New Tesla Master Plan Includes Expanded Lineup, Tesla Semi | Edmunds

New Tesla Master Plan Includes Expanded Lineup, Tesla Semi


PALO ALTO, California — The heavily hyped new Tesla master plan includes an expanded product line "to address all major segments," along with a Tesla semi truck and an urban transport vehicle.

But car shoppers should not expect a cheaper vehicle that would slot in below the 2018 Tesla Model 3 sedan, which will start at around $35,000.

In addition, all Tesla vehicles will be self-driving in the future, despite the ongoing concerns about the company's semi-automated Autopilot system following a fatal May crash.

The truck and the urban transport vehicle — basically, a self-driving bus — "are in the early stages of development at Tesla and should be ready for unveiling next year," wrote Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a blog post late Wednesday entitled "Master Plan, Part Deux."

The original plan debuted 10 years ago and previewed such vehicles as the Model 3 and the company's commitment to solar power.

"Today, Tesla addresses two relatively small segments of premium sedans and SUVs," Musk wrote. "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."

The current Tesla lineup includes the 2016 Tesla Model S sedan and the 2016 Tesla Model X SUV.

Musk said the electric automaker intends to "cover the major forms of terrestrial transport" in the near future and focus on a "sustainable energy economy" that ends dependence on fossil fuels.

"If part one of Elon Musk's master plan was like putting a man on the moon, part two is a lot more like colonizing the galaxy," said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds.com director of industry analysis. "The plan sounds overly ambitious for now, especially considering that there are already doubts about whether Tesla can meet its goals for the next two years.

"That said, Tesla's goals are far different from that of other automakers because they start and end with completely eliminating the need for fossil fuels. Its competition, meanwhile, is focused on mobility solutions first, and energy sources second."

The new master plan does not provide pricing information, specifications or details on production.

But followers of the company will be intrigued by what Musk has in mind.

The Tesla Semi "will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate," according to the new master plan.

The urban transport vehicle, a type of bus, would feature seats where there are currently entryways and include fixed "summons buttons" at existing bus stops to serve those who don't have a phone.

Autonomous driving will be a key part of the future at Tesla.

"As technology matures, all Tesla vehicles will have the hardware necessary to be fully self-driving with fail-operational capability, meaning that any given system in the car could break and your car will still drive itself safely," Musk wrote.

A fully self-driving Tesla vehicle can be summoned "from pretty much anywhere," according to Musk's vision.

"Once it picks you up, you will be able to sleep, read or do anything else en route to your destination," he wrote.

Musk foresees a day when Tesla owners will be able to add their car to the Tesla shared fleet by tapping a button on the Tesla phone app and having it generate income for the owner.

"This dramatically lowers the true cost of ownership to the point where almost anyone could own a Tesla," Musk wrote.

Musk's 4.4 million Twitter followers received regular updates about the new master plan in the hours before its unveiling.

They included Musk's pledge to "pull an all-nighter to complete the master product plan" and a more recent tweet that said he was "finishing off the plan while listening to the soundtrack of Gatsby. Seems appropriate..."

Edmunds says: The wraps come off of Tesla's grand vision, but many questions remain about how it will get off the launch pad.

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