Technology

Tesla Model Y Unveiling: ‘Anytime From Late This Year To Mid Next Year’

Tesla Model Y Unveiling
Image Source: Tesla Motors (screenshot)

The much-hyped Tesla Model Y unveiling could take place as early as later this year. Elon Musk often messes around with fans by making some crazy announcements on Twitter. But sometimes he surprises them by taking concrete action on those announcements. People thought he was kidding when he said he would send a Tesla Roadster into outer space. Now we know there is indeed a Roadster car floating around in the space.

In a Twitter conversation with fans on Thursday, Musk said the Tesla Model Y unveiling would take place on March 15th next year. That was a surprisingly specific date for an event about ten months away. Musk said he randomly picked the date “because the Ides of March sounded good.” But he said in a follow-up tweet that March 15 could well be the actual date for the Tesla Model Y unveiling because it aligns with the company’s plans.

Tesla was planning to show off Model Y “anytime from late this year to mid next year, so March 15 is about right.” The Ides of March, which is March 15 as per the Roman Calendar, is known as the date Julius Caesar was murdered in 44 BC.

The date makes sense for Tesla Model Y unveiling. The EV maker would have resolved the manufacturing issues related to Model 3 by then. Tesla recently began accepting orders for the dual-motor AWD and Performance variants of Model 3. The company is still trying to fix the manufacturing woes. Tesla produced only 2,270 vehicles per week in April, lagging far behind its own goal of 5,000 units a week.

During the latest quarterly earnings call, Musk told investors that the company was targeting Model Y production in 2020. However, supply chain reports suggest that the vehicle could enter production in November 2019. Apparently, Tesla has sent out a Request for Information (RFI) to suppliers for Model Y components. If Musk sticks to the March 15 release schedule, Tesla will have little time to rest between Model 3 production ramp and Model Y.

The EV maker has already started teasing Model Y. Tesla dropped a Model Y teaser in its quarterly hands-on video. Before that, it had released a mysterious image of the upcoming SUV crossover in June 2017. Elon Musk has promised to share details about Model Y factory towards the end of this year. Tesla has gone back and forth on the Model Y platform before finally deciding that the vehicle would be based on the Model 3 architecture.

Elon Musk had earlier said that the company would develop an entirely new platform for Model Y. Later, he decided to build it using the Model 3 architecture to speed up the development. It would also bring a variety of changes to simplify the manufacturing process. Musk told investors recently that the Model Y would start a “manufacturing revolution.” The new vehicle would require only 100 meters of wiring compared to 1,500 meters in the Model 3. It will also ditch the 12V battery architecture.

Tesla plans to set up a new factory in the US for Model Y because the existing Fremont facility is “jammed to the grills.” The EV maker hasn’t yet started spending capital expenditures on the next-gen SUV crossover, though it was spending a small amount of money on early Model Y designs. Tesla is also preparing to set up a factory in China, which would fulfill the local demand and export vehicles to neighboring countries. The China plant is unlikely to roll out the first vehicles until 2021 or later.

According to Autocar, the Model Y is going to be a fully autonomous vehicle. It will come loaded with a forward-facing radar system, 12 ultrasonic sensors, eight cameras, and a supercomputer that can process data 40x faster than before.

The Tesla Model Y unveiling would be a significant milestone for the company because SUV and crossover sales in the US are growing much faster than sedan sales. The Model Y with its relatively affordable price tag would help Tesla capitalize on the trend. The company already offers a Model X SUV, but it is not for the masses.

Tesla’s stock price has declined by nearly 28% since September 2017. Wall Street analysts predict that the company will need to raise nearly $2 billion this year to keep operating and investing in future products.

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