Elon Musk presented Tesla’s much-hyped “Master Plan 3" on Wednesday, in the company’s first “investor day” livestream. But, instead of revealing a new Tesla model, specifying the date of the repeatedly delayed cybertruck launch, introducing a more affordable electric car (as previously promised), or announcing some significant advancement in the company’s past robotaxi plans, Musk and co took a different approach. They offered almost no new information about Tesla products.
In the company’s previous, 2017 “Master Plan, Part Deux,” Musk promised some big things like electrified “high passenger-density urban transport” and a fully autonomous Tesla fleet of robotaxis. Neither of which has come close to existing in the intervening years. Instead, the company pivoted away from any earnest actual mentions of mass transit innovation and delivered the infamously stupid Las Vegas Loop—a glorified single lane tunnel. Re: robotaxis, Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” tech remains very far from being fully self driving.
This time, the company seemed to back away from its past strategy of making commitments it doesn’t keep, by offering basically no commitments at all.
For Plan 3, Musk took to the stage to talk about the feasibility of Earth’s energy transition. The CEO made some big, sweeping, optimistic statements and claims about a 5-part plan to transition our planet to a sustainable energy system (in order: electrifying the grid, EV’s, heat pumps, “green” hydrogen, electric boats and planes)—touching briefly and vaguely on Tesla’s various potential contributions to each aspect of that plan (maybe one day, Tesla will make heat pumps for homes or electrified flying machines!). All told, Musk predicted his version of the energy transition would cost $10 trillion, and use just a fraction of the world’s lithium, nickel, and rare earth metal reserves. He noted Tesla will soon be publishing a detailed whitepaper explaining its calculation methods, models, and assumptions.
Then, the billionaire passed the mic off to a series of Tesla engineers who spoke in technical terms about things that the company has already done and demonstrated in its previous vehicle models. Various Tesla employees spoke on the company’s design philosophy, streamlined production strategy, driver assistance, AI-tech, charging stations, and supply chain.
No one offered any update on the possibility of a $25,000 Tesla model, as some hopeful predictions had forecast. There was lots of description of minimized production costs and past changes to the supply chain and assembly line, but nothing about how that will or won’t translate to cost savings for customers. Two Tesla designers, specifically said the company wouldn’t be unveiling its next generation model at the Wednesday event, and offered that it instead would be revealed at an unspecified later date.
Musk briefly re-appeared to mumble some stuff while a video of the company’s Optimus humanoid robot played on the screen (allegedly, it can walk now—which it couldn’t during the company’s AI day presentation in fall 2022). During this AI-focused interlude, the world’s richest man forecast a future where humanoid robots eventually outnumber people. “Assuming the things I’m saying are true—Well, I think they are true, it’s just a matter of timing,” he prefaced, the ratio of humanoid robots to people will become greater than 1:1 through unspecified home and industrial uses, Musk predicted. “It’s not even clear what an economy means at that point,” the billionaire added.
Then the lengthy (about 3-hour) presentation got back to the dull parade of Tesla execs who have rarely made past public appearances. For context: One of the ‘innovations’ announced was shifting to open access chargers which is actually just Tesla aligning itself with recent Biden Administration requirements for the company to receive federal subsidy money through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Another was a summary of why self-driving is critical for sustainability, because autonomous cars could serve more than one owner (At this point I involuntarily shouted “Just build an electric bus!” to the nearly empty office).
Tesla execs did eventually announce that they’ll be offering an unlimited overnight home charging option for drivers in Texas for $30 a month.
The final segment of the prepared presentation focused on numbers, earnings, operating margins, and other things the company had already shared with investors in its January shareholder report.
Worth noting: even though Musk and his company cronies offered nearly nothing new, even the little they did say might be utter bullshit. The whole presentation started with an extremely comprehensive disclaimer—emphasizing that you should not, in fact, assume the things that Musk says are true.