By on June 7, 2017

Model Y teaser, Image: Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors has released its first official teaser image of the Model Y, a future entry in the highly profitable compact crossover segment. At a shareholder meeting yesterday, CEO Elon Musk said he believes the Model Y will eventually outsell the Model 3. While he made similar claims about Model X volume before the vehicle entered production — a prediction which did not pan out — Musk says the company has learned from the errors made in the larger CUV’s development.

Unlike the Model X, the Model Y will use a unique platform and receive a dedicated assembly line at its own factory. Musk also told investors that production expenditures would be significantly lower for the small crossover, compared to the Model 3. 

InsideEVs reports that Musk told shareholders he felt Tesla made a mistake in trying to derive the Model X from the Model S platform.

“It would’ve been better to just design an SUV the way an SUV should be designed,” Musk explained. “Design a sedan — the way a sedan should be designed. Otherwise you’d just try to shoe horn something that doesn’t make sense. Also there are a number of, I think, really major manufacturing improvements that can be done that allow us to build the car in a way that a car has never been built before.”

What that new approach to automotive manufacturing will entail is a mystery. Musk’s penchant for the hyperbolic is well known, but so is his willingness to take risks. The teaser images of the Model Y don’t give the public much to go on and seem preliminary, mainly due to the concept-like absence of side mirrors. But that doesn’t mean Tesla won’t attempt to build the small SUV in an underwater base or something equally ludicrous.

More likely, this is just Musk pumping up investors. The Model 3 was also promised with revolutionary assembly methods, so it’s unlikely Tesla would attempt to reinvent the wheel. However, the company has hinted that the Model Y may abandon 12-volt battery architecture, making manufacturing easier by reducing the amount of wiring found in contemporary vehicles.

The meeting also brought mention of the brand’s semi-truck project, which should be unveiled this fall, and a reminder that Tesla is hard at work on an electrified pickup. As for the Model Y, Musk suggested it should reach North American buyers in 2019.

[Image: Tesla]

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36 Comments on “Tesla Teases Upcoming Model Y; Promises Revolutionary New Assembly Method...”


  • avatar
    JimZ

    “InsideEVs reports that Musk told shareholders he felt Tesla made a mistake in trying to derive the Model X from the Model S platform.”

    It’s not the platform’s fault you insisted on a ridiculously stupid door design which costs a fortune and barely works half the time.

  • avatar
    Promit

    Model S. 3. X. Y.
    Oh, Elon.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Tesla story? I skip them.

    All BS and Colored air and vapor ware.

    ELON Kiss my XXX

  • avatar
    redapple

    Elon’s propaganda department pumps out the bilge every 3-4 weeks.
    Keep the crack head stock price sky high.
    Wasnt the last one the BS story about KingLORDGenius Elon’s electric class 8 truck?

    Please people, boycott the stories and his stupid products.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I see you’re doing a great job of boycotting the stories. Keep up the good work. Vaporeware? Yeah right. Maybe you should look up that definition.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “every time I come here, the food is terrible and the portions are too small.”

      • 0 avatar
        redapple

        MCS

        Vaporware = “software or hardware that has been advertised but is not yet available to buy, either because it is only a concept or because it is still being written or designed.”

        Term used correctly. And spelled right too!

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “vaporware” is overused. it was meant for horribly mis-managed software projects (Duke Nukem Forever is the archetype) which undergo repeated slips of the ship date and may never even be released at all.

          the Model 3 isn’t vaporware because its launch date hasn’t been missed yet.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @redeapple: The sole purpose of my comment was to get you to post a reply again. LMFAO!

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    The radical new assembly process will be like those AMT and Revell kits you used to buy and build as a kid. Except this time, they’ll include both the glue and the paint in the kit. What’s more is that this time, the kit will be a LOT larger.

  • avatar
    stuki

    “Revolutionary” always sounds great, until it meets reality. Then it turns into just one more Latin Caudillo.

  • avatar
    Asdf

    So another compact crossover… yawn.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    “It would’ve been better to just design an SUV the way an SUV should be designed,” Musk explained. “Design a sedan — the way a sedan should be designed. Otherwise you’d just try to shoe horn something that doesn’t make sense.””

    Translation: “Platform-based engineering is much harder than I thought it would be, because I was too proud to actually ask people that have done it before. And if a project doesn’t turn out, it can’t possibly be because I’ve done it wrong; it can only be because it’s an unsolvable problem. I’m going to ignore the fact that nearly every major manufacturer on the planet seems to have no problem shipping equally capable sedans and CUV’s that share a platform.”

    And I remember his previous “revolutionary manufacturing” claims; it consisted of standard assembly-line robots where they could swap out the toolset they were wielding, so a single robot could do the job of two or more. That is indeed a useful thing to be able to do, if you are running a low-volume manufacturing line and don’t want to buy so many robots. But the tool-swap time also slows down the line drastically.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “…because I was too proud to actually ask people that have done it before.”

      Many of Tesla’s engineers come from automotive. They’re not just gamers, you know.

      He has freely admitted to how hard it is to build cars and fly rockets. I’d say both are going reasonably well, but part of the plan isn’t to just do things the way they’ve always been done. Why build another Chevy Malibu?

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “I’d say both are going reasonably well, but part of the plan isn’t to just do things the way they’ve always been done. Why build another Chevy Malibu?”

        nobody’s saying they should “build another Chevy Malibu.” Some are saying “there are pretty good reasons why *everybody* in the industry builds cars a certain way and does it with almost ruthless efficiency.”

      • 0 avatar
        sirwired

        Apparently the auto-industry people he hired aren’t the ones that know how to perform platform engineering, since it failed so badly he’s decided that the entire concept is invalid.

        And avoiding building “another Chevy Malibu” doesn’t mean “Every car must be a clean-sheet design”. Clean-sheeting every model of vehicle is very expensive because you must repeat a lot of the design, prototyping, and modelling. Platform engineering means you have to do a lot of those things only once, which means you can spend more money doing it well (or reduce your product cost/price.) Not to mention the reduced costs for tooling, part sourcing, and assembly.

        As a sterling example, for all VW’s many faults, their MQB platform has produced a very large series of very solidly-designed vehicles that are an excellent value.

        Just because Tesla failed at their attempt at platform engineering doesn’t mean that it “doesn’t make sense.”

  • avatar
    stingray65

    There has been a leak in the Tesla organization and it can now be revealed what the revolutionary new assembly method will entail. In order to speed up development and reduce manufacturing costs, all new Tesla’s will employ virtual reality. New future Tesla models will be designed, built, purchased, driven, and scrapped virtually using 3D goggles and an i-Pad. Elon will never have to worry again about the pesky UAW, DOT, EPA, NHTSA, SEC, NADA, or NYSE ever again.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    2019 is a long way off, especially in Tesla years.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    I’m drawing a blank; how would moving away from 12V architecture reduce the amount of wiring in the vehicle?

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      higher voltage=lower current draw for a given power level, so you can down-gauge the supply wires. Thinner gauge=less copper=less weight=less money.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      A 42V standard was floated some time ago, for the reason JimZ describes, but I don’t think anyone has implemented it. Perhaps Tesla will be the first, but it also requires a new paradigm for commodity items like light bulbs.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        42 volt systems have been coming “real soon now” for a long time. They have safety implications w.r.t. interior power distribution. 12 volts isn’t a shock hazard, 42 is.

        • 0 avatar
          raffi14

          It’s not a shock hazard. Generally the guideline is to keep it under 50-60 volts to avoid shock hazards. The 42 volt standard was chosen very deliberately. They went as high as they could without becoming a safety hazard even during peak voltage while charging.

      • 0 avatar
        la834

        We already went through that process once before when electrical systems were upgraded from 6V to 12V in the 1950s (’60s for some imports) so we can do it again if need be. But it probably won’t be difficult this time. By the time 42V systems take root all the light bulbs will be replaced by LEDs that normally last the life of the car (some cars, I think the Mercedes S Class, have already banished incandescent light bulbs). And a simple transformer could allow for 12V outlets so we can continue to use current accessories (similar to the built-in transformers that provide 120V outlets in some cars). It would also be possible to provide 12V posts for jump starting another car, although some current EVs and plug-in hybrids don’t allow for jump starting other cars.

  • avatar
    Shortest Circuit

    Are they selling the radios to the Model 3 yet?

  • avatar
    carve

    Interesting.

    The X was disappointing. It’s main advantage would be if you wanted an S but live down a potholed, gravel road. Those doors- not only problematic, but you’re basically left with a T-top, which reduces torsional rigidity, which requires a much heavier chassis to compensate. Not good in a weight-critical EV.

    What I’d really like to see Tesla do is make an electric motorcycle. Most motorcycle owners don’t take long trips anyway, and bikes can have good performance with modest power in town due to their light weight, which would make for a much smaller, cheaper battery and decent charging from a household outlet.

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