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Has Elon Musk’s ‘Secret Master Plan’ Worked For Tesla?

Back in 2006, Tesla had just unveiled to the world the Tesla Roadster, the first ever Tesla car. Since then, Tesla has been on a meteoric rise, in part due to the leadership of its CEO, Elon Musk. But in fact, back in 2006, Musk wrote a blog post outlining the Tesla “Secret Master Plan.” Here’s a review of that plan, over 13 years later.

Phase 1: build and sell a sports car

As the reviews came in, it was clear that the Tesla Roadster was a success. Like Elon Musk said in his blog post, the first step of Tesla’s plan was to create a sports car that had no compromises. It had to be either better than or at the very least, competitive with, the name brand sports cars of the world, such as Porsche or Ferrari. As tests done by Tesla and Tesla owners showed, that’s exactly what happened.

But at the same time, the Tesla Roadster had to be environmentally friendly. And that’s exactly what it did with the help of its batteries. According to Musk, the Roadster is twice as energy-efficient as the Toyota Prius, which was the most famous environmentally friendly car at the time.

Musk also did the math and found that the Roadster was far more green than the Prius was, as the Prius emitted almost three times more CO2 per mile than the Roadster did.

And, while the Roadster was a luxury sports car that had an almost $100,000 price tag, Musk’s plan wasn’t to sell a lot of them. Despite that, its sales were decent given how new Tesla was to the industry.

Phase 2: build and sell more affordable cars

As Musk said, new technologies, such as electric cars, will start with a high price tag until its designers can create a more affordable version of it. That’s why Musk and Tesla decided to enter the market, as Musk said, with an expensive sports car. The people who can afford it will buy it, and the money that they spent on the Roadster will then be spent by Tesla on making a more affordable car.

That’s essentially what happened. The numbers varied though, as Musk originally said that the Roadster would cost $90,000 and that its follow up will be about half of that. That follow up was the Tesla Model S, and while it was definitely more affordable than the Roadster was, it wasn’t half its price.

That said, the Model S did sell far better than the Roadster did. For example, Business Insider says that about 2,400 Roadsters have been sold overall. In comparison, Tesla says that over 200,000 Model S’s have been sold so far. 

Repeating the cycle, Musk says that the money that the Model S makes will then be used to develop an even more affordable car. That car was the Model 3, and it is by far the most affordable Tesla car so far at about $35,000. Currently, the Model 3 is selling very well and dominates Tesla’s sales. 

Phase 3: provide zero-emission electricity generation options

This aspect of Elon Musk’s secret plan didn’t really go the way he envisioned it in 2006, but still, it’s been somewhat successful. Originally, Musk planned on using SolarCity, a company that Musk is also invested in, to offer solar panels for homeowners. The idea didn’t really take off at the time, but Musk and Tesla did create the Tesla Supercharger network.

Some Tesla Supercharger stations do have solar panels that will provide the zero-emission electricity generation that Musk talked about. On top of that, Tesla is currently starting to offer products such as the Tesla roof, which will outfit your roof with solar panels, as well as the Tesla Powerwall, which is a giant rechargeable battery for your home. These products will finally fulfill this area of Musk’s master plan for good.