Hyperlate: Elon Musk and Tesla delay their next big product launch

Oct 17, 2016 | Science and Technology

Published: Salon (October 17, 2016)

It seems that followers of Elon Musk will have to wait another two days before his latest product unveiling.

In a tweet sent out on Sunday afternoon, Musk announced that Tesla needs until Wednesday to refine its upcoming launch. This was going to be part of a pair of product launches that Musk had promised last week, one for today and the other for Friday, October 28th. While the details of the latter launch are already public — Musk is going to unveil a residential solar roof with integrated batteries — the former has been kept secret.

According to USA Today, experts speculate that Musk will either reveal an improved version of Autopilot, the self-driving program in his Model S and X sedans; a sneak peak of the interior of the upcoming Model 3 sedan; or the announcement of a Model Y crossover vehicle. If the announcement pertained to a new version of Autopilot, Musk’s delay may be related to a recent request by Germany’s Federal Motor Transportation Authority that Tesla stop using that term. Germany’s concern is that “Autopilot” is misleading, since it allows Germans to believe the driving system is fully autonomous when that is not the case.

Musk’s product launches are closely watched, highly produced and super-hyped affairs, leading some industry analysts to compare the corporate culture at Tesla to that of Apple. Certainly Musk has built an aura around himself modeled on the cult of personality that once surrounded Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs. Musk has also garnered headlines for his audacious promises, most recently by promising to finance space travel beyond Mars by 2018.

When it comes to his latest technological development, though, Musk fans will simply have to wait a little longer to find out whether the hype was worth it.