Elon Musk tweeted yesterday that he will be releasing the second part of his Top Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan soon, possibly by the end of this week. The unofficial announcement comes at an interesting time for the company and its boss.
Tesla Motors is currently the target of an investigation after a fatal accident with a Tesla Model S that was allegedly caused by the car's autopilot. The car did not stop when it approached a tractor-trailer and crashed into it, killing its driver. The investigation, initially involving the Florida Highway Patrol and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has now been joined by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Meanwhile, a second crash involving a Tesla occurred two weeks ago in Pennsylvania, and it has also become the target of an investigation to determine whether the autopilot function was engaged at the time of the accident.
Musk also announced late last month that Tesla has approached with an acquisition offer for SolarCity, one of the embattled solar power industry majors that have suffered the consequences of expanding too much too quickly and then being hit by the drop in oil prices. Tesla is offering US$2.5-3 billion for the company, but according to some analysts, this is an unjustifiably high price.
For Musk himself, the tie-up is nothing but common sense, given his company's focus on renewable energy. If the acquisition takes place, it will expand Tesla's footprint in renewables into household and business energy provision - a logical fit for the electric car manufacturer.
Musk first unveiled his Tesla Motors Master Plan ten years ago, when he said the ultimate goal of the company is "to help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy, which I believe to be the primary, but not exclusive, sustainable solution." The main points of this first part of the plan were to build a high-performance car, then use the proceeds from this to design equally power-efficient but more affordable cars and also get into zero-emission power generation.
It's arguable how much of this has been achieved, but there has certainly been progress. Perhaps it's really time for phase two.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com