Tesla’s cars and solar panels have been taking the world by storm over the past few years, but what’s next? With Tesla making moves to purchase SolarCity, it looks like Elon Musk has some big plans in store.
This article will take you through what these plans are and whether or not they can really help Tesla fulfil its goal of taking over the world.
Tesla was founded in 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. Their intent: build an affordable electric car that would change how people view electric vehicles. To get their business off of the ground, they approached Elon Musk, a local entrepreneur who had made his fortune with PayPal. Together, they formed Tesla Motors and set out to create a company dedicated solely to making eco-friendly cars that consumers would actually want to buy—and use.
Tesla’s first car, released in 2008, was called Tesla Roadster. It was an all-electric sports car that could go from 0–to 60 miles per hour in just under 4 seconds. Like many of its newer models, it featured an impressive battery life and received a number of awards for both design and innovation. It also drew a lot of attention because of how fun it was to drive—one reviewer even described it as the fastest point-to-point car on Earth. And while Tesla Roadster wasn’t necessarily cheap—it cost around $100,000 at launch—it was still far cheaper than other electric cars at that time.
Elon Musk unveiled Tesla’s Master Plan, Part Deux in a shareholder letter published after markets closed on Thursday. The original plan for Tesla was outlined in Musk’s Master Plan, Part One, which he wrote back in 2006 when Tesla Motors was just getting started. Although much of that business strategy still holds true, there are a few key updates. Here is a look at how Tesla is going to expand its business operations in the coming years and its plans to completely change how people drive and fuel their cars.
In Part Deux, Musk writes, it is important to note that Tesla is not about selling stylish electric cars. It is about accelerating the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass-market electric cars to market as soon as possible. To help accomplish that goal, Tesla will introduce a new vehicle line called Model Y in late 2019 and then add two more vehicle lines based on what it learns from Model Y production. This doesn’t mean Tesla will stop making or selling its current models—in fact, Musk says all Tesla vehicles will be autonomous in 2018.
Solar Panels Section
What is a Solar Panel? Solar panels are vital for any Tesla owner because they’re what will help power your vehicle as you drive around. Currently, there are four types of solar panels used in vehicles: thin-film, polycrystalline, monocrystalline and tandem. The type you choose depends on your needs. For example, if you only have short drives and don’t mind planning around charging times (mono vs. poly), then monocrystalline is likely your best bet. If you want something that can power longer road trips (tandem vs. mono) or handle lots of traffic conditions (thin-film vs.
Polycrystalline solar panels are usually a bit more affordable than monocrystalline or thin-film models, but they’re not quite as powerful. Polycrystalline panels are made up of many smaller crystals—meaning you can get less energy for each pound of material used. They also have lower efficiency ratings, so it’s harder to capture their full power potential in low light conditions. But if you want solar power that is more efficient in bright sunlight and moderate weather conditions, then polycrystalline may be right for you. Monocrystalline solar panels are known for being efficient and durable, but they cost a bit more than polycrystalline models.
The Tesla Gigafactory is perhaps Musk’s most audacious project to date. Construction began in 2014, and it will help Tesla produce enough lithium-ion batteries for 1.5 million cars per year by 2020. These aren’t just any batteries; they’re state of the art, capable of holding almost twice as much energy as standard lithium-ion batteries, and are manufactured using a unique dry process that doesn’t require messy toxic chemicals. Once completed in 2017, it will be one of the largest buildings on Earth, larger than both Boeing’s Everett Factory and One World Trade Center! Additionally, when complete it will power itself (almost completely) using clean energy sources such as wind turbines and solar panels.
Tesla is also currently developing a battery that will be able to power an entire house. The design was recently unveiled in an April 2016 presentation and will use Tesla’s lithium-ion battery technology but on a much larger scale. Called Powerwall 2, it will come in two sizes: 10 kWh and 7 kWh. The larger of these will provide enough energy for a 3-4 bedroom home per day, while its smaller sibling is good for 1-2 bedrooms. Both can store their energy either for 10 hours (7 kWh) or 5 hours (10 kWh), but with better efficiency than their predecessors.
Powerwall Home Battery Section
Tesla’s Powerwall home battery has already garnered much media attention in Australia, with more than 11,000 units pre-ordered. The Powerwall is a wall-mounted lithium-ion battery with an integrated inverter. It stores solar energy during off-peak hours and then releases it when the demand for electricity is high and power costs are highest. The idea behind Tesla’s innovative battery is that solar panels are getting cheaper while electricity prices are rising, so why not use your own solar energy to produce your own power? Homeowners who already have solar panels will find it a simple addition to their home, while those without will see it as an affordable way of reducing their reliance on fossil fuels without any upfront cost for installation.
According to Tesla, Powerwall can help households eliminate their reliance on grid power, but one of its most innovative functions is that it can be paired with other battery systems in a series. This means larger businesses and even cities can share excess power and reduce energy usage overall, taking significant pressure off existing power grids and helping them cope with peak demand. You may not think you need one of these batteries yourself now, but within 10 years Australia will have a lot more homes with solar panels—and that’s something we should all be happy about. After all, if Elon Musk has his way we won’t just have solar panels for our homes—we’ll use them for everything!
Model S, X, and 3 Sedans Section
Tesla has developed a three-pronged strategy to be competitive in a variety of markets:
- mid-sized sedan, which is available today;
- compact SUV, available in 2020; and
- mid-sized SUV, planned for release in 2022.
The company expects each vehicle size will have slightly different margins and price points, but Tesla’s long-term goal is for only one type of battery — what Tesla calls 2170 cells — will be produced at its Nevada Gigafactory. Musk said Tesla is working on building its own battery cell production lines from scratch at its factory.
We’re driving down cost per kWh for batteries, but it’s not enough to just drive down cost per kWh, Musk said. We need to also increase range and improve battery cell energy density in order for electric vehicles to become mainstream. And that would then make a compelling product for Tesla’s customers. So I don’t think we could even consider Model 3 being successful unless we can produce a car that is significantly more appealing than any gasoline car of a similar price — like really at least 50% better. That’s what has been guiding our development process.
Semi Truck / Bus Section
Tesla Semi is a semi-trailer truck announced by Tesla Inc. in 2017 that was designed for transporting goods across North America, Europe and Asia. The two prototypes made their debut in September 2017, with production scheduled to begin in 2019. Tesla expects demand for electric trucks to grow at a faster rate than passenger cars as people seek lower-emission options for commercial transportation. Tesla may also partner with companies that can deliver its services more efficiently, such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which could order Tesla semis and use them within its fleet.
Tesla plans to deliver its first truck in 2019 and manufacture as many as 20,000 by 2020. It also wants companies like Wal-Mart Stores Inc., United Parcel Service Inc. and PepsiCo Inc. to buy Tesla semis that can haul freight between 500 miles (800 kilometres) and 600 miles (965 kilometres) on a single charge, helping lower their fuel costs compared with traditional diesel trucks. Musk estimates it would cost $1.26 per mile for a company using a Tesla truck, versus $1 million per mile for a conventional one today when factoring in expenses such as fuel, salaries and maintenance fees. Tesla’s cheapest offering will cost about $180,000 before options like adding heating or air conditioning.