When he’s not discussing interplanetary colonization of the solar system, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has made it his favorite pastime to send the luxury auto market into a frenzy.
Musk’s latest attempt? A mysterious Tweet announcing “the D” and “something else.” So far, nobody knows what any of this really means, but the teaser image that was included with the Tweet can be seen above. Is it a new model? An updated model? New features? The only thing that’s a certainty is that speculation is going to run rampant until whatever it is that Musk is planning is finally unveiled on October 9.
So what exactly is going on over at Tesla headquarters? Well, as mentioned before, the speculation has already started. So let’s indulge ourselves.
First off, is this announcement regarding a new model? It’s possible, but we’re betting against it based on the fact that Musk mentions “the D,” not the Model D. Of course, by saying Model D, Musk would be giving away the surprise altogether. But looking at the image that was posted up above, the outline of the grill looks identical to the Model S. So perhaps it’s a new feature? Also, we already know that the name of Tesla’s next new vehicle, after the Model X, is slated to be called the Model 3.
Unless Musk is jumping the gun and outing a vehicle that will hit production after the Model 3 and Model X, it’s likely that “the D” he is referring to is one of two things: an updated or redesigned version of the company’s current flagship Model S, or a new feature — perhaps all-wheel drive, which was on Tesla’s to-do list at one point.
Could it be that Musk is heeding the call of so many consumers who want a less expensive Tesla option? That’s another possibility. There have been whispers that Tesla was considering doing just that, but nothing concrete has surfaced. If the company was able to take its Model S, for example, and downsize it and make it more affordable for middle class consumers, it would greatly expand the automaker’s reach.
Another possibility is a redesign, or maybe even a replacement for the Model S Roadster. Again, not a lot of evidence to support that, but it’s an idea floating around comment threads and message boards. In all likelihood, “the D” that Musk is referring to is going to be a new feature.
Perhaps the sexiest idea that’s floating around is that Tesla is offering customers driver assist technology. Or perhaps, even driverless vehicles? That’s technology that is being developed in the same area as Tesla’s headquarters by companies like Google, and has garnered a lot of interest from those on the sidelines. The technology itself has been under testing for a couple years now, and with all likelihood, will start to enter the market in new cars soon.
There is some evidence that points in this direction. First of all, California recently announced the legalization of self-driving vehicles. Obviously, the technology has a way to go before it’s completely ready, but California has been proactive in allowing the state’s streets to become a laboratory of sorts.
Secondly, Musk has had meetings with top tech companies regarding the adoption of self-driving technology before. Though it’s mainly speculative, we know that Tesla is in the middle of Silicon Valley, and collaboration is certainly possible.
The one downfall to this argument is that while Musk himself has said that Tesla plans to adopt the technology, it won’t be for a few years at least. So perhaps maybe a prototype of the technology is being announced? Or a less sophisticated driver-assist feature? Again, a sexy idea, but we know nothing for sure.
So what does Tesla have hidden up its sleeve? Looks as though we have to wait until October 9 to find out.