Joburg’s visionary planet saver’s Master Plan — Part Two

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

ELON Musk tweeted he is look­ing for­ward to to­mor­row night’s open­ing of the Tesla Gi­gafac­tory in Ne­vada.

The fac­tory is sched­uled to start mak­ing cheaper lithi­u­mion bat­ter­ies cells for the com­pany’s elec­tric cars and Pow­er­wall bat­tery from year-end, and forms part of Musk’s master plan to wean the world of fos­sil fu­els.

The visionary planet saver from South Africa re­minded the world he pub­lished this plan on his blog 10 years ago, and pointed out it has now reached its sec­ond stage.

He said his plan wasn’t all that com­pli­cated and ba­si­cally con­sisted of:

• Cre­at­ing a low vol­ume car, which would nec­es­sar­ily be ex­pen­sive,

• Use that money to de­velop a medium vol­ume car at a lower price,

• Use that money to cre­ate an af­ford­able, high vol­ume car, and • Pro­vide so­lar power. “No kid­ding, this has lit­er­ally been on our web­site for 10 years,” wrote Musk.

“The reason we had to start off with step one was that it was all I could af­ford to do with what I made from PayPal.

“I thought our chances of suc­cess were so low that I didn’t want to risk any­one’s funds in the be­gin­ning but my own. The list of suc­cess­ful car com­pany star­tups is short. As of 2016, the num­ber of Amer­i­can car com­pa­nies that haven’t gone bank­rupt is a grand to­tal of two — Ford and Tesla.

“Start­ing a car com­pany is id­i­otic and an elec­tric car com­pany is id­iocy squared,” he stated.

Ten years on, Musk re­minded the world last week his aim is to ac­cel­er­ate the ad­vent of sus­tain­able en­ergy, “so that we can imag­ine far into the fu­ture and life is still good”.

Musk said the world must at some point achieve a sus­tain­able en­ergy econ­omy “or we will run out of fos­sil fu­els to burn and civil­i­sa­tion will col­lapse”.

“That’s what ‘sus­tain­able’ means. It’s not some silly, hippy thing — it mat­ters for ev­ery­one,” he wrote.

“Given that we must get off fos­sil fu­els any­way and that vir­tu­ally all sci­en­tists agree that dra­mat­i­cally in­creas­ing at­mo­spheric and oceanic car­bon lev­els is in­sane, the faster we achieve sus­tain­abil­ity, the bet­ter.”

To to make that day come sooner. Tesla is now work­ing to:

• In­te­grate en­ergy gen­er­a­tion and stor­age with Tesla, So­larCity and Pow­er­wall.

• Ex­pand to cover the ma­jor forms of ter­res­trial trans­port, adding cheaper elec­tric cars, as well as a fu­ture com­pact SUV and a new kind of pickup truck, the Tesla’s cur­rent range of pre­mium sedans and SUVs.

“In ad­di­tion to consumer ve­hi­cles, there are two other types of elec­tric ve­hi­cle needed: heavy-duty trucks and high pas­sen­ger-den­sity ur­ban trans­port. Both are in the early stages of de­vel­op­ment at Tesla and should be ready for un­veil­ing next year.

“We be­lieve the Tesla Semi will de­liver a sub­stan­tial re­duc­tion in the cost of cargo trans­port, while in­creas­ing safety and mak­ing it re­ally fun to op­er­ate.

“With the ad­vent of au­ton­omy, it will prob­a­bly make sense to shrink the size of buses and tran­si­tion the role of bus driver to that of fleet man­ager.

“Traf­fic con­ges­tion would im­prove due to in­creased pas­sen­ger den­sity by elim­i­nat­ing the cen­tre aisle and putting seats where there are cur­rently en­try­ways, and match­ing ac­cel­er­a­tion and brak­ing to other ve­hi­cles, thus avoid­ing the in­er­tial im­ped­ance to smooth traf­fic flow of tra­di­tional heavy buses.

“It would also take peo­ple all the way to their des­ti­na­tion. Fixed sum­mon but­tons at ex­ist­ing bus stops would serve those who don’t have a phone. De­sign ac­com­mo­dates wheel­chairs, strollers and bikes.”

He sum­marised the Master Plan, Part Two as:

• Cre­ate stun­ning so­lar roofs with seam­lessly in­te­grated bat­tery stor­age,

• Ex­pand the elec­tric ve­hi­cle prod­uct line to ad­dress all ma­jor seg­ments,

• De­velop a self-driv­ing ca­pa­bil­ity that is 10 times safer than man­ual via mas­sive fleet learn­ing, and

• En­able your car to make money for you when you aren’t us­ing it. — Wit­ness Reporter.


Elon Musk, who is im­ple­ment­ing phase two of a visionary plan to make roads drive­able again.

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