The Tesla Model Y is on track for a March debut, Elon Musk confirmed in a Friday interview. The Tesla CEO said that the upcoming sports utility vehicle, set to offer a cheaper alternative to the Model X in the same way the Model 3 offered a cheaper Model S, is finishing up in the design stage and nearing launch.
Musk told Bloomberg that “we’ve almost finished the design in the studio of Model Y, and we will probably debut the prototype, you know, roughly in March of next year.” Musk also noted the fact that he claimed in May the car would debut on the Ides of March — March 15 — but explained in the interview that he said that “as a kind of joke.” Musk also said that “we’re a few months away from finishing the design. You finish the broad brush strokes, but there are still a lot of fine brush strokes. The broad brush strokes, we’re maybe a few months away from finishing.”
Little is known about the Model Y, but Musk has gradually teased tidbits that the car will be “a manufacturing revolution” and “incredible from a manufacturing standpoint, because we do not want to go through this pain again,” according to his comments from a May earnings call.
In the same interview, Musk also noted that cars like the Model Y are unlikely to require the same strain to grow the company at speed. The company has gone through such phases three times: with the Roadster, the Model S and the Model 3. The Model 3 required Tesla to move from making 1,000 cars of a single model per week to making 5,000 per week of a single model, with the goal of making around 250,000 cars per year. Musk does not see the company making 1.2 million cars per year in a single model, meaning such a stretch is unlikely to return.
As for when the car will start shipping? Musk said during the May earnings call that a likely start date was “closer to 24 months from now […] early 2020.”
It seems Tesla’s next car may not require Musk to sleep in the factory again.