Tesla CEO Elon Musk has recently unveiled that his company aims to bring out an urban bus, a new pick-up truck and a car-sharing system based on autonomous vehicles.
Tesla has seen a rough patch lately, and the announcement about the upcoming developments comes to wash away the worries that loom over its "Autopilot" semi-autonomous driving mode. Musk has dubbed the release of the new categories of vehicles and car-sharing platform a "secret" master plan.
In his blog post, Musk notes that besides the consumer market, Tesla wants to address clients in need of heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport. He goes on to say that both projects are in the starting stages of development, and prototypes could be revealed to the public in 2017. However, the plan was a bit vague about the way the new electric trucks or public transit vehicles would be financed.
Musk also underlines his commitment to having all Tesla-manufactured vehicles fully powered by autonomous driving support.
On the sharing side of things, Musk proposes a scenario where Tesla owners can boost their revenue while they are not using the vehicle. He points out that as soon as the authorities green-light the technology, users will be able to "add [their] car to the Tesla shared fleet" with the mere touch of a button in the dedicated app.
While Tesla owners are at work or in vacation, their cars could bring an extra buck just in the way car-sharing services are doing right now, but sans a driver. This could put Tesla on equal footing with existing ride-sharing fleets belonging to Uber or Lyft.
"In cities where demand exceeds the supply of customer-owned cars, Tesla will operate its own fleet," Musk says in a blog post.
Tesla Motors debuted its first electric vehicle in 2008, but 2012 brought on the first series variant, the Model S. The car was rather pricey, but gained lift worldwide in spite of its starting price of about $70,000.
The company used the profits from the Model S to fuel the development and manufacturing of Model 3, a more affordable electric vehicle. The Model 3 will cost about $35,000, and more than 300,000 preorders for it stand ground for its popularity.
Recent events cast a shadow on Tesla's reputation as a reliable builder of self-driving cars. The first fatality related to autonomous driving was registered in Florida, where a Model S that had Autopilot turned on crashed into a trailer truck, killing its driver.
The incident was followed by another one in Pennsylvania, prompting the NHTSA to start an investigation to determine whether or not the Autopilot feature was on at the time of the crash.
Tesla sets itself an ambitious production goal of delivering 500,000 cars by 2018. To put it in perspective, the automaker managed to roll out only 50,658 cars in 2015. The company's previous projection was that it will bring out 80,000 to 90,000 vehicles during the current year, but insiders from the company say it will miss the target.
The company already missed its second-quarter deliveries projection by 2,600 vehicles, give or take.