While most major tech companies ended 2018 on a subdued note, Tesla took a different tack. On Dec. 26, the automaker’s outspoken billionaire CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to announce a bold plan to provide all of Europe with Tesla Supercharger coverage. Moreover, he plans to have the European network up and running in 2019.
Tesla Superchargers are 480-volt rapid charging stations that allow Tesla Model X, S and 3s to partially recharge their batteries in around 30 minutes.
Presently, the majority of Supercharger stalls and stations in Europe are concentrated in the western portion of the continent. However, Musk’s new tweets claim that next year, the Supercharger network will extend “from Ireland to Kiev, from Norway to Turkey.”
He also noted that the North American Supercharger network will receive an upgrade in 2019, tweeting “All major highways in Texas will have Superchargers, all the way to Brownsville & across Mexico.”
If Musk is able to deliver on his latest claims, Tesla will play a major role in Europe’s push to eliminate fossil fuel-powered vehicles within the next 20 years. As such, Elon’s visions of a new EV maker putting Tesla out of business won’t come to pass anytime soon.
Tesla Hardware 3 Prepping for Beta Test
Establishing a robust European EV charging network isn’t the only big move Tesla is planning for the near future. On Dec. 28, it was reported that Musk sent out an internal email asking for volunteers for the beta test of Hardware 3.
The email described Hardware 3, the latest iteration of Tesla’s Autopilot driver-assistance program, as being “1,000%” more capable than Hardware 2.
Based on Musk’s email, it appears that he and Tesla’s engineers were able to develop a working version of the neural net that was mentioned during the company’s Q3 earnings call. With it, the Autopilot system should now be capable of the constant 360-degree proximity monitoring necessary for self-driving functionality.
If the beta test goes well, Tesla might very well be the first company to finally resolve the long-standing autonomous vehicle conundrum.
Oracle Founder Joins Tesla Board of Directors
In another interesting end of year development for Tesla, Oracle founder Larry Ellison was appointed to the automaker’s Board of Directors alongside Walgreens Boots Alliance executive vice president Kathleen Wilson-Thompson on Dec. 28.
The pair were added to Tesla’s board as part of the company’s settlement with Securities Exchange Commission that saw Musk step down as chairman. The SpaceX founder was sued by the SEC back in September after he claimed he had secured funding to take Tesla private.
Although Ellison is also an outspoken tech billionaire, he’s unlikely to clash with Musk. Not only is Ellison a longtime friend of the South African entrepreneur, but he’s also a big supporter of Tesla and purchased 3 million shares of the company earlier this year.
With a viable plan to dominate the European EV market in place, his self-driving technology ready for a test drive, and one of his buddies newly installed on his board, the stage is set for Musk to have a banner year in 2019. Well, provided he can refrain from getting into fights on Twitter.