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Elon Musk lays out timeline for Tesla semi truck, electric pickup

LiveMint logoLiveMint 14-04-2017 Dana Hull

San Francisco: Tesla Inc.’s plans to pad its lineup of electric vehicles are taking shape, with Elon Musk sketching out a timeline for the arrival of a semi truck, pickup and sports car.

After the final unveiling of the Model 3 sedan in July, Tesla will show an electric semi truck in September and a pickup in 18 to 24 months, the chief executive officer wrote in a series of tweets Thursday. The Palo Alto, California-based company also will bring back the Roadster, its very first model, as a convertible.

Musk had telegraphed Tesla’s future products several times before, most notably in last summer’s “Master Plan, Part Deux.” With the Model 3 already aimed at catapulting Tesla from niche player to higher-volume automaker, the manifesto went a step further, with Musk laying out a vision to “cover the major forms of terrestrial transport.”

“Team has done an amazing job,” Musk tweeted on Thursday, referring to the semi truck. “Seriously next level.”

Analysts quickly speculated Musk may have been alluding to the semi’s self-driving capabilities. The auto industry has adopted a five-level system for measuring autonomous proficiency, with the highest-level systems being capable of all driving-related tasks.

“It’s at least a semi-autonomous truck,” Ben Kallo, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co., said by phone. “The important thing is that while everyone is focused on the Model 3, there are a lot of other projects going on at Tesla.”

Tesla declined to comment beyond Musk’s tweets. Its shares climbed 2.4% to close at $304 in New York, valuing the company at about $49.6 billion. Tesla’s market capitalization briefly passed General Motors Co. earlier this week.

After burning through $970 million in the fourth quarter, Tesla has forecast as much as $2.5 billion in capital expenditures during the first half of 2017. The company raised about $1.4 billion through a stock and debt offering last month.

James Albertine, an analyst at consumer edge research, called Musk’s tweets potentially exciting for investors, as the products are ways Tesla can extend into new markets and leverage prior investments.

“We continue to believe Tesla would have to come back to the markets to raise capital in the future, but we think the concept of scalability tomorrow helps to defend the rate of cash burn today,” Albertine wrote in a report Thursday. Bloomberg

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