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Tesla looks to future with an electric pick-up, minibus and van

Tesla has confirmed it plans to build an all-electric cargo van, minibus, pick-up truck and a compact SUV to compliment the current Model S and Model X and forthcoming Model 3.

Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk tweeted the news, which confirms the existence of the Model Y compact SUV and that it would be built on the same underpinnings as the forthcoming Model 3, while the rest would be based on the Model X. 

“Model Y (compact SUV) off Model 3 chassis. Tesla Bus/Minibus/Spacebus off Model X,” he tweeted.

The news comes as part of Musk’s highly anticipated ‘Master Plan, Part Deux‘ (a reference to the spoof film Hot Shots, we would assume), details of which were released on the official Tesla blog.

Part one of the ten-year plan involved creating a low-volume car, developing a medium volume car with that money, using that money to create an affordable high-volume car and, finally, provide solar power, which is being achieved by Musk’s other company SolarCity. 

In a post on the Tesla website, Musk spoke of the need “to address most of the consumer market” with the introduction of new models. 

“In addition to consumer vehicles, there are two other types of electric vehicle needed: heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport,” Musk said. “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,” he added. 

In addition to covering consumer and commercial markets with new vehicles, Musk spoke of the continuation of autonomy and that it is already statistically safer than other vehicles on the road amid a fatal crash investigation involving a Model S.

He went on to discuss the lack of a need for an even cheaper Model 3 because he hopes the power or autonomy will one day allow a car to be used as part of a Tesla fleet that lets people to summon a car and pay for a journey while you are at work or otherwise engaged.

In essence, the Tesla pays for itself with what would be an AirBnB equivalent for cars. As Musk points out, most cars are only in use five to 10 per cent of the day. What if the other 90 per cent could be monetised? With self-driving at an adequate level, extra income could be feasible.

Also outlined in Master Plan, Part Deux is creating ‘stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage’ and making self-driving capabilities in Tesla vehicles ten times safer, at which point the ‘beta’ part of Autopilot would be dropped.

As if Musk wasn’t busy enough, SolarCity and Tesla were given the green light to merge and the latter company recently celebrated the opening of its GigaFactory, which aims to decrease production costs by as much as ten-fold. He is also working on space travel with SpaceX. When does he sleep?

The Tesla Model S was recently given a facelift and now the Model X is in production, with the cheaper Model 3 BMW 3-Series equivalent due to arrive in 2017 at the earliest.

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