Tesla Model Y: Elon Musk admits production of the electric SUV won’t start until 2020

Elon Musk has revealed that production of Tesla’s Model Y won’t start until 2020 – a year later than had been expected.

 Previous reports from Reuters suggested the car manufacturer was targeting a November 2019 release for the electric SUV, but during the company’s Q1 2018 earnings call, the CEO said he did not know where the news agency had sourced this information. The Tesla boss also conceded he still hadn’t decided where production of the car would begin, again disputing Reuters claims that it would be at the company’s plant in Fremont, California.

“We’re really crowded here in Fremont. I don’t know where we’d put the Model Y,” he said before claiming a location would be chosen before the fourth quarter of 2018.

In February, Musk said Tesla would aim to produce one million Model Y cars a year, when the car does finally enter production, but didn’t give a predicted timeframe. This figure sounds ambitious even by Tesla’s standards. The company’s Model 3 has been plagued by production problems; Musk claimed the company would begin making 20,000 Model 3s a month by December, but in the last three months of 2017 it built only 2,425 in total. More recently, though, Musk said this was now closer to 8,000. 

The updated timeframe for the Model Y formed part of Tesla’s earnings report for the first quarter of 2018, which also revealed the company has lost $785 million in recent months, despite boosting revenue. 

READ NEXT: Tesla Model 3 production faces further setbacks

In one particular exchange during the call, after Tesla’s chief financial officer Deepak Ahuja was asked about Tesla’s spending, Musk reportedly responded: “Excuse me, excuse me. Next, next, next. Bonehead questions are not cool.” Following a question from another analyst, Tesla’s line was  muted for fourteen seconds before Musk said “We’re going to go to YouTube. Sorry, these questions are so dry. They’re killing me.” This exchange, and the reported losses, has been linked to shares dropping by 5% in after-hours trading. 

Tesla Model Y: Everything we know

Musk first teased the Model Y in a tweet in October 2015, which he quickly deleted. The car is expected to be an electric SUV built using the same platform as the Model 3.

Using this rather obscure teaser picture of the Model Y SUV, photoshop wizard Jan Piesert took the small clues we do know about the car and weaved them into a render that shows what the Model Y could look like. Along with a lack of wing mirrors, and small headlights, Piesert combined styling cues that are pretty much guaranteed on the next Tesla – such as a flat, smooth off grill and relatively soft appearance. Sure it’s nowhere near official, and could be miles off, but it’s still a very educated guess at what the Model Y could look like.

What’s more Piesert has made the video below, which shows both his method and the general thinking behind the render.

During a conference call on Tesla’s Q1 earnings in 2017, Musk said say the SUV would be coming in 2019 or 2020, and would be built in a new factory. The comments made during the 2018 earnings call don’t really move this on. 

We do know that Tesla and Elon Musk have seemingly made some U-turns regarding the actual construction of the Model Y since that first announcement. When we first heard about the Model 3, Musk said future cars – the Model Y included – would use the same architecture to cut costs and production time. But both Tesla and Musk have changed their mind.tesla_model_y_main

According to ArsTechnica, Musk said in June last year: “There has been some criticism, like we should sort of derive from the Model 3 platform. But I think actually we made a mistake in trying to derive the Model X from the Model S platform. It would have been better to just design an SUV the way an SUV should be designed. Design a sedan the way a sedan should be designed.”

So the Tesla Model Y will be using all-new architecture, which could be one reason why Tesla is building a new factory for the forthcoming SUV. Musk has also described the Model Y production process as “something different”, and it’s likely that the SUV’s new architecture will lend itself to a more automated, efficient process with less wiring.

We’ll update this page when we know more about the Tesla Model Y.

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