Three Big, Breaking Tesla Stories

Elon Musk's Tesla Motors announces three breakthroughs in his pioneering electric car business.

Oct. 6, 2014—1. Last week Elon Musk got tongues wagging from Silicon Valley to Wall Street with a a cryptic Tweet: "About time to unveil the D and something else."

This morning, the Wall Street Journal's "Corporate Intelligence" blog followed up with a report that "the D" is code for a big step toward an auto-piloted car.

WSJ credited the story to an anonymous insider: "Tesla Motors Inc. plans to unveil features that enable more computer-controlled driving of its Model S electric sedan on Thursday, following up on tweets sent by the company’s founder last week."

Three weeks ago, Musk teased this. saying he'd have a "fully autonomous" car ready for market in five or six years.

And back in June he said that by 2015, “you’ll be able to go from highway on-ramp to highway exit without touching any controls."

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2. Also this morning, the subscription-only Automotive News reported that Musk is planning to institute a certified used cars program next year, which could bring the price of an entry-level Model S way down. The trade journal said this may be the "ace up his sleeve."

This is biggish news in industry circles because Certified Previously Owned (CPO) programs "have become an increasingly important sales channel for carmakers, especially luxury brands whose buyers—even used buyers—have high expectations for the quality of the car and the sales and service experience," says Business Insider.

And Musk has probably been planning this move for some time. When he released the Model S two years ago, he guaranteed that the vehicles could be returned for a specified resale value after three years. Many of those cars back will likely be coming back in the second half of next year when Tesla drivers turn them in to get the new Model X — the electric crossover / SUV targeted for production by next June.

3. Could the "…something else" referred to in his cryptic Tweet be the biggest news? Is this Musk channeling Steve Jobs, with whom he is frequently compared? Is this Tesla's "one more thing?" We may know Thursday.