Tesla has big, big plans for the next 4 years

Elon Musk’s plans for the coming decade are nothing short of ambitious.

Among other things, Tesla’s CEO has promised to dramatically increase car production, launch one (or possibly two) completely new cars, and conquer self-driving vehicles by 2020.

Here’s a closer look at what exactly Musk has promised Tesla will accomplish during the next few years.

Complete its giant Gigafactory.

Elon Musk's giant battery factory in Nevada is absolutely key to Tesla's future because it will help the company cut the cost of its batteries.

The Gigafactory, which is some 5.5 million square feet, will help the company dramatically cut the cost of its batteries by 'using economies of scale, innovative manufacturing, reduction of waste, and the simple optimization of locating most manufacturing process under one roof.'

Tesla estimates the factory will help it reduce the cost of its batteries by as much as 30% once it is fully operational in 2020.

In fact, Tesla said it will create more battery cells at the Gigafactory than all of the lithium-ion battery makers combined in 2013.

Bring the Model 3 into production and possibly a Model Y by 2017.


The batteries created at the Gigafactory will enable Tesla to produce its first mass market car, the Model 3.

The Model 3 will be priced at about $35,000 and have a range of more than 200 miles per charge, Musk said in March when he revealed the car.

Tesla plans to begin production of the Model 3 in late 2017, with deliveries beginning in 2018.

But Tesla could also reveal another car to follow the Model 3.

In October, Musk said via Twitter that Tesla would also reveal a Model Y, which is rumoured to be a crossover version of the Model 3, but then he deleted the tweet.

So it's possible Tesla could be pushing out two new vehicles before 2020.

Increase the range of Tesla cars to 1,000 kilometers per charge in three years.

Tesla's cars already boast the best range on the market, but by 2017 Musk aims to dramatically increase how far Tesla's cars travel on a single charge.

'The record right now for the Model S is 800 kilometers (497 miles), that is the furthest that anyone has driven a Model S… we are pretty close,' Musk told the Danish news site Borsen in September. 'My guess is probably we could break a 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) within a year or two. I'd say 2017 for sure.'

Musk added that by 2020 Tesla will likely be able to make its cars go as far as 745 miles per charge.

It should be noted that while the record for hypermiling in a Tesla is almost 500 miles, the official range of Tesla's Model S is about 265 miles per charge, according to ratings by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Make its cars fully autonomous by 2018.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Another bold promise Musk has made for Tesla is that its cars will be autonomous by 2018. And it seems to be on track to make that happen.

The company rolled out its semi-autonomous Autopilot system at the end of October and in November Musk said he was ramping up the team developing the technology and that Autopilot is a 'super high priority.'

Musk has said that he is still looking at a two-year timeline to achieve 'level 4' autonomy in Tesla's cars, however, he added that while the technology may be there, the user may not get full access to it.

Musk said it's unlikely regulators will have laws in place by the time Tesla's autonomous cars are ready, so drivers may have to wait a little longer before getting to go completely hands-free.

Produce 500,000 cars per year by 2018.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Tesla made a little more than 50,000 vehicles in 2015, but Musk said in May that his company plans to be producing no less than 500,000 by 2018.

To help put this in perspective, consider that Tesla only delivered about 50,000 vehicles last year and its aiming to deliver 80,000 to 90,000 cars this year.

Tesla acknowledges this is an aggressive target, but it's not shying away from the challenge.

'Increasing production five fold over the next two years will be challenging and will likely require some additional capital, but this is our goal and we will be working hard to achieve it,' the company said in its letter to investors.

Produce 1 million cars by 2020.

As if producing half a million cars by 2018 were not enough, Musk wants to kick it up a notch and make some one million cars per year by 2020.


Because demand for the Model 3 was greater than expected, forcing Tesla to reassess its goals.

The company had about 325,000 reservations for the Model 3 during the first week of taking deposits. The company has confirmed since then that orders have risen to almost 400,000 reservations.

While it's no doubt an ambitious plan, Musk is pretty confident Tesla can achieve such aggressive growth.

In November during the Baron Funds investor conference, Musk said that he's not ruling out Tesla one day becoming larger than auto giants like General Motors, Volkswagen, and Toyota.

Musk says the company will also begin the second phase of its Tesla's 'Top secret masterplan,' which could be a mobility service.

Asa Mathat | D: All Things Digital

Last Sunday, Musk teased the company's 'materplan' on Twitter.

'Working on Top Tesla Materplan, Part 2. Hoping to publish this week,' he said.

As of Friday afternoon, Musk had yet to publish his post revealing details about Tesla's ongoing 'masterplan.' However, there's speculation that Tesla might be working on some sort of on-demand mobility service.

Musk also hinted at the possibility of a mobility service last November during the company's third quarter conference call.

When an analyst asked Musk about the possibility of Tesla getting into an Uber-like service, Musk gave the following response:

'There is a right time to make announcements and this is not that time,' Musk said, adding that such a service was not yet 'fully-baked.'

We'll have to wait and see if Tesla will roll out a mobility service, but the move would make sense considering he's already said he sees car ownership eventually dying off as cars become autonomous.

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