On Wednesday, March 1, Tesla held its first ever Investor Day event at its Gigafactory in Austin, Texas, and company CEO Elon Musk unveiled his third big “master plan.” Basically this is meant to be where the billionaire sees Tesla heading over the next seven to ten years.
“Alright, so, Master Plan Part 3,” Musk said, after he was introduced to the stage.
“There’s a clear path to a sustainable energy earth with abundance,” he continued. “It does not require us to destroy habitats, it does not require us to be austere like stop using electricity or anything…”
Musk and Tesla executive Drew Baglino then proceeded to run down what the company believes is necessary to move to a completely sustainable economy within the next few decades.
A “vast amount of battery energy storage” is needed but not currently available at scale, Musk explained. However, Musk believes that the world can be powered with clean energy by 2050 with an investment of $10 trillion in manufacturing and battery energy storage.
The big takeaway is that Tesla is working on “next generation” electric vehicles to further facilitate these plans. However, there wasn’t much offered in terms of details.
Another interesting tidbit: the four millionth Tesla vehicle was manufactured on the morning of the event.
What was in past Tesla master plans?
Musk’s third phase in his master plan has a broader focus than his previous iterations.
For example, in Musk’s first master plan, laid out in a 2006 blog post, the company had realistic aims such as making money off a single car, the Roadster, in order to reinvest in building more affordable lines like the Model S, Model 3, and Model Y.
As for Musk’s second master plan in 2016, Musk shared more robust ideas for Tesla, many of which have not come to fruition. Aptly called Master Plan Part Deux, the Tesla CEO shared his vision for a self-driving vehicle that could be rented out to others when you weren’t using the car. The Tesla would literally drive itself to a renter’s pick-up point and the Tesla’s owner would be able to make money. Obviously this hasn’t happened. Neither has the “high passenger-density urban transport” mentioned in the 2016 master plan. And while the promised “heavy-duty truck” appears to eventually be on the way in the form of the Cybertruck, it’s been 7 years and it’s still not on the market quite yet.
What does Musk say Tesla will be up to in the coming years?
While not at the same scale as previous master plans, part three did provide a bit of Musk’s now-classic prognosticating.
According to Musk, the automobile industry will eventually move to “full electric and autonomous.” He said that riding a non-autonomous gas vehicle will be “analogous to riding a horse and using a flip phone.”
As for new products, Musk explained that heat pumps are an important part in the move to sustainable energy and while Tesla doesn’t have any plans right now, “at some point, we might make a heat pump for a home,” said Musk.
There was also a new look at Tesla’s robot via a video. The robot was building another bot and moving rather slowly, causing Musk to make a reference to Boston Dynamics’ impressive robotics.
“It’s obviously not doing Parkour,” he said.
And, there was a brief mention about going to Mars! Musk said we “hope to get there at some point,” which is quite a difference from Musk’s estimated 10 year timeframe that he made back in 2011.
Where’s the Tesla products?
On Musk-owned Twitter, users seemed quite disappointed with Investor Day. The only real timeline offered came when Cybertruck was mentioned, which according to the company, will be available later this year.
Tesla stock also dropped during the event.
There was buzz before the event about possibly new, affordable Tesla EVs being unveiled. There was also hope that there would be news about a robotaxi. Musk had said in 2020 that Tesla would have a fleet of a million robotaxis in use. As of 2023, the company doesn’t have any.
Musk himself spent his time off-stage tweeting about non-Tesla related matters. While other executives were presenting, Musk weighed in on a clip about Russia’s war in Ukraine. He also reminisced about the time former cable news host Keith Olbermann had to tweet from his dogs’ Twitter account after he was temporarily suspended from the platform.
Over the past few months, Tesla investors have been pleading with Musk to focus on his EV company, believing he’s been distracted by his social media acquisition, Twitter. In fact, Musk spent the final moments before Tesla’s big first time event replying to Twitter users like right wing influencer @Catturd2.
On top of that, a new report is likely to further investors’ concerns about where Musk is spending his time, as the Tesla CEO is looking to jump into the latest tech trend by building an artificial intelligence lab in order to create his own AI chatbot platform.