Tesla Model Y Report Reveals Start of SUV Production

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The Tesla Model Y is coming soon. The sports utility vehicle — acting as a cheaper version of the Model X in the same way the 3 is a cheaper version of the S sedan — is set to enter production as soon as November 2019, according to a Wednesday report.

The move would come at a tense time for Tesla, as it aims to ramp up Model 3 production and launch two other vehicles over the next three years. The Reuters report also claims that the car will enter production in China two years later, a country Tesla has struggled to enter due to high import tariffs and strong competition from local brands. The overall schedule for the Model Y was described as “aggressive, but possible” by a source, as the Y will use the same platform as the 3 but automakers normally take an extra year to choose component suppliers.

The Tesla Model X with its falcon wing doors open.

Tesla Motors

The Model Y is part of CEO Elon Musk’s plan to aggressively expand car production, with the Gigafactory “machine that builds the machine” automating the process. Tesla is aiming for a production rate of 500,000 cars per year by the end of 2018, but its first quarter delivery report showed it’s struggling to reach its Model 3 production goals of 20,000 per month, a target previously set for December 2017.

Musk told investors in the June 2017 shareholder meeting that the company is aiming for the Model Y to hit the roads “approximately” in 2019, a goal met in part through simplified manufacturing. The company has learnt from its “mistakes” on the X, Musk said, and that “it would have been better just design an SUV the way an SUV should be designed, design a sedan the way a sedan should be designed, otherwise you’re just trying to shoehorn something in that doesn’t make sense.”

First up, Tesla needs to boost Model 3 production to meet its goals for this year. While the company predicts a rate of 5,000 cars per week sometime this year, Goldman Sachs has claimed a rate of 1,4000 is more likely.

From there, the company can look to stretching even further, Musk suggesting it could reach the capacity for a million units per year just for Model Y alone.

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