At the 2020 Annual Shareholder Meeting and Battery Day, Tesla confirmed two new electric cars. The first Tesla electric car would make the brand more accessible with a lower-than-ever price tag of $25000 or INR 18 lakh (INR 18.38 lakh).
In its presentation, Tesla revealed plans to launch a compact Tesla electric car and a Tesla Robotaxi. These new Tesla cars would be smaller than the Model 3, currently the smallest and most affordable Tesla EV. Below is what Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of Tesla, said about the new entry-level electric car:
We are confident that in the long term we can design and manufacture a compelling $25000 electric vehicle. This has always been our dream from the beginning of the company.Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO, Tesla
Speaking further, Musk suggested that Tesla won’t skimp on the $25000 electric car when it comes to the best of its driving assistance technologies. He confirmed that even the $25000 Tesla electric car will offer hands-free autonomous driving. More importantly, he indicated the possible $25000 Tesla release date. Below were his words:
I think probably in about three years from now, we are confident we can make a very compelling $25000 electric vehicle that’s also fully autonomous.Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO, Tesla
Tesla is taking a diversified cathode approach for its electric vehicles. It plans to offer entry-level models like the yet-to-be-named $25000 Tesla, (we’re calling it the Tesla Model 2) with Iron-based battery packs. This would lead to not only lower cost of battery pack but also easy availability of the same and thus fewer supply constraints compared to battery packs with Nickel, if at all.
In order to scale, we really need to make sure that we are not constrained by total Nickel availability. I actually spoke with the CEOs, the biggest mining companies in the world, and said please make more Nickel because it’s very important. And, so, I think they are gonna make more Nickel. I think we need to have a kind of a three-tiered approach to batteries. So, starting with Iron that’s kind of like a medium-range, and then Nickel-Manganese that’s sort of a medium-plus/intermediate, and then high-Nickel for long-range applications like Cybertruck and the Semi.Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO, Tesla
Tesla has already developed a Model 3 with a Lithium Iron Phosphate battery pack and plans to launch it in China this year. The $25000 Tesla or the alleged Tesla Model 2 arriving around 2023 could be a small hatchback or SUV with Europe and China set as the main target market. Its manufacturing could take place at both Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai and Tesla Gigafactory Berlin. The Tesla Robotaxi could be a taxi derivative of the same, primarily for Europe.
With the $25000 Tesla finally on the drawing board, Tesla can consider entering India now. Just earlier this week, a report said that a Tesla Bengaluru R&D centre is under consideration.
Musk hinted about the ‘Tesla Model 2’ in July
Elon Musk, Co-Founder & CEO, Tesla, said at the Q2 2020 earnings call last week that it is reasonable to assume that the company “would make a compact vehicle of some kind” in the future. However, he indicated that such a product, if given the green signal, is still a few years away from going on sale and the Cybertruck, Roadster and Semi are the company’s next new projects. At the same event, Musk said that a higher-capacity variant of an existing Tesla model could be expected.
The fact that Tesla electric cars still aren’t affordable enough is troubling Musk, and he acknowledged that is something needing a fix. One example is the Tesla Model 3’s new cheaper iron phosphate battery pack in China, the production of which will begin later this year. One can expect Tesla to take several similar measures to bring down the price of its car range.
Instagram channel FutureCarsNow posted an interesting rendering of a ‘compact model’ from Tesla Motors, shown below. At the company’s shareholder meeting in 2018, Elon Musk, on the topic of expanding the brand into new segments, said “I think we’ll do a compact car in less than five years.” Since then Tesla has not confirmed that a car smaller than the Model 3 is in the pipeline (the Cybertruck, Roadster and the Semi are the ‘known’ future models) but it is interested in developing a vehicle in China for worldwide consumption as well.
Tesla is setting up a Chinese design centre where we expect not one but a family of models to be designed in the coming years considering the demand for EVs in the Chinese market, and a low-price electric car, which could be the biggest challenge yet for the company, could drive adoption of electric vehicles in emerging markets like India where Tesla, despite not being present, has a high level of aspiration and respectability.
In January, Elon Musk revealed that Tesla would start a design studio in China and now Tesla is calling designers to come up with designs for a China-style EV for a job review at the company.
Tesla posted on Chinese social site WeChat asking designers (professionals and non-pros) to submit designs for an all-new vehicle. Tesla started deliveries of the Model 3 in China in January and it was at this event that Musk spoke about designing an electric vehicle in China that would be sold worldwide. At this point it is only media speculation, but the vehicle designed in China could be a compact crossover smaller than the Model 3.
Tesla started deliveries of the made-in-China Model 3 in January and at the event, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, revealed that the company would start a design studio and an R&D centre in China for indigenized products.
Tesla had then published an interesting new design sketch of what auto sleuths dub the ‘Model 2’ hatchback with a short wheelbase, strong shoulder line and a coupe-style roof. The release was part of Tesla’s official announcement in its WeChat account calling for people to apply for jobs at the upcoming design and engineering centre.
Reports had already speculated that Tesla Motors will build an entry-level car, positioned below the Model 3 (that starts at about USD 35,000 in the USA), in China at the Gigafactory 3 plant and export it to markets including Asia where existing Tesla cars are very expensive to bring any real volume or disrupt the market.
I think something that would be super cool would be to create a China design and engineering centre to actually design an original car in China for worldwide consumption. I think this will be very exciting. I think China has some of the best art in the world, and I think it’s something that would be appreciated on a worldwide basis. I think it should be done, and we’re gonna do it.Tesla CEO Elon Musk, at the Tesla Model 3 delivery event in China in January 2020
China could prove to be a major market for Tesla as the country is taking to EVs faster than anywhere in the world and has a high technology adoption rate. China is the biggest world market for electric vehicles and has many EV manufacturing OEMs such as BYD, BAIC, SAIC, Geely and Changan and it should take Tesla 3 years before we see the first fruits of its Chinese tech centre.
Our only hope that Tesla does not end up as a rich man’s toy in India and that the company enters the market with plans to manufacture models for the mass-market.
Image Source: youtube.com/Tesla; display image from Chinese social web