What Does Tesla Have Up Its Sleeve For October 17?

On Sunday, Elon Musk did what he does best — he started a firestorm of speculation by tweeting that Tesla would unveil a new product on October 17. Musk, in  his usual fashion, provided no details but did offer this hint. He said the new product is something that is “unexpected by most.” What does that mean?

Tesla electric motorcycle

As a matter of policy here at Gas 2, we try to refrain from hyperventilating about rumors and speculation. If some company says they will have a new concept at an upcoming car show, we avoid the rumor and report about the car itself once the wraps come off. If someone suggests that there has been a stunning new breakthrough in battery technology, we take a wait and see attitude. It’s a long road from the laboratory to production and lots of “breakthoughs” never pan out.

But when Musk says something, we sit up and listen. Perhaps no one on earth is as skillful at starting a social media bonfire as Elon. His words move markets and strike fear into boardrooms worldwide. So let’s take a moment to consider the possibilities.

Experienced Tesla watchers know there are two levels of product reveals for the company. One is a huge, splashy media event like the one that accompanied the unveiling of the Model 3 earlier this year. It is usually an invitation-only affair with lots of celebrities on hand and Elon himself bounding around handing out commemorative T shirts.

The second kind of reveal is a more routine drum roll followed by the pulling back of a curtain followed by a press release. That’s what this occasion feels like. There have been no indications of invitations going out or giant tents going up somewhere in southern California. That leads us to believe this is not about the Phase 2 reveal of the Model 3 that Elon promises will be even more spectacular than the original. But what could it be?

There are plenty of theories, of course. Some expect an announcement about the new solar roof product Musk has hinted at, but that idea runs afoul of the second part of Musk’s tweet, which says the October 17 event will be followed by Tesla/SolarCity news on the 28th.

Most people are focusing on the words in the second Tesla Master Plan released earlier this year which declared that once the company had released an affordable electric car, it would “expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments.” Hmmm…..tantalizing stuff, eh?

As part of Master Plan, Part Deux, Musk wrote, “[With] a new kind of pickup truck, we plan to address most of the consumer market. In addition to consumer vehicles, there are two other types of electric vehicle needed: heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport. Both are in the early stages of development at Tesla and should be ready for unveiling next year.” For Musk, deadlines are not something to be met but rather targets to be exceeded. Any of those could be the new product “unexpected by most.” Or maybe its the much hoped for Tesla Model M electric motorcycle?

Forgive us for getting caught up in the hype. When Musk is involved, it’s hard not to get drawn into the speculation. If you have a notion about what the Tesla announcement on October 17 will be, please share it with us in the comments section.

Source: Newsweek  Image credit: Jans Slapins/Silodrome

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.