Electric car maker's next model, a small SUV, looks to have a stronger design than its stablemates

The reveal of the Tesla Model Y is planned for 15 March 2019, with production mooted to begin in 2020 at the American company's plant in Fremont, California, CEO Elon Musk has announced. 

At the company's annual shareholder meeting, and in subsequent posts on Twitter, Musk announced that 15 March "sounded good. We could unveil Model Y anytime from late this year to mid next year, so March 15 is about right." A new preview image of the car reveals little more than before. 

Read more: Tesla Model 3 first drive review

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is reportedly evaluating applications from companies bidding for a Model Y parts supply contract. He is likely to be doing this even more carefully than usual, given the recent parts supply issues that caused a backlog for production of the Model 3.

Musk has since said that Tesla is working at full steam to clear the delays, pushing to hit targets for 5000 cars per week, or 260,000 a year. But Tesla will want to be doubly sure the backlogs are clear and production pace picks up well before it introduces the Model Y.

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Based on the underpinnings of the Model 3, the Model Y will be a small SUV and, judging by preview images, have a more striking design than its stablemates. A new preview picture released by Tesla (above) shows a car with no door mirrors.

Although current laws require mirrors to be fitted, these could be revised to allow the use of cameras and internally mounted displays as an alternative before the Model Y hits the roads.

The Model Y will come with a significantly more advanced supercomputer than current Tesla models, and this is expected to advance Tesla's current Autopilot technology by some margin. Currently, the system can control the car's steering, accelerator and brakes in certain scenarios.

Following the Model Y, Tesla plans to produce a pick-up truck, a cargo van and a minibus, all based on the platform of the Model X SUV. A hatchback will arrive within the next five years, too. 

Tesla's launching of commercial vehicles will come as part of its Master Plan, Part Deux, a strategy that also outlines ambitions to take the lead with autonomous technology and transform the public transport sector. It was published in 2016, ten years after Tesla's original Master Plan, which previewed the subsequent launches of the Model S, Model X and Model 3, as well as its solar power products.

The Tesla Semi lorry, which was revealed last year and is available for pre-order in the US priced from $150,000 (currently equivalent to around £105,500), emphasises the brand's ever-expanding reach into new sectors.

Musk also envisions a car-sharing platform to better utilise passenger-carrying potential in cars that would otherwise be sat outside owners’ homes for the majority of the time. Once self-driving cars are approved by regulators, they could be summoned from anywhere.

“Since most cars are only in use by their owner for 5% to 10% of the day, the fundamental economic utility of a true self-driving car is likely to be several times that of a car which is not,” said Musk.

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Comments
26

2 August 2016
Commercial electric vehicles make much more sense than cars , Harrods knew this years ago with their delivery vans . However the dreamer still has to make a profit and build all the infrastructure for his grandiose ideas . As a greenie I still wonder about all those b batteries and what to do with them when they give up.

Lanman

12 October 2016
ralphsmall wrote:

Commercial electric vehicles make much more sense than cars , Harrods knew this years ago with their delivery vans . However the dreamer still has to make a profit and build all the infrastructure for his grandiose ideas . As a greenie I still wonder about all those b batteries and what to do with them when they give up.

Samsung recycle them into phone batteries.

15 February 2017
Hmmm- a dreamer huh? Wonder what you have ever achieved in life...

MrJ

7 June 2017
Musk is a dreamer AND a doer. Driving a Tesla is a pretty sensible way of doing things, as the motorway Superchargers take away range anxiety issues. I guess the answer to dead batteries is to recycle them, like other companies.

13 April 2018

...are a bit compromised by the way weight affects range. Full load one and you can reduce range by more than half. This is one of the reasons they are being adopted only very slowly.

3 August 2016
do you still wonder about all those diesel/petrol engines and what to do with them when they give up? They fill scrapyards.

Automotive batteries are part of the drivetrain warranty for most cars around 8 to 10 years or 100,000 miles whichever is sooner. Plus when they run out (current tech estimated up to 20 years as in the BMW i3 - no we're not talking prius first gen cells here!), they go into home, commercial, and utility grid energy storage systems, which is the best way to recycle and re-use them.

11 October 2016
It's a shame they over complicated the model x as I feel it has delayed and smeared the potentially more important Model Y. Please keep it simple this time.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

11 October 2016
I'm going for an electric bicycle an entry level product to build brand loyalty.

11 October 2016
An electric cargo van sounds great, especially for inner city deliveries, but Tesla's pricing structure would have to change as operating cost is number one with commercials.

7 June 2017
Operating cost is the primary advantage of electric vehicles, for inner city use you can get tyres that last 100,000 miles and brakes on an electric vehicle in a city get essentially negligible use. So essentially your cost is likely to be the cost of depreciation across the vehicles lifespan as electricity is much cheaper than petrol.

Tesla haven't targeted commercials because it's much easier to cover the cost of the battery in a luxury car. However Tesla have now got the cost of a battery for a city based van (50KWh) down to around $8000 so the economics for the van are basically here.

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Our Verdict

Tesla Model 3 2018 road test review hero front

Lowest-priced, largest-volume Tesla yet has wooed and wowed the buying public in the US. Should UK buyers join the queue for a Model 3?

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week