► Telsa’s ‘Master Plan, Part Deux’
► New models to include a pick-up
► Solar charging and more...
Future Tesla vehicles including a pick-up truck and a smaller SUV could soon fuel themselves using solar power, and even contribute toward their running costs by giving other people lifts while you’re at work.
Those fanciful (but also strangely logical) ideas form part of Tesla’s 'Master Plan, Part Deux' just released on the American EV manufacturer’s website.
This document, while seemingly referencing the Hot Shots sequel, follows on from the original timeline set out by Tesla boss Elon Musk 10 years ago. The original laid out his plans to use income from an electric sports car to democratise tech for high-volume electric vehicles – so though the new plans may sound fanciful, Musk has a reasonable track record so far...
What does Part Deux entail?
As well as tapping into the lucrative small SUV market with a junior version of the Model X, Tesla is aiming to attract more functional-focussed customers with a pick-up truck. Being out-dragged by a landscape gardener using Ludicrous mode could soon be a genuine problem.
Elon Musk also suggests heavy-duty trucking and urban transport could be in line for electrification, with both in 'the early stages of development at Tesla,' and ready for unveiling next year.
He added: 'We believe the Tesla Semi [the truck] will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate.'
Forget buses and trucks, will Tesla ever make a Dacia rival?
It's unlikely Teslas will ever be budget bargains, but there are plans in place to make electric car ownership cheaper – including harnessing the power of the sun to charge your EV’s battery, via a special solar panel roof.
Meanwhile, the maturation of autonomous driving tech theoretically means you will be able to summon your car from anywhere, just like Harry Potter’s broom, and then send it out to earn its keep while you don’t need it.
Adding your car to a shared Tesla fleet would mean other drivers could rent it out whenever you’re not using it, offsetting the cost of ownership, but increasing the risk of someone else getting crisp crumbs all over your upholstery.
How far off is this tech?
The engineering and software side of things is constantly evolving; the next big obstacle is global regulation – or how long it's going to take before governments allows autonomous cars to mill about on their roads.
Tesla reckons worldwide regulatory approval for autonomous cars will require about six billion miles of testing. Sounds like a lot, but currently over three million miles of fleet learning is taking place per day, so at that rate it’ll take five to six years to hit the magic number.
According to Elon Musk, that can’t come soon enough.
He said: 'We must at some point achieve a sustainable energy economy or we will run out of fossil fuels to burn and civilization will collapse.' Better crack on then.
Read more CAR tech news and features here