Elon Musk's grand plan for Tesla: tiny buses, electric semis and self-driving taxis

Testing Tesla's handsfree driving
Testing Tesla's handsfree driving

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk isn't happy just selling cars.

In a "master plan" published Wednesday night, Musk revealed plans to sell electric buses, pick-up trucks, semis and a small SUV. He also envisioned allowing Tesla owners to turn their cars into self-driving taxis.

The updated plan includes an explanation of why Tesla wants to purchase SolarCity (SCTY), the solar energy company that Musk is chairman of. Musk wrote that Tesla could not create a smoothly integrated and beautiful solar roof and battery product if the two companies are separate.

In Musk's dream world, energy collected from a home's rooftop solar panels would help power a person's electric car.

"Now that Tesla is ready to scale Powerwall and SolarCity is ready to provide highly differentiated solar, the time has come to bring them together," Musk said.

Related: Elon Musk wants to sell you a car and solar panels in five minutes

According to Musk, Tesla (TSLA) is in the early stages of developing heavy duty trucks and buses. But he envisions rethinking the bus, by removing the center aisle and adding seats. These buses would take passengers all the way to their destination rather than dropping them at fixed stops.

Musk said Tesla will build self-driving capabilities that are 10 times safer than traditional driving. He also defended Tesla's autopilot software, which is being investigated by the federal government following a driver's death. He called it "morally reprehensible to delay release simply for fear of bad press or some mercantile calculation of legal liability."

Tesla also appeared set to take on Uber and Google (GOOG). Both are likely candidates to release self-driving taxi services in the coming years.

Musk said that Tesla will supply its own self-driving taxis in cities with high demand.

He also described a plan to allow Tesla owners to add their car to Tesla's shared fleet. While an owner is at work or on vacation, the vehicle will generate income by driving others around.

Related: Who's responsible when an autonomous car crashes?

The ambitions in Tesla's plan are incredibly high and come as Tesla finds itself in challenging waters.

Earlier this month Tesla missed its vehicle delivery target for the second time this year. It already has its hands full as it attempts to ramp up for the unprecedented demand of the Model 3, its $35,000 sedan. Tesla has promised to deliver the car in 2017, but it has a history of missing deadlines. Tesla said it's received nearly 400,000 pre-orders, which would make the Model 3 instantly one of the country's bestselling vehicles.

Musk's new master plan is a follow-up to a 2006 blog post, which detailed plans to build an electric sports car, followed by more affordable models.

"The plan sounds overly ambitious for now, especially considering that there there are already doubts about whether Tesla can meet its goals for the next two years," said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds.com director of industry analysis. "If part one of Elon Musk's master plan was like putting a man on the moon, part two is a lot more like colonizing the galaxy."

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