It was a hollow bait-and-switch for the Tesla faithful
Tesla may not be a car company the size of General Motors or Toyota, but it's unequivocally the most fascinating automotive startup of the 21st century. When Musk announces that he's going to release some new tidbit of information, people listen.
The big news that Musk announced? Tesla is going to focus its efforts on "stunning" solar roofs, self-driving technology, a small SUV and pickup truck, and advancements in -- wait for it -- electric tractor-trailers. Notably absent were specific details for any of it, which does nothing to quell the fears of investors or stoke excitement in fans.
Really, the last thing that Silicon Valley-proud Tesla needs to do is present a lineup that mimics that of a traditional car company -- which it will, if Tesla indeed introduces a small crossover and a pickup truck. Nevertheless, Musk is advocating for a product portfolio that hits precisely what consumers want right now, instead of trying to alter the public's perception as Tesla did with electric vehicles.
The most interesting and unexpected element of Musk's manifesto was that Tesla may enter the sphere of semi-autonomous road trains -- aka tractor-trailers that can drive themselves. Last year, Freightliner -- the trucking giant-slash-sister company to Mercedes, under Daimler-Benz -- showed off Inspiration, a highly advanced self-driving truck. Simply put, Tesla doesn't have unique expertise in the space of Autopilot-like systems to compete.