Will Tesla’s Secret Master Plan Zap Chevy Bolt?

Chevrolet recently revealed the Bolt, an electric concept car with a range of 200 miles that it plans to sell for $30,000 in 2017. Did this surprise announcement ruffle the CEO of Tesla Motors? Not likely!

At a packed Detroit Auto Show press conference Elon Musk said he didn’t see the Bolt “as a competitive threat, because I think all cars will go electric.”

Despite record low prices for oil, Musk reckons “societal pressure” (climate change, etc) will help drive the demand for electric.

Nevertheless, it’s clear the Tesla team has some serious timing issues that need to be addressed or there will be trouble (at best) or complete disaster (at worse).

In 2006, Musk revealed his “Secret Tesla Master Plan.” He proposed four steps to “help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy, which I believe to be the primary, but not exclusive, sustainable solution.”

  1. Build a sports car
  2. Use that money to build an affordable car
  3. Use that money to build an even more affordable car
  4. Provide zero emission electric power generation options

Don’t tell anyone.

Here’s what actually happened:

  • Step 1: 2008-12 – Tesla Roadster produced.
  • Step 2: 2012-date Tesla Model S produced  (its average price of $100,000, is not exactly affordable)
  • Step 3: We’re still waiting for the Tesla Model 3

This 200 mile range, $30,000 car is in the works but a release date has been pushed out so many times, many have lost faith. Meantime, Tesla is hammering away on a tangent product: the Model X, a luxury SUV, due to be released this year.

Problem is, the affordable mass market car is the key to Tesla’s popularity among investors who’re fueling its sky high share price. If the Model 3 is delayed indefinitely, car makers like Chevy and Nissan could seize the affordable EV market.

I do have an issue with punctuality, Musk admits.

One can only hope he and his team get laser focused on meeting their delivery deadlines, or Tesla’s “Secret Master Plan” could go up in smoke, that climate-change-fueling-smoke that Musk so abhors.

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