At Tesla’s Annual Shareholder Meeting on Tuesday, CEO Elon Musk teased the first images of the Model Y, Tesla Inc’s fourth all-electric vehicle. The car with Autopilot-compatible features is scheduled to launch two years from now.
The billionaire entrepreneur also had some news to share about the upcoming Tesla Semi. The company will consider big rig drivers’ suggestions to implement on the truck’s design, which is expected to be revealed this September and hit the roads early next decade.
Financially, Tesla is doing pretty well according to Musk, who announced the clean energy startup had entered the Fortune 500 list and snatched the 383rd spot. It made $7 billion last year from sales of the Models X and S, as well as for the acquisition of SolarCity.
What we know about the Tesla Model Y
Elon Musk started his annual presentation to investors with a teaser image of the Model Y. The audience at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, was intrigued, to say the least.
The first thing everyone noticed is that, in spite of the shadowy nature of the picture, the Model Y doesn’t seem to feature any side mirrors. It could be a feature of the upcoming vehicle, perhaps replacing mirrors with cameras as some have speculated already.
Tesla’s next consumer-oriented car will be a crossover SUV: smaller than the Model X but based on the Model 3. However, Musk noted that the vehicle would feature a new design from the ground up, manufactured on a next-gen platform different than that used for previous models.
In fact, the CEO went as far as to say that having built the Model X on the Model S platform was a mistake and that he wouldn’t make the same error with the Model Y. The car will feature much less internal wiring and more manufacturing enhancements to ensure optimized performance.
Mr. Musk talked about the upcoming Tesla Semi
Musk went on talking for a while and eventually landed on the next big thing for Tesla: the Tesla Semi. He said the company was working closely with consumers and industry leaders to get the most sensitive feedback and insights about how to make the truck better.
Drivers and businesses consulted by Tesla are also getting involved in the design process, advising the energy firm on how to get right those little details that make all the difference. Musk reassured shareholders that all heavy-duty organizations want to know how soon and how many Semis they can order.
As a tongue-in-cheek closing remark, the entrepreneur and former adviser to the President said he would “really recommend showing up” for the late September event where the Semi will be unveiled, as there might be some more surprises.
Tesla’s Model 3 will enter production in late July
In Model 3 news, Elon Musk says consumers should expect the vehicle to start production later next month, at increasing weekly rates as the year progresses to meet ongoing demands.
Tesla Inc. estimates it should be able to ramp up production to 5,000 cars per week and close the year in the 10,000 vehicles per week mark by the end of the year. Many of these are speculated to be Model 3s, of which consumers have already ordered between 400,000 and 500,000.
At that pace, the CEO says the first deliveries should roll out in the coming months, but that the most recent deluge of drivers ordering a car shouldn’t expect to receive it for at least 18 months since the moment they place their order.
A silver lining for Model 3 aspiring owners, though, is that Tesla has learned from past experiences with the Model X, and listened to the pledges to make the configurator simpler. Users will need only to choose the color of the car and the size of the wheels to complete their requests.