WIRED STAFF TRANSPORTATION
The Tesla Model 3 is more than just an affordable electric car—it's the high point of Elon Musk's master plan. Yes, that sounds a bit supervillain-ish, but Musk is playing the hero role here. He has always been clear that his objective with Tesla is save the planet by speeding humanity's transition to sustainable energy.
In keeping with that theme, here's what Musk wrote in what he called The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan (just between you and me) in 2006:
Build sports car. Use that money to build an affordable car. Use thatmoney to build an even more affordable car. While doing above, alsoprovide zero emission electric power generation options. Don't tellanyone.
Over the past 11 years, Musk has worked to execute his plan to the letter (except he's hardly kept it secret). You can watch the journey in the video above. Yeah, there have been some mistakes, a near financial meltdown, and several production setbacks. But Tesla built and sold 2,400 sporty two-seater Roadsters. It used that money to help fund the development of the slightly cheaper Model S and Model X. Along the way, Tesla acquired Solar City and added home batteries and solar roofs to the mix.
Now, with the levels of anticipation usually reserved for an iPhone launch, the first "affordable" Model 3 cars are being delivered this week. Tesla plans to build and sell 500,000 cars next year, using all the lessons it has learned along the way.
Meanwhile, Musk has already published his Master Plan Part Deux, which calls for pickups, semi-trucks, and fully autonomous driving. His plan for world domination—sorry, world salvation—is only just getting started.