Musk Reads: Leaked docs may show when Tesla will launch its $25,000 car

Tesla’s $25,000 car may have a release date, Starlink comes to the UK, and Starship prepares to fly.

JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

Tesla’s $25,000 car may have a release date, Starlink comes to the UK, and Starship prepares to fly. It’s the free edition of Musk Reads #229 — subscribe now to receive two more editions later this week!

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

Last week, Musk Reads+ subscribers got to read an exclusive interview with rocket photographers from Cosmic Perspective. Ryan Chylinski and MaryLiz Bender revealed what it’s like in those last few seconds before launch and what SpaceX could mean for the future of art. This week, subscribers will hear how Tesla dramatically improved its cars’ internal quality from Sandy Munro, whose legendary car teardowns have made him a star in the community.

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Musk quote of the week

“I am primarily trying to advance two causes: sustainable energy & extending life/consciousness beyond Earth. There is also the existential threat of A.I., which we should aspire to mitigate. This doesn’t leave time to write books.”


Is Tesla’s $25,000 car arriving sooner than we think? Giga Shanghai documents, first shared by Sina Motors and spotted by Electrek, suggest the ultra-cheap vehicle, first teased at the September 2020 Battery Day, could be on the way — with mass production possible as soon as 2022.

Screenshots of the government documents, as shared on Weibo.

Sina Weibo

The screenshots of the documents show plans to produce the Model 3 and Model Y at the factory alongside related models. They also show plans to start production on a new car project, with six months of testing before introduction.

Sina Motors claims a new vehicle will launch with a starting price as low as RMB 160,000 — just under $25,000, around $10,000 cheaper than Tesla’s entry-level Model 3.

But the most exciting detail is the hint mass production could start as early as 2022. This should be taken with a hint of skepticism — while the publication claimed on microblogging site Weibo that this is shown in the documents, the shared images omit the date and price.

At the company's Battery Day event, Musk claimed that the car would arrive in around three years’ time.

Real estate developer Tony Cho has unveiled what he claims is the largest Tesla Solar Roof in Florida. Where most installations measure less than 10 kilowatts, Cho’s giant roof measures 44 kilowatts. The construction forms part of the ChoZen Retreat, an environment-focused resort on the 22,000-acre Saint Sebastian nature preserve. Read more.


Liftoff! SpaceX successfully launched the Turksat-5A satellite on Thursday. It was the first launch of 2021. Musk is aiming to complete 48 launches total this year, with nearly one per week. So far so good! Read more.

The Starship, SpaceX’s giant ship designed for Mars and beyond, is set for its next test. The “SN9” prototype completed a static test fire of its three Raptor engines last week, in preparation for an expected launch. The launch is expected to come to a less fiery end than the December test. Unfortunately, as of Monday, a flight restriction that would have enabled a test on Tuesday has been canceled. Read more.

Starlink has arrived in the United Kingdom. British regulator Ofcom has confirmed that SpaceX’s user terminals have clearance to operate, and reports are flooding in of new users. Next up on the rollout list could be Germany, Greece, or Australia. All three countries have given similar clearance to SpaceX. Read more.

In other Musk news…

With a net worth of $190 billion as of January 8, Elon Musk is the richest person in the world. Musk has already announced how he will spend his money. In June 2018, he said he’ll start major disbursements of his Tesla stock in about 20 years once it reaches a stable state. The plan, as he outlined four months later, is to use half the money “to help problems on Earth” and half for a self-sustaining city on Mars. Read more.

Sandy Munro is famed for his legendary Tesla teardowns. This week, he speaks with Musk Reads+ about his newfound fan base, his interactions with Musk, and how Tesla has upped its game in production quality. Don’t miss out.

The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads #229, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.

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