Elon Musk has unveiled the third part of Tesla’s ‘Master Plan’, in which the company will lead the global effort to phase out fossil fuels and transition the world to sustainable energy. The plan was unveiled during an investor event Wednesday held at the company’s Gigafactory in Austin, Texas.
Master Plan 3 includes adding renewable energy to the existing grid, producing more electric vehicles, installing heat pumps in homes and buildings, using high-temperature heat supply and hydrogen for industrial applications, and building airplanes and boats with sustainable fuels . Musk’s plan is to create “a sustainable energy culture.”
Tesla predicts that $10 trillion in investment will be needed to achieve this sustainable, renewable-powered future. Musk said it’s “not a big number relative to the global economy.”
Tesla predicts it will take $10 trillion in investment to bring about this sustainable, renewable-powered future
“There is a clear path to sustainable energy on Earth,” Musk said. “It does not require the destruction of natural habitats. It doesn’t require us to be strict and stop using electricity and be kind of cold or whatever.”
A large part of achieving this vision includes expanding global energy storage capacity to 240 TWh. During the event, Tesla executives said that this can be achieved without having to mine a significant amount of ore. Musk claimed he would only need less than 30 percent of all the nickel on Earth. It would also need iron, but Musk isn’t worried, saying it’s the most abundant metal on the planet.
Musk adds that the infrastructure needed for this, including wind and solar power, would take up “less than 0.2 percent” of the Earth’s surface. Details are still scarce on how all of this is supposed to play out, but Musk has promised to release a white paper outlining the plan soon.
Musk adds that the infrastructure needed for this, including wind and solar power, would take up “less than 0.2 percent” of the Earth’s surface
“I really wanted to deal today not just with Tesla investors who have stock, but really with any investor on Earth,” Musk said optimistically.
The nearly three-hour event did not include specific information about new vehicles. The company teased two mystery vehicles that remained hidden in the launch images – including one that is clearly a smaller car and another that looks like a small commercial truck.
Also absent was any mention of Musk’s other companies, SpaceX and The Boring Company, despite Musk earlier hinting that the third Master Plan would seek to connect his various businesses.
Tesla has unveiled a new, more efficient vehicle manufacturing process that will be used for its next generation of vehicles. The company calls it the “Boxless Process,” which allows the vehicle to be built once on the assembly line and paint only the parts that need to be painted. The automaker also claims that the next-generation powertrain will not use rare earth minerals.
Tesla’s previous two general plans were mostly hit-or-miss. While the company managed to achieve most of the goals set out in the first plan, which was first published in 2006, the second plan remains largely unrealized.
That plan, published in 2016 under the cheeky title “Part Deux,” said Tesla would build a thriving solar business, introduce several new vehicles in all major segments, achieve full autonomy and launch a network robotaxi for vehicle owners to earn up to $30,000 per year.
While Tesla has started its solar rooftop business, installations are moving slowly. Some customers have complained about huge price hikes. And the company has scaled back its ambitions as revenue remains relatively flat.
Tesla has introduced two new vehicles since releasing its second Master Plan: the Tesla Semi and the Cybertruck. Tesla Semi deliveries began late last year, and the Cybertruck is still planned for this year — according to Tesla chief designer Franz von Holzhausen, who was on stage at the event. Musk said mass production of the strangely designed truck will begin in 2024.
Meanwhile, Tesla’s plans for fully autonomous vehicles are uncertain. While AV operators like Waymo and Cruise have been putting in a lot of mileage with their driverless robotaxi, Tesla has taken a different approach by introducing a $15,000 option called Full Self-Driving to hundreds of thousands of customers. Despite the misleading name, FSD is simply a partially autonomous level 2 system that requires constant driver monitoring. Tesla recently halted new FSD installations after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called it a “crash hazard.”
Similarly, Musk’s promise that Tesla owners with FSD will be able to earn passive income by sending their vehicles to autonomously pick up passengers as a robotaxi service has not materialized. In recent months, Musk has suggested that Tesla will build an autonomous robotaxi vehicle, casting doubt on his original suggestion that Teslas on the road today could qualify for such a service.