Congrats, Mr. Musk – you’ve done it again. In fewer than 140 characters, you’ve sent the tech worlds’ rumor mill into overdrive with your simple little teaser tweet on October 1 – “About time to unveil the D and something else” (BTW, that slick little black-on-black number in the pic is downright sexy)!
Never one to miss a marketing opportunity, Musk posted a coy follow-up tweet exactly 91 minutes later – “I love the Internet. Comments had me literally ROFL (rolling on floor laughing). No, it wasn’t intentional. Glad I didn’t mention the other letter!” Not intentional? Sure Elon….
Scores of media outlets, bloggers and auto buffs have been scrambling to decode the mysterious social media updates from Elon Musk; Bloomberg News, Yahoo and Forbes have all joined in on the guessing game.
So, Why All The Fuss?
In just a few short years, Tesla has evolved from being an obscure, experimental EV company into a full-fledged, legitimate player in the global automotive world. Tesla has proven that battery-powered vehicles can be fast, luxurious and viable in an over-saturated marketplace. When founder Elon Musk tweets, folks pay attention.
First of, lets talk about what we’re (pretty) sure the Telsa D isn’t:
It’s Not Telsa’s Next New Model
That’s right, folks, you heard it here first. We know, we’re swimming upstream on this one (it seems like everyone thinks the ‘D’ stands for Telsas’ newest model), however, the fact is, we already know what Musks’ next model is.
Back in July of this year, Tesla announced their Model III – slated to hit the showrooms something in 2017. That’s not to say that the October 9th announcement won’t include another new model, we’re just saying it’s not going to be the next new model.
‘D’ Doesn’t Stand For Diesel
There’s been a lot of chatter about Tesla introducing a hybrid diesel-electric vehicle, but that’s not going to happen. How can we be so certain? Back in 2008, Tesla Motors ditched plans to develop an extended-range hybrid gas-electric version of the Model S, while at the September 2008 GoingGreen Conference, Elon Musk said that Tesla would only develop all-electric vehicles, not hybrids.
So, What Could The Elusive ‘D’ Stand For?
We’re thinking that Elon’s ‘D’ means one thing – driver-assisted technology. Remember that second tweet about “the other letter”? We’d like to buy a vowel, Alex.
And the stock market types agree – following the cyrptic Tesla tweets last week, the value of Mobileye NV (one of Tesla Motors’ clients) soared to record highs. If the October 9th announcement is indeed about the integration of advanced automotive technology into Tesla’s products, Mobileye investors stand to reap a tidy profit in the process.
Elon Musk hasn’t exactly kept his feelings about autonomous cars a secret – he’s discussed his plans to deliver self-driving cars during numerous interviews. In 2013, he was quoted as saying that Tesla could deliver a “90% autonomous car” within three years; that puts our prediction right on track with Tesla’s timeline towards auto-piloting technologies.
Of course, the rumour mills have also suggested that the ‘D’ Elon eluded to might stand for dual-motor, an all-wheel drive version of the current Model S. That’s certainly a viable guess, given that the forthcoming Model X SUV from Tesla will need two identical drive motors to achieve AWD status, but for now, we’re standing behind our stance about the driver-assist (just because it would be very, very cool)!
What Else Might Mr. Musk Share On The 9th?
We already know that Tesla has picked Nevada as the home of their much-hyped battery gigafactory, but what we’re a little foggy on is what Tesla plans on doing with the 500,000 batteries they plan on producing there each year.
Our best guess (or perhaps our hope)? That the October 9th event will include some promises to build EV’s for the masses, vehicles that are competitively priced against the current battery-powered buggies being pushed by Nissan, Ford and General Motors. We’re cautiously optimistic about the prospect of a lower-priced Tesla, particularly since the cost of producing EV batteries at the $1.25 billion-dollar Nevada gigafactory is predicted to be about 30% lower than the current cost. That means (hypothetically) that these lower-priced power plants should help bring down the cost of Tesla cars.
So, what do you think about Tesla’s latest tweets? Is Elon Musk just messing with us, or should we all be watching our news feeds with baited breath on October 9th? What’s your best guess?