Elon Musk Says Tesla Cars Will Reach 620 Miles On A Single Charge “Within A Year Or Two,” Be Fully Autonomous In “Three Years”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk sat down with a Danish TV show last week and had some interesting predictions to share.

Asked, for example, when he thought the company could produce a car that can “break 1,000 kilometers” (or 620 miles) on a single charge, he said his guess would be “within a year or two,” adding, “2017 for sure.”

As readers might recall, a new record was established last month by one enthusiastic Model S owner, who drove a painful 24-miles-per hour to make it a stunning 452.8 miles on a single charge. (The car is advertised as having a 265-mile range.)

Musk didn’t elaborate on whether someone would need to drive just as slowly to reach 620 miles in 2017. We’d guess that’s not what he had in mind, though.

Musk also said that self-driving Tesla cars are around the corner.

Already, owners of Tesla’s Model S models are expecting a software update that will allow their cars to start driving themselves in a hands-free mode that Musk calls “auto pilot.” Musk told the Danish interviewer that the software is still being beta-tested and will “hopefully go into wide release next month.”

(A March New York Times story reported the software would be released this past summer. It also noted that “serious questions remain about whether such autonomous driving is actually legal.”)

Perhaps more notably, Musk is now saying that Tesla cars should have “full autonomy” in “approximately three years.”

As for when regulators are ready to sanction self-driving technologies, they  “probably will not allow for full autonomy for one to three years after that,” said Musk. “It depends on the market. Some will be more forward-leaning than others.”

Perhaps emboldened by Musk’s seeming candor, the interviewer also asked Musk what cars will look like 20 years from now.

Musk — who has famously argued that we need to put one million people on Mars to ensure the future of mankind — thought for a second. Then he said matter-of-factly: “I hope civilization is still around in 20 years.”

Here’s the full interview: