Musk's Masterplan part II: solar powered vehicles and autonomous cars that earn you money

By midian182 ยท 19 replies
Jul 21, 2016
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  1. Earlier this month, Elon Musk announced that he would soon reveal the second part of Tesla’s “Top Secret Masterplan,” the first part - revealed in August 2006 - being the mass production of the Tesla S and Tesla 3. Now, he’s finally shown off his company’s ambitious plans for the future.

    There are four main parts to Musk’s "Masterplan, part Deux," as he calls it. The first, as suspected, is related to Tesla’s controversial bid for solar panel installer SolarCity, for which Musk is both chairman and its largest shareholder.

    The CEO wants to merge the two companies to create a single “solar-roof-with-battery-product” that can cleanly power people’s homes, with any excess energy going into a Tesla vehicle’s battery. The idea is to make Tesla the only place customers need to go for all their clean energy requirements. Musk says this all-in-one solution can only be made possible through the deal. "We can't do this well if Tesla and SolarCity are different companies," he claimed.

    The next part of the plan is to expand the range of vehicles Tesla makes. Right now it’s limited to premium sedans and SUVs, but it intends to move beyond this small market with the introduction of a pickup truck, compact SUV, and the Model 3. Moreover, at some point next year, the company hopes to unveil its line of heavy-duty trucks – the Tesla Semi – along with commercial vehicles such as buses.

    Probably the most ambitious part of the plan involves Tesla upgrading its vehicles’ semi-autonomous Autopilot to a completely self-driving system. Musk says Autopilot in its current form is still in “beta,” and will only drop this label when it is fully autonomous and “ten times safer than the US vehicle average.” Musk didn’t say when this was likely to happen.

    The Autopilot upgrade ties in with the last part of the plan: turning your Tesla into an autonomous taxi that brings in money when you’re not using it. Since most cars are only in use between five and ten percent of the day, Musk wants owners to be able to add their vehicles to a shared fleet, which can then be rented out, Uber-style, to drive other people around. The fares will be shared with the car owners, helping to offset the cost of the vehicle.

    While the first two parts of the plan seem attainable within the next year or so, the autonomous/shared cars idea is obviously a long way off. While the cynical will argue that his ambitious revolve around growing Tesla as a company, Musk says the Masterplan is about moving away from our reliance on dwindling supplies of fossil fuels.

    “By definition, we must at some point achieve a sustainable energy economy or we will run out of fossil fuels to burn and civilization will collapse. Given that we must get off fossil fuels anyway and that virtually all scientists agree that dramatically increasing atmospheric and oceanic carbon levels is insane, the faster we achieve sustainability, the better.”

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  2. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,890   +1,224

    If his car company doesn't take off he can wear a sign and hang out by the freeway exit and tell us the End is Near.

    Does he think we're all completely not paying attention? They used to say 'we're going to run out of oil in 10 years.' 'At current use - oil will be $150/barrel in a few years.' That was 1995 when they said that. Today we have so much oil we don't know where to put it all. The only reason America isn't exporting oil is because our govt made it illegal in the 70's.

    And regarding 'dramatically increasing carbon levels' He should know that carbon from car exhaust is WAY behind both water vapor and car farts on the 'what's making the planet warm' list. It's also behind coal fired power plants - like the ones that charge your tesla.

    If you're that concerned Elon, go invest in nuclear and stop making up reasons we should invest in your cousin's company (Solar City).

    Every time he says something disconnected like this I think more and more that the Chevy Bolt is going to be the electric car we see all over the road in a few years.
    mbrowne5061 likes this.
  3. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,664   +1,949

    Somebody should send Elon Musk this link, to see how much Tesla Model S costs in Ireland:

    In USD, that's $187,174. How many people will buy something like this? Only the ones shopping for super-expensive toys.

    For the cars it is supposed to compete with, A6, BMW5, E-class, you can buy all three of them brand new ones for that money.

    Thank you Elon Musk, the toy maker.
  4. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,311   +1,404

    His car company has already taken off and Tesla is going to triple the worlds lithium ion battery produce by building two "giga factories" with one nearing completion.

    Oil is so cheap right now because the Saudi's are flooding the market with it as economic warfare against Russia. As far as carbon levels go, coal power plants produce energy more efficiently than gasoline engines so a coal powered electric car produces less carbon for the same miles driven than an ICE. That's before factoring in carbon emissions from petroleum production and transportation.

    And what the hell are you going on about water vapor for? The amount of moister the atmosphere can hold is directly related to air temperature. The phase change between water vapor and rain has a cooling effect, it's literally the exact principle that your AC works on.

    Also, Chevy volt is a horrible car. With the all electric version only having 50 miles of range there is no way it can compete with the model 3. They cost the same but the model 3 has a 200 mile range

    you aren't farming enough potatoes. Blame your government for their stupid import taxes, it's not Tesla's fault your country's economy sucks and your currency is worthless.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2016
    Reehahs likes this.
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,336   +1,985

    The bottom line is that Musk must produce a car that "the masses" can afford which equates to a four passenger sedan less than $30,000. This isn't rocket science, simply look at the gross sales figures for the big three automakers. Adding more devices like solar panels and self driving style features won't lower the price.

    Henry Ford had no problem figuring it out when he produced the first Model T. Producing an automobile that anyone with a job could afford not only made him a rich man, it catapulted the nation forward and more than doubled the country's GNP. Imagine how much this nation would change if he were to have that effect? Sure, the big three would shrink considerably, but more electric car manufacturers would also spring up. As documented by CDC and WHO among just a few, lessening or eliminating particulate matter in the air grossly improves over all health by virtually eliminating the single largest cause of breathing disorders, this lowering the over all health costs to each person.

    His idea's are on the right track, but he needs to find a way to resolve the $$ issues, otherwise I am afraid the Tesla may go the way of the Delorean.
    Phr3d, Reehahs and Skidmarksdeluxe like this.
  6. Greg S

    Greg S TechSpot Staff Posts: 1,069   +427

    Ireland must have really bad regulations on importing and high performance vehicles. You are absolutely correct that it's stupid to even consider a Tesla vehicle when you can get essentially the same performance and luxury for 1/3 the cost.
    Reehahs likes this.
  7. 3volv3d

    3volv3d TS Addict Posts: 155   +59

    Must admit didn't read more than the headline, as I immediately thought, wow a car that should be for the masses but only the rich can afford, which can earn them rich people's more money, I assume by autonomously dropping off poor peoples Amazon deliveries, while they just fart in their sleep taking in the cash.
  8. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,311   +1,404

    Not after the brexit!
  9. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,890   +1,224

    You are an expert at reading what you want, not what's actually in front of you.

    I never said oil was cheap because of the US, I said the US has more than we know what to do with. America developing hydro-fracking has nothing to do with Saudia Arabia.

    Why bring up water vapor? Cause that's what the scientists say holds heat on the planet. (That's not a link to some right-wing denier website - that's the American Chemical Society.) And it doesn't matter... cars are a small % of the total. You focus on the wrong problem, you're going to come up with the wrong solution.

    Yeah, the volt is a horrible car. But I'm talking about the Bolt, not the Volt. Bolt = Chevy's $35,000 - 200 mile/charge fully electric car coming out next year. Volt = crappy hybrid.
  10. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 747   +357

    Ireland is not a member of the UK; they're a neutral nation that is a part of the EU. They use the Euro. Ireland may actually benefit from Brexit, because now a lot of companies are looking to jump from London to Dublin so they can maintain offices in British Isles and in the Eurozone simultaneously.
  11. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,923   +756

    Not many people get this. Several years ago, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory published a report that says that there is enough excess electric generation in the US to power 85% of all light vehicles on US roads at the time.
    Yes, personally, I am not all that impressed by what Musk is doing. He seems to have little real technical knowledge, and seems to be more interested in making money than anything else. He is trying to be a one-stop shopping provider of a solution that may only appeal to those who can afford it. Powering your home by solar and/or wind is something that should not be taken lightly, and I would not be surprised to find that people who buy into his marketing will end up disappointed with the results because they did not research all details required to put something like that into practice. Musk is pretending he has a possible solution. In my opinion, it takes more thought to power your home by solar and should not be left to a guy trying to sell you a vehicle. His battery solution did not impress me.

    There was someone a few years back that figured out how to shrink carbon nano particles to sub-nanometer sizes - thus vastly increasing surface area. In my opinion, Musk should put at least some money into projects like this instead of spending money like a kid in a toy shop.
  12. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,311   +1,404

    well the amount of moister in the atmosphere isn't changing and do I need to tell you what would happen if we didn't hold any heat in?

    well there are two Irelands. Northern Ireland IS part of the UK while southern Ireland is a free nation.
  13. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 747   +357

    Well, yes, and no. He is definitely more interested in the money and prestige than anything else. But his companies are doing amazing technical work. SpaceX and Tesla are both doing things that had been written off as out of our reach - rockets than can land from orbit, electric vehicles that are both high performing and have a long range. However, he seems to like to ignore economics a lot of the time and try to compensate with branding and marketing. I have friends who have worked for both Tesla and SpaceX, all of them left the companies because of poor work-life balances and poor compensation for the amount of work expected. A 60-hour work week for a salaried employee is considered 'passing', 80-hour is what you need to do if you want to actually advance your career at SpaceX or Tesla. The pay doesn't really match the extra hours that are expected either - you'll find comparable payscales at any of the other motor or aerospace companies, that only require 40-hour weeks. But they all also met him - it is part of the interview process, the third interview for all engineers are all done by Musk - and they all said he obviously knows his stuff well enough to talk shop.

    I guess I just have issues with the way he runs his companies primarily.

    I think they would have specified if they were talking about Northern Ireland - which would be under UK and EU import laws, instead of just EU and Irish import laws as it would be in the Republic of Ireland.

    Also, what happened to the first-half of my first comment? People were able to quote it, but it is all missing now.
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,993   +2,528

    You mean like, "up John Delorean's nose"?..:eek::oops:
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
  15. Phr3d

    Phr3d TS Guru Posts: 404   +84

    The Volt is anything but a Crappy Hybrid - one of the best ideas Detroit ever dreamed up, actually.

    80% of All Volt miles have been electric - get home, garage it, plug it in, drive electric, day after day. If your total commute exceeds (1st/2nd gen) 40/50 mile, you get 36/40-ish MPG for those miles. If ya wanna' take a long trip, first 40/50 are electric, raising your trip MPG. If the place you're staying offers electric, charge overnight while sleeping/shopping/entertaining, 40/50 electric miles again. REAL owners report very low maintenance costs and very few problems, it -could- wind up being the lowest-cost-to-buy-and-maintain car ever if you're a keep it 'til the wheels fall off owner.

    Nice Electric performance because it is Always an electric vehicle. Spooky quiet while battery, still very quiet (quieter than most 4-cyl ICE) while using the generator-ICE (one-ish speed, tuned to least NVH).

    I -know- you won't, but you should really consider trying one and see if your opinion remains the same, rather than insta-label it a 'crappy hybrid' - I know I was pleasantly surprised.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2016
  16. hood6558

    hood6558 TS Addict Posts: 271   +67

    I think Elon Musk is a visionary, a genius, and very much a "tech" guy. He applies his intelligence to reversing the damage caused by a hundred years of greedy bastards with only their personal fortunes in mind, damage that will eventually destroy any kind of comfortable life on this planet, if steps are not taken starting NOW.
    And, his ultimate goal is to enable colonization of other planets, so that all of humanity's "eggs are not in one basket". In the process, he may even forestall the inevitable world economic collapse, long enough to ensure that at least some of us can survive it. If all he wanted was money, he could have kept his personal fortune of over $165 million and lived like a king for the rest of his life. Instead, he gambled virtually all of it on a couple of very long shots (SpaceX and Tesla).
    The genius part of it is how he took those companies, did what everyone else said was impossible, and made a profit as well. His genius is in how he's making it economically feasible to do what needs to be done (the only way any real progress is made in reversing the damage).
    It's very hard work he's doing, and he's working very hard, and expects the same of his employees. I can't fault him for wanting to work with people who have the same drive and passion; most others must seem a bit slow and stupid to a man like him.
    I, for one would vote for him as the next President of the US, if such a thing were possible, though I doubt he'd accept the nomination, he's much too busy actually DOING USEFUL THINGS to waste his time with that.
    Shame on you, anyone who posted negative comments, let's hear about all the world-saving things you've been up to...
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,993   +2,528

    There "Musk" be a fire engine pumper truck out in front of your house supplying you with Elon flavored Kool-aid.

    I hate to break this to you, but Musk is just the next generation of greedy bastard.

    When was the last time Musk built you an electric car you can afford?

    When was the last time he invited you on a trip to Mars?

    And where in God's name were you when Musk was showing off his, "designer costume space suit", to divert attention away from the fact,Tesla lost $200,000,000.00 last quarter? In fact, the loss announcement was in close proximity to the "spacesuit show and tell".

    And did Musk give you anything out of that 2 billion dollars worth of Tesla stock he cashed in when one of his "auto-pilot" cars drilled itself? See, now that's "visionary", selling your stock before it possibly tanks....(y)

    The damage done to this planet has been by virtue of stuffing 6 billion greedy hominids into a space suitable at most for half that. In fact, the people who are here will do far more good than Elon Musk ever will, simply by keeping their zippers up.

    Now run along, read some more comic books, and play some more X-Box . BTW, don't forget to straighten up your room before you go to bed.
    mbrowne5061 likes this.
  18. Phr3d

    Phr3d TS Guru Posts: 404   +84

    "There "Musk" be a fire engine pumper truck out in front of your house supplying you with Elon flavored Kool-aid." LOL

    nahh, but I've heard the Electric Kool-aid is kinda' fun (as opposed to the Elon flavored, so Not appealing)
    Has been a few decades since I had any, guessing -I- won't enjoy it as much.. (and My comic books now command hundreds of dollars, so I cain't read 'em anymore <snif>)
  19. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 747   +357

    So you base your self-worth on the monetary value of your comic book collection?
  20. MonsterZero

    MonsterZero TS Evangelist Posts: 440   +223

    That's the fully upgraded model, you'd still pay almost 60K here in the states for that car.

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