Elon Musk reveals his plans for Tesla in 2018
During the latest of his increasingly familiar tweetstorms, Tesla boss Elon Musk revealed his plans for 2018. These include software updates for Tesla cars and their smartphone app, the hugely anticipated - and delayed - Autopilot 2.0 self-driving system, and an electric pickup truck to rival America's best-selling vehicle.
Musk's Twitter conversation with the Tesla community began with a "note of deep gratitude" to the buyers who took "a chance on a new company that all experts said would fail."
In regard to Autopilot 2.0's late arrival, Musk apologized and said the system is being put through "exhaustive testing," adding: "The results are blowing me away though and I think you will have a similar experience."
When asked for a Tesla pickup truck, something Musk has openly considered in the past, he said: "I promise that we will make a pickup truck right after Model Y. Have had the core design/engineering elements in my mind for almost five years. Am dying to build it."
Also in the pipeline, Model Y will be a smaller SUV than the Model X. It is expected to share the same chassis as the Model 3, as the X does with the Model S.
When asked about the size of the pickup truck, Musk said it will have a "similar total size" to the Ford F150, the best-selling vehicle in America. He added: "Maybe slightly bigger to account for a really game changing (I think) feature I'd like to add." He did not elaborate on what this feature might be.
Musk also confirmed that a setting will be added so a Tesla's automatic Bluetooth connection can be switched off. The ability to switch on the heated windshield, seats and steering wheel "should" be included in the next update to the Tesla smartphone app, he said.
The Tesla CEO was then asked about his thoughts on electricity production increasing to keep up with accelerating electric car sales. He said: "Sustainable energy production with solar and batteries will grow much faster than auto on a percentage basis. That will be a big focus next year, with primary remaining Model 3 ramp."
He also admitted that the Tesla dashboard web browser "is terrible", and that major updates will be coming to all cars in a few months. However, he notes the new browser "will be slower at first until code is optimized." Also coming soon are "vastly better maps/nav" and a feature Tesla owners have cried out for for years - automatic windshield wipers.
With all of this, plus reaching mass production with the Model 3, launching Model Y, building the Tesla Semi truck and preparing the new Roadsters for its 2020 launch, Musk - as ever - has a lot on his to-do list for 2018.