Techno-wonder Elon Musk finally revealed Wednesday night his much-hyped second master plan for the future of his two sustainable energy projects, Tesla Motors and solar panel producer SolarCity.
Musk, the CEO and chairman of both companies, wrote in a blog post on Tesla’s website that the two companies must combine if the world ever wants to see Tesla make a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.
The blog post, titled “Master Plan, Part Deux,” explains that Tesla and SolarCity are in the business of creating “a smoothly integrated and beautiful solar-roof-with-battery product that just works, empowering the individual as their own utility, and then scale that throughout the world.”
The first stage of the plan, Musk explained, is not possible without combining SolarCity and Tesla. The fact that the two companies are separate at all, he adds, is an “an accident of history.”
They need meld into one, giant, renewable colossus, Musk stated, because both companies are ready for full integration. Tesla’s home battery product, Powerwall, and SolarCity’s ability to provide “differentiated” solar power, he added, cannot be fully realized if the two are not allowed to merge.
The second stage of Musk’s grand plan is to produce a giant, autonomous, self-controlled machine that builds the machines that Tesla produces — in effect, according to Musk, the plan is to turn “the factory itself into a product.”
In addition to recreating and upturning the very idea of an automotive factory, Musk also intends to have his Tesla minions (or machine-like factory) design and produce a score of pickup trucks and high-density buses. Based on Musk’s explanation, these ideas are likely still in concept stage.
The final stage of Musk’s plan involves creating fully autonomous technology, which will allow customers sit back, kick back and let their computer overlords take control of the steering wheel — much of this ambitious planning is dependent on the say-so of federal regulators, Musk admits.
“When true self-driving is approved by regulators, it will mean that you will be able to summon your Tesla from pretty much anywhere. Once it picks you up, you will be able to sleep, read or do anything else enroute to your destination.”
Customers will also be able to use their Tesla fully-self driving vehicles as a type of Uber rider sharing, money making product — a person’s Tesla can generate income while they’re at work or on vacation simply by tapping a Tesla app; this, according to Musk, could help dramatically lower the full cost of a Tesla.
The first part of Musk’s master plan was implemented in 2006, which amounted to a promise to Tesla’s shareholders and customers that the company would in the business would produce high-end electric vehicles.
The results of the first master plan are a mixed bag, especially on the business end.
Even though it managed to help the company generate about $1.7 billion from selling its cars, and another $500 million from zero-emission vehicle credits, Musk’s master plan resulted in the company spending $2.1 billion on R&D, and another $4.1 billion in capital investment, leaving Tesla with a deep deficit.
Barclay analyst Brian Johnson argued in the Wall Street Journal earlier in July that Musk’s 2006 “Master Plan Part” resulted in Tesla digging itself in a $4.2 billion hole. Johnson gave the plan’s business model a D grade.
It remains to be seen whether shareholders and investors will be soothed by Musk’s second plan.
CtW Investor Group, which holds 200,000 shares of Tesla stock, wants Tesla to shake up its board of directors after it was discovered six out of seven board members with the solar panel company have direct connections with Musk.
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