Tesla continues to execute the second version of its Master Plan, with a flurry of new product initiatives and improvements to old ones. All of this has the market in a tizzy: either Elon Musk is a genius or a complete hack. He’s either going to save humanity from fossil fuels or wind up with the most corporate debt in history.
A bus, a semi and a pickup truck. That may sound like the setup to a joke that concludes “walk into a bar,” but it’s actually part of Tesla’s newest strategy. Musk wants to make a semi-truck and a bus. Both are stabs at solving a major problem in transportation: fuel costs for massive people and thing movers. The idea behind the semi-truck is to get truckers to switch to battery-powered drivetrains, which most would probably do without hesitation in order to save on fuel costs. But the only way this will ever happen is if the truck can run for much longer than 250 miles of range, and if battery charge times go way, way down. For a trucker, every hour lost is a major complication. Tesla is no closer to solving this problem.
A pickup truck sounds like a great idea to some, but to others this might be Tesla’s biggest mistake. Do consumers want an electric pickup truck? The question is not necessarily answerable now, but research of the market suggests the answer could be a robust no. People who drive pickup trucks are very loyal. People who drive Fords love fords and those who buy Chevys love Chevy. Merely offering an electric version won’t necessarily cause a mass migration to the Apple of cars.
Extended Range Batteries
Tesla is also preparing to extend the range of its standard batteries. Reporters unearthed a reference to P100D in firmware a while ago, but the company is now confirming plans to overhaul its technology. The 100D and P100D versions of the Model X and Model S have been approved by Dutch regulators. This is thought to mean that the 100kWh power pack batteries could be in the offering relatively soon. What would this mean for drivers? The Model S could wind up getting 380 miles on one charge. The Model X would then get a shorter range, but it is safe to assume it would still be more than 300 miles on a single charge. The SUV already gets more than 250 miles a charge, so this is a good upgrade for Tesla consumers.
About the Model 3…
As everyone knows by now, the Model 3 is expected to ship hopefully in 2018 and the response for pre-orders was huge. The design elements have been partly revealed, including a new flat front (the Tesla runs on electricity so has no need for a grille).The company has simple aerodynamics, but wants to be very efficient, its drag coefficient is just .21 cd. Some design changes will be made in 2017, including making the boot opening larger in the back. Although Tesla has not said much about the interior of the car, the company did say it would eventually resemble a “spaceship.” Jalopnik believes this means the company has a big announcement coming.
As for the Autopilot feature, Tesla has been under attack for accidents and incidents which may be attributable to the feature. However, it is uncertain how many of these situations were due to the technology and how much was owing to driver error or over-reliance on the Autopilot. It appears not to matter, since Tesla is certain to go ahead with the Autopilot system in the Model 3.