Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLAC), under the guidance of founder and CEO Elon Musk is much more than it was at the start of 2016. Then it was an electric carmaker that had dipped its toes into energy storage.
Now it’s an automaker, on track to deliver 80,000 vehicles by the end of this year. It is also the builder of a gigantic battery factory and a solar company, having merged with SolarCity. The question now is: What about 2017?
The number of vehicles built and sold could skyrocket with the launch of Tesla’s Model 3 mass-market car priced at $30,000 after tax breaks. With a range of 200 miles on a single charge and a scheduled launch of late 2017, the Model 3 could become Tesla’s Model T Ford.
To date 400,000 potential customers have put down $1,000 each as part of a massive preorder campaign. Consumer demand is not a question. The question is: Can Tesla deliver? Tesla says it can and will.
Solar Roof For Houses
The SolarCity wing of Tesla promises to be an ingenious solar roof. This expensive but efficient product turns an entire roof into a giant solar panel. The idea here is to turn SolarCity from a solar renting agency into a company that sells solar products.
The solar roof is unique mostly because it does not look like a solar anything. The roof tiles are made of textured glass and, in Musk’s words, “tough as steel.” At last word, Tesla planned to begin rolling out the “solar shingles” in mid to late 2017.
More Supercharger Stations
One huge drawback to electric vehicles is access to charging stations. Tesla has tackled this issue by creating Supercharger stations where Tesla owners can charge their vehicles for about 170 miles in 30 minutes.
Tesla wants these stations to be used for long distance trips and to encourage owners to otherwise charge their cars at home. The new year will likely see the company expanding its network of Supercharger stations including adding stations in China, set to become a big market for the electric vehicles.
Autopilot Program Expansion
Tesla is expected to double down on its Autopilot program in 2017. The move for all automakers is toward self-driving vehicles. Tesla wants to get there while maintaining driver control to combat negative press over that fatal Autopilot crash in 2016.
Meanwhile, Musk recently tweeted that an updated version of its Autopilot feature will be enabled in new Teslas starting this week. The tweet, sent last Thursday said, "Looks like we might be ready to roll out most of Autopilot functionality for HW2 toward the end of next week."
A Tesla Pickup
Finally, will Tesla unveil a pickup truck in 2017? Carslane speculates the company will release a concept vehicle in 2017, gauge public opinion and build from there by, at least, 2020. Musk has already said Tesla would enter the pickup truck market so that part is not speculation. The speculation revolves around how quickly the company can deliver the Model 3 and retool for a variety of different vehicle models.
Pricing the truck is going to be tricky but Carslane believes the truck will be priced at around $40,000 making it highly competitive in the truck market.