Tesla Teases Upcoming Model Y; Promises Revolutionary New Assembly Method

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

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]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Shortest Circuit Shortest Circuit on Jun 08, 2017

    Are they selling the radios to the Model 3 yet?

  • Carve Carve on Jun 08, 2017

    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.

  • Carson D I hadn't seen a second-generation Courier with a Mazda engine before. I've seen a few with Ford engines. There was one at the Cox Driving Range that they used to collect golf balls. Golf would definitely be more entertaining to watch if they used moving targets.
  • Tassos ooops, Tim, you missed this one. Would make a lovely "Tim's used car of the day". It satisfies all the prerequisites except the wildly overpriced bit.
  • Tassos ASTON AND BOND BY A MILE. While Aston Martin sells a TINY FRACTION of what even the rarified Ferrari and Lambo sell, it is unbelievably well known. Credit the idiotic, but hugely successful and sometimes entertaining James Bond Movies.
  • Tassos 1988? Too young for me. It's all yours, Tim... BAHAHAHAHA!
  • Gray Awesome. Love these. But, if I had the money for a Fox-body, there is a clean '84 GT 350 here for little more than half the price.