Elon Musk outlines his masterplan for humanity – and it’s not all about Tesla

 (Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images)
(Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images)

Elon Musk used Tesla’s highly anticipated investor event to lay out the third part of his masterplan for humanity – but the lengthy presentation did not include any new cars.

Instead, the divisive entrepreneur spoke about pivoting away from fossil fuels completely. He even provided a deadline and a price tag for his grand vision: Musk said that it could be achieved by 2050 and would cost $10 trillion ($8.35 tn).

Upon taking the stage at the event, the Tesla boss declared that “there is a clear path to a sustainable-energy Earth”.

He continued: “It doesn’t require destroying natural habitats. It doesn’t require us to be austere and stop using electricity and be in the cold or anything.”

Musk said Earth could sustainably support a civilisation much bigger than eight billion humans.

Whether or not this is all just hot air remains to be seen. Musk promised to release a white paper with more details soon.

Anyone expecting talk of cheaper Tesla EVs or the new Cybertruck may have been disappointed by the screed. The carmaker previously revealed that a new generation of affordable vehicles was on the way. Some people argue that cheaper EVs could help the world achieve its climate goals by fuelling the widespread adoption of sustainable transport.

In January, Tesla slashed the prices of its electric vehicles in Europe and the US in a bid to boost sales amid sluggish consumer demand, sparking anger from existing owners.

Still, Musk and a gaggle of Tesla execs did address manufacturing changes that they claim would cut costs in half for future vehicles. The move would basically see the company building the front and the back of the vehicle separately, and then putting them together with the sides.

“I really want today to be not only about investors who own Tesla stock but anyone who is an investor in Earth,” Musk said during the event at the company’s factory in Austin, Texas. “Earth can move to a sustainable economy and will do so in your lifetime.”

In some ways, the speech was vintage Musk. In the lead-up to his troubled acquisition of Twitter, the world’s sometimes-richest man said he was buying the platform to “save humanity”. He previously said an investment of between $100 billion (£83.5 bn) to $10 trillion would be required to build a full-size city on Mars, as part of his company SpaceX’s plans to colonise the Red Planet.

The third act of Musk’s masterplan follows part two, which was published in 2016 and is yet to be completely realised. Its objectives included creating solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage; expanding the EV product line to address all major segments; developing a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning; and enabling your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it.