravity. I think it’s possible to produce a really well handling truck that feels good at any load point. That would be really great.”
After winning the Motor Trend Car of the Year in late 2012 Musk told an interviewer:
We have this idea for an electric truck that could really be a big improvement in truck technology. I’m really excited about bringing out a whole series of cars that address a wide range of consumer interests and needs. I do think it will be interesting to do self-driving cars, perhaps working in conjunction with Google, who’s quite close to us in Silicon Valley.
After an interview in 2013 Musk said:
Musk’s comments about the truck came after he was asked whether Tesla would ever make a fleet truck for the likes of FedEx or UPS. He said that, yes, Tesla was planning to make a truck, but not a commercial one, because the market opportunity for commercial trucks is much smaller. Musk said the Tesla truck would be modeled on Ford’s F-Series in part because of that truck’s remarkable popularity.
60,000 F-150s were sold in the month of September.
When are we going to find out more about these vehicles?
I would expect now that they are official to hear about them at upcoming tesla events as early as this month at the Gigafactory and possibly at the end of the year when we have a second Model 3 announcement. If the schedule progresses like Model S/X, we’ll see the Model 3 ramp to full production before Model Y (and Model P?) hit the assembly line.
No Lower cost vehicle?
Perhaps most interesting here is that Tesla plans to ‘monetize’ its car fleet by turning them into an Automated Uber fleet while you are at work or not using your car. Your automated Tesla turns into an Uber while you aren’t using it, making a bunch of cash that can go toward your monthly payments.
Incredible…and just a few years away.