Tesla's production capacities are in store for a significant growth spurt, CEO Elon Musk told the crowd assembled at the company's Austin, Texas Gigafactory for Investor Day 2023 — and AI will apparently be the magic bullet that gets them there. It's all part of what Musk is calling Master Plan part 3.
This is indeed Musk's third such Master Plan, the first two coming in 2006 and 2016, respectively. These have served as a roadmap for the company's growth and development over the past 17 years as Tesla has grown from neophyte startup to the world's leading EV automaker. "There is a clear path to a sustainable energy Earth by 2050 and it does not require destroying natural habitats," Musk said during the keynote address.
"You could support a civilization much bigger than Earth [currently does]. Much more than the 8 billion humans could actually be supported sustainably on Earth and I'm just often shocked and surprised by how few people realize this," he continued. He promised that the company would release a "detailed whitepaper with calculations & assumptions," via Twitter during the event.
Main Tesla subjects will be scaling to extreme size, which is needed to shift humanity away from fossil fuels, and AI.
But I will also Include sections about SpaceX, Tesla and The Boring Company.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 21, 2022
The Master Plan aims to establish a sustainable energy economy by developing 240 terraWatt hours (TWH) of energy storage and 30 TWH of renewable power generation, which would require an estimated $10 trillion investment, roughly 10 percent of the global GDP. Musk notes, however, that figure is less than half of what we spend currently on internal combustion economy. In all, he anticipates we'd need less than 0.2 percent of the world's land area to create the necessary solar and wind generation capacity.
"All cars will go to fully electric and autonomous," Musk declared, arguing once again that ICE vehicles will soon be viewed in the same disdain as the horse and buggy. He also teased potential plans to electrify aircraft and ships. "As we improve the energy density of batteries, you’ll see all transportation go fully electric, with the exception of rockets,” he said. No further details as to when or how that might be accomplished were shared.
“A sustainable energy economy is within reach and we should accelerate it,” Drew Baglino, Tesla's SVP of Powertrain and Energy Engineering, added.
Following Musk's opening statement, Tesla executives Lars Moravy and Franz von Holzhausen took the stage to discuss the company's "production hell" and the challenges of building the Cybertruck out of stainless steel. However, the lessons learned from that, Moravy argued will help Tesla build its Gen 3 vehicles more efficiently, and do so within a far smaller factory footprint. von Holzhausen announced to a rousing round of applause that the Cybertruck will arrive later this year, a significantly closer date than Musk's previous public estimate that production wouldn't begin until next year.
Unfortunately, there will be no new vehicle reveal at this event, von Holzhausen said. That announce will happen "at a later date."
The company did tease a new video featuring the Tesla Robot walking independently and without the aide of a support frame though there was no live demonstration of the same. Despite difficulties finding suitable off-the-shelf actuators and motors for the humanoid robot platform, "we should bring and actual produce to market at scale that is useful far faster than anyone else," Musk said.
He further expects the company's robots to become so successful that we may soon see a day where they outnumber humans. "I think we might exceed a one-to-one ratio of robots to humans," he added. "It's not even clear what an economy means at that point."