Musk 'master plan' expands Tesla into trucks, buses and car sharing

Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:08pm EDT
 
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By Joseph White and Paul Lienert

(Reuters) - Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O: Quote) Chief Executive Elon Musk Wednesday unveiled an ambitious plan to expand the company into electric trucks and buses, car sharing and solar energy systems.

In a blog post titled "Master Plan, Part Deux," Musk sketched a vision of an integrated carbon-free energy enterprise offering a wider range of vehicles, and products and services beyond electric cars and batteries.

The newest elements of the strategy included plans to develop car and ride sharing programs as well as commercial vehicles - businesses where other companies already compete, and in some cases have ample head starts on Tesla.

The new vehicles range from a commercial truck called the Tesla Semi to a public transport bus, a "new kind of pickup truck" and a compact SUV. The vehicles will be unveiled next year alongside Tesla's existing fleet of electric cars.

Musk restated his argument that Tesla should acquire solar panel installer SolarCity Corp SCTY.O, where he is a major shareholder, and said he aims to make Tesla’s Autopilot self-driving system 10 times safer than cars that humans drive manually.

The plan did not detail how the new projects would be financed at a time when Both Tesla and SolarCity are burning through cash.

Musk summarized the plan saying Tesla aimed to "create stunning solar roofs (for homes) with seamlessly integrated battery storage. Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments. Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning. Enable your car to make money for you when you aren't using it."

Musk said he envisions Tesla owners allowing others to use their vehicles through a smartphone application. He indicated there will be a "Tesla shared fleet," but did not offer details of how that fleet would be managed.   Continued...

 
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk smiles as he attends a forum on startups in Hong Kong, China January 26, 2016.      REUTERS/Bobby Yip