Musk Reads: Musk hints at future Tesla car plans

Tesla car design plans teased and the Nikola saga continues. Will New Zealand get the full-size Cybertruck?

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Tesla car design plans teased and the Nikola saga continues. Will New Zealand get the full-size Cybertruck? It’s Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #206.

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

Musk quote of the week

“We do see Tesla reaching 20M vehicles/year probably before 2030, but that requires consistently excellent execution.”


Where will Tesla design its cars in the future? This week, Musk confirmed via Twitter that original cars will be designed at both Giga Shanghai and Giga Berlin. It’s unclear what sort of vehicles the two factories will design, but hints over recent months give an outline. During the company’s July earnings call, Musk said that it would “be reasonable to assume” Tesla will produce a “compact vehicle of some kind” and “a higher capacity passenger vehicle of some kind.” At this month’s Battery Day event, Musk confirmed plans to build a $25,000 car in the next three to four years. It may take a while for these new vehicles to emerge. Musk wrote after the November 2019 Cybertruck unveiling that it would be Tesla’s last car reveal for a while.

Tesla also plans to make a large number of cars. In a Twitter thread this week, Musk declared the company plans to make 20 million cars per year before 2030 – a figure that would require “consistently excellent execution.” In the same series of posts, he claimed the market could reach 30 million new electric vehicles per year in five to seven years. Cathie Wood, CEO of analyst firm ARK Invest, explained that electric car sales were 1.8 million last year. Reaching 35 million cars would represent 40 percent of total global car sales.

Musk has an ambitious plan to transition the world onto clean energy. During his Battery Day presentation, he laid out how boosts in battery production could cover energy usage and transition the world onto clean electricity sources. The plan is bold: transitioning all cars to electric alone is expected to require a 100-fold boost in production. Read more.

What’s next for Tesla: Tesla is expected to release a private beta of its planned Autopilot “4D” upgrades sometime in the first half of October. Read more.

In other Musk news…

  • How about some plaid in your Plaid Tesla Model S? Reddit user “Routine_Register_178” shared this concept.
  • The Nikola-Tesla saga continues. Ars Technica reports that Tesla has filed a response to Nikola, the latter of which claims the Tesla Semi infringes on its own designs. Tesla claims the Nikola design was based off a 2010 design from Adriano Mudri. Trevor Milton resigned as CEO of Nikola last week amid allegations of false claims about the hydrogen vehicle company’s technologies.
  • A wide-ranging interview with Kara Swisher for the New York Times made headlines this week, as Musk declared he would not get a Covid–19 vaccine because he’s “not at risk for Covid, nor are my kids.” While early rollouts should go to the most vulnerable, achieving herd immunity would require around 60 to 80 percent of the population immunized. Measles saw a resurgence last year in places without high enough rates of vaccination. Musk’s comments could have an adverse effect on Covid–19 immunization efforts, because people sometimes look to influential figures for guidance.

Musk Reads mailroom

Gordon Peterson writes:

Do you know if the Cybertruck will be sold as the full size vehicle North America will get, in New Zealand and Australia? When we paid a pre-order deposit in November 19, 2019, that was our expectation. Since then there have been numerous statements from various sources claiming if we get a Cybertruck “down under” it will be a smaller size and not the vehicle we expected. I’ve tried to get confirmation of what will happen, to no avail. Maybe it’s time to get my refundable deposit back and get an EV from a competitor. That would be disappointing.

We did actually receive some information on this topic last week. Twitter user “TeslaGong” asked Musk on Sunday whether Australia will receive the North American Cybertruck (or Cyberute, to use the preferred term in Australia). Musk responded that “if it passes Australian regulations, then sure.” That suggests Musk is not focused on bringing a smaller version of the truck to the country despite plans to bring it to the narrow roads of Europe.

Thomas Stoneking writes:

[Regarding the sub-$30k car] Focus on replacing the ICE, not the driver. Why is autonomous driving synonymous with EVs? Nobody wants to pay for something they can’t use. $8K for software? The parking lot at work is full of Hondas and Chevys, not BMWs.

While Musk described Tesla’s upcoming $25,000 car as “autonomous,” I’d assume the feature would be an optional add-on similar to Tesla’s other vehicles. It’s hard to say how Tesla’s strategy will evolve in the future, but for now, it seems like full self-driving will remain a premium software feature for those who want the latest in Tesla autonomy. Indeed, the focus should stay on getting as many people using clean transport as possible.

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Photo of the week

A Tesla concept made into reality, from Reddit user “particledecelerator.” Could this be the $25,000 car?

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The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #206, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.

What did you think of today’s stories? Hit reply to this email to let us know. Thanks for reading!

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

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