By on May 10, 2018

Hoping to nudge the current Tesla Motors narrative in a more positive direction, CEO Elon Musk posted a “quarterly all-hands video” late Thursday. Not particularly substantive, the clip is essentially a hype reel for the automaker — a relatively common practice within the industry. But near the beginning there are a few seconds where it teases a new vehicle.

Despite being covered almost entirely by a sheet, the vehicle (pictured above) set the internet into a frenzy. It even overshadowed the extended footage Tesla presented of the new Roadster in action. The general consensus is that the mostly obscured vehicle is an early prototype of the Model Y. But we’re less willing to jump to that conclusion.


In fact, this may not be anything more than a phantom wheeled out to divert attention away from the automaker’s recent unpleasantness. However, assuming it is a valid prototype, nothing about its ride height or roofline definitively says “crossover.” If we absolutely had to guess, we’d say the odds are just as good that this is an updated Model S.

The longer nose and rear door shape help to progress that assumption somewhat, but we’re working off little more than speculation here. Tesla doesn’t have anything to share about it. See for yourself (the car appears around the fifteen second mark of the video) and let us know what you think.

The remainder of the video is devoted to showcasing the company’s progress, capping it off with footage of the new Roadster pulling back the faces of multiple passengers. Supposedly capable of a 0-to-60 time of 1.9 seconds, it certainly seems well equipped for that particular task. However, we’d have preferred the video finish with details about what’s under the tarp.

[Images: Tesla Motors]

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24 Comments on “What Exactly Is Tesla Showing in This Teaser Shot?...”

  • avatar

    They really need to embrace the Toyota production system, or some variant thereof. Otherwise even if they do eventually meet the line rate goals, the warranty is gonna kill them both on cost and owner ill will.

  • avatar

    A preemptive word in defense of Elon. Anyone with a cheap laptop sitting in the corner of his bedroom can declare himself an “internet entrepreneur”. But starting a new car company is one of the toughest things anyone can attempt. Elon Musk may yet fail, but he’s gotten a lot farther than Delorean, Bricklin, or Tucker.

    • 0 avatar

      They’ve done some impressive work. Just need to overcome the hubris that they can do factory work so much better than those who’ve done it for a hundred years plus. There’s no shame in copying success.

      • 0 avatar

        Musk has recently admitted that they attempted to go too far in automating the production process, and that “Humans are underrated”. Hopefully he’s realized that with enough time to correct the mistake.

        • 0 avatar

          @ ClutchCarGo

          The problem is that he built his business case for the Model 3 on the hopes that his factory automation would far out-produce mere humans at a lower cost. Now that that’s not likely, it’s going to further strain his balance sheet.

  • avatar

    The shot on top with the canvas over the white model is obviously the latest in ragtops. When the top is up there is no need for glass as the autonomous vehicle’s need for human “eyes on the road” is unnecessary. Hence the Tesla’s weight saving no glass solution to bad weather driving.

    Their slogan:

    Ragtop? We’ll give you a stinkin’ ragtop!

    Available with optional “emergency” alert to the passengers during official traffic stops for the purpose of covering up their en flagrante torsos.

  • avatar

    The only reason you’d want a single car in a large hanger is to test autonomous driving technology in a controlled and monitored environment. Looks like a test mule.

    Tesla is likely going to adhere to the tried and true two-year product cycle. Consumers will buy/lease a Tesla much in the way that they cycle through Apple products.

    The driving technology frontiers will be battery range, autonomous driving prowess and app compatibility. Once production ramps up, this type of product cycle will catapult the industry forward and allow Tesla to monopolize the automotive technology market. Once they’ve squared away building the bathtub they can simply focus on the circuits and code…

    At this point I think it is more likely than not that Tesla is going to dominate private and commercial air, land, and space travel by 2040.

  • avatar

    It looks like a plant after bankruptcy, everyone gone, partial vehicle left. The end :)

  • avatar

    What is Tesla showing? Maybe it’s the vehicle Tesla should have released all along, which charges as quickly and has a range on par with an ICE-powered car, all the while not being extraordinarily expensive and having to rely on tax payer subsidies to move the metal? Wouldn’t that be something?

    But of course, even though that is what Tesla SHOULD have launched, it’s never gonna happen. It’s a good thing he’s got such loyal, brainwashed fanbois on TTAC who’ll likely drool over this teaser of an EV that’s likely defective by design, because in the real world he really needs to prepare for the consequences of Tesla going “bankwupt”.

  • avatar

    Maybe that tarp is their new flame-suppression system. With a single button, that deploys over the entire car (or trucklet) and cuts off the oxygen.

  • avatar

    The only thing I learned from this image is I wish I was their light bulb supplier.

  • avatar

    IDK, but the fit of the door makes me believe it will continue the grand tradition of Tesla fit and finish.

  • avatar

    No story on the two teens recently killed when their Model S crashed and burst into flames?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Teens + high-performance car + speed (per witnesses) = deadly crash.

      High-speed crash + energy source = fire.

      These are time-tested Truths About Cars. Nothing new about this tragedy.

      • 0 avatar

        “Teens + high-performance car + speed (per witnesses) = deadly crash.

        High-speed crash + energy source = fire.

        These are time-tested Truths About Cars. Nothing new about this tragedy.”

        Not at all true. Especially when the teens were alive after thebcrash but the doors wouldn’t open and thus they were burned alive.

        But keep defending that scum bag Musk and his low quality death traps.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          @EBFlex: I didn’t know the doors could be opened after high-speed crashes on every other make of car. Is that your expectation?

          Didn’t think so. Another straw man claim.

          The car was on fire instantly after impact, which means it was a very high-speed event, and the occupants were likely dead or disabled anyway – whether or not the doors were functional.

          BTW, the same driver was cited for doing 112 mph in the same car in March.

          I suppose you think Porsche was responsible for Paul Walker’s death, too.

    • 0 avatar

      Is this the crash:

      Or how bout this one:

      or maybe this one:

      how about this one:

      or this one:

      or was it this one:

      Hey, let’s just have a whole fiery crash section. I can find hundreds more.

      • 0 avatar

        You failed so many times over. I was talking about a Tesla crash where the car bust into flames and the occupants were burned alive.

        Did you not read where I specifically said “in the Model S they were driving”? None of those stories mention a Model S

    • 0 avatar
      healthy skeptic


      Great. Now do the same for Porsche. Or any ICE manufacturer. Hope there isn’t a character limit.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Perhaps the car under the sheet is merely destined for Mars.

  • avatar

    For a thousand bucks he’ll let people look under the tarp.

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