When he was in his 20s, Steve Jobs was often so excited about what he and his team was working on that he had trouble keeping it a secret. This led to a saying at Apple: "Isn’t it funny, a ship that leaks from the top." There's clearly some of that same excitement going on with Elon Musk. He's often hinted at and almost pre-announced various Tesla features and products over the years.
But now he's just teasing us.
In a recent interview Musk said: “People have gotten used to us showing all of our cards.” Then he paused. “We’re not currently showing all of our cards. Our capex [capital expenditure] and R&D numbers are better than they appear because there are things you don’t know about.”So what does that mean exactly? Tesla is making big capital and R&D investments into things that they haven't talked about yet - on top of the big expenses to get the Model X, Model 3, and Gigafactory ready.
What could this secret project be? I have a few guesses:
Musk has talked about how he wants to eventually build an electric pickup truck that is kind of like the Ford F150, but better, with a dynamic suspension that means it rides as well when it's empty as fully loaded. Could that be it?
They've recently announced that their lower-cost, higher-volume electric car will be named the Model 3. Could they already be working on an even more affordable electric car (Model 1? Model A?) that would be even smaller and cheaper? If the Model 3 is going to be like a BMW 3 series, maybe they have something closer to a Honda Civic on the drawing board that could be sold for a much lower price ($20k?) around the end of this decade, when battery prices are much lower thanks to a combination of just normal year-over-year incremental improvements and the scale and innovation from the Gigafactory.
Maybe the secret is that they plan to rapidly build more Gigafactories after the first one to carve themselves a spot as battery supplier to the whole electric car industry? That would certainly be a Musk-size goal.
Maybe it's further integration between Solarcity and Tesla, with better deals on solar power being offered to Tesla customers so they can always charge on sunlight?
Or are they going to go all out on the science-fiction front and build the Hyperloop? I doubt it would make much sense for Tesla to get into such a complex and capital-intensive project, but we're allowed to dream, aren't we?
Or maybe it's a joint-venture between Tesla and SpaceX for rocket-powered cars!
Or maybe it's Stephen Colbert's jetpack...