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The Tesla next-generation vehicle (codenamed "Redwood", using an architecture internally referred to as "NV9X") [1] is an electric car platform under development by Tesla. The next-generation vehicle will be the third mainstream platform for the company, and it is expected that production volumes will greatly surpass those of the Model 3/Y platform. [2] Although the vehicle has not been given an official name, the moniker Model 2 has been used to refer to the vehicle in the media. [3] The car will be manufactured at Gigafactory Texas, Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg, and the planned Gigafactory Mexico.

The vehicle will take advantage of Tesla's advanced production concepts such as large single-unit castings, the "Unboxed Process," a 48-volt architecture, [4] and a structural battery pack utilizing 4680 battery cells. [2] It is expected to cost considerably less to manufacture and sell for approximately half of Tesla's existing lowest-cost vehicles.

In January 2024, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the first car to use the platform will be a compact SUV, with US deliveries targeting the second half of 2025. [5] In April 2024, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that a Robotaxi will be unveiled on 8 August 2024. [6]

History

Master Plans

With the Model 3, we were promised a $35,000 car, which could have fulfilled the goal of making a truly affordable car. But instead, the initial 2017–2018 models were priced at $52,000-plus, with a promise of cheaper models to follow. A $35,000 Model 3 would eventually become available but only for a few months and for special order (plus they did some weird interior strippage in an attempt to make it cheaper). But I'm sure it cost more due to economies of scale on a low-volume trim. [...] Tesla still doesn't have a $25,000 vehicle — let alone a $35,000 car to fulfill the affordable EV segment. It seems to be leaving that to the Chevy Bolt EV and EUV and Nissan Leafs of the world.

 — Umar Shakir (2023), The Verge [7]

In 2006, Tesla posted its first "Master Plan" written by Elon Musk, which had four tasks: [8]

  1. Build sports car
  2. Use that money to build an affordable car
  3. Use that money to build an even more affordable car
  4. While doing above, also provide zero emission electric power generation options

In retrospect, journalists have asserted the first task refers to the first-generation Roadster, while the second resulted in the Model S and the third provided the Model 3. [8] When it was announced, the entry-level Model 3 was US$35,000, but the only cars available at launch were $52,000; some Model 3s were sold at the $35K target, but by special order only and for a limited time. [7] For the second "Master Plan" (2016), [9] Tesla stated it would "expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments", which included products that have been released by 2024, such as sport-utility vehicles ( Models X and Y), pickup trucks ( Cybertruck), and commercial trucks ( Semi). The Semi has had a slow launch and other vehicles promised in 2016, including a bus, second-generation Roadster, and lower-cost Tesla have yet to materialize. [7]

Tesla has made public statements about another mainstream electric car product that would follow the Model Y and would be considerably cheaper than the Model 3. By September 2022, Elon Musk had reluctantly accepted the recommendation of Tesla executives Franz von Holzhausen and Lars Moravy that the next-generation vehicle platform could support both a small, inexpensive, mass-market car—as well as a self-driving "Robotaxi" that would be built with no steering wheel at all—and that both could be manufactured on the same next-generation vehicle assembly line. [10] By October 2022, the company stated that the Tesla engineering team had turned its focus to it and that it would be half the price of the Model 3/Y platform. [11]

Design and schedule

The automotive media frequently refers to the car as the "$25,000 Tesla," but the time when it would come to market has consistently been unclear. [2] The next-generation platform was mentioned in Tesla's 2022 financial report as under development but provided no information about specific cars that might be built on the platform. [12]

During its March 2023 Investor Day event, Tesla revealed its third "Master Plan", which included more details on forthcoming models, including a compact vehicle with LiFePO
4
battery chemistry. [13] The company clarified that the powertrains would be built faster and without using any rare-earth materials despite being more efficient and cheaper to build. However, power, torque and speed were not discussed. [14] The design for the platform was stated to require 75% less silicon carbide than existing Tesla vehicles, would support any battery chemistry, and that various manufacturing synergies would enable a halving of the factory footprint. The drive unit is expected to cost approximately $1000 and contain no rare earth minerals. All controllers would be designed by Tesla. [15] A shrouded, "clearly smaller" vehicle was shown during the presentation. [16] At the annual "Cyber Roundup" shareholders' meeting in May 2023, Musk said that Tesla was "actually building a new product. We are actually designing a new product. We're not just sitting on our hands here", showing off a rendered silhouette. [17]

After the fourth quarter 2023 earnings call, Tesla provided a preliminary schedule to its suppliers as part of a request for bids, stating that it planned to begin production of a new vehicle at Gigafactory Texas in mid-2025, with a production forecast of 10,000 vehicles per week. [1] During the next quarterly earnings call, the company announced that production could begin as soon as late 2024, using processes developed for NV9X, on a platform derived from existing vehicles. [18] [19]

Assembly process

The company also announced that the vehicle would use the "Unboxed Process," a method of assembly allowing workers to build large sub-assemblies of the vehicle in parallel before bringing them together for final assembly. Compared to the traditional assembly line method, the approach enables more people or robots to work on the vehicle simultaneously, speeding assembly and allowing fewer vehicle parts to be painted, reducing costs. [20] [21]

In March 2023, Tesla said the Gigafactory Mexico facility would be used to build Tesla's next-generation vehicle and subsequent vehicles on the same platform. [22] The factory for the vehicle was placed in Mexico in an effort to keep assembly costs low, and Tesla has been encouraging suppliers to open facilities nearby, because it did not want to pay to import parts to Mexico. [23] However, in May 2023, Musk "decided to change the initial build location for the next-generation cars and Robotaxis to Austin" where more of Tesla's most experienced engineers could be located adjacent to the "new high-speed ultra-automated assembly line." [10] and this information became public in September 2023. [24]

Detailed design of the assembly line work stations was underway by mid-2023. [10] By July, public information became available that Tesla had submitted a proposal to the Government of India to potentially construct a Gigafactory in the country for manufacturing a Tesla car for the price of 2,000,000 (about US$24,400 at the 2023 exchange rate) with an annual capacity of 500,000. [25] In November 2023, Reuters reported that Tesla planned to also produce the car at Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg. [26]

Pivot to robotaxi

Reuters published an article on April 5, 2024, claiming that per internal sources, Tesla has canceled plans to market a low-cost car to consumers and instead intends to use the chassis as the basis for a robotaxi. [27] According to an analyst for Axios, "Cheap EVs are hard for American companies to make, [...] but they're simply table stakes these days." [28]

Elon Musk posted to social media on April 6, 2024, stating that a robotaxi would be unveiled on August 8 of that year. [29] As per Max Chafkin in a Bloomberg Businessweek article, it is presumed that Elon Musk probably has traded the affordable Tesla for a robotaxi. [30] Based in part on the promises made in 2019 regarding robotaxi deployment, [31] as well as the historical delays between prototype and production Tesla vehicles, CleanTechnica has warned that even with the unveiling in August, the Tesla robotaxi may not be available commercially until 2025 or later. [32]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Jin, Hyunjoo; White, Joseph (January 24, 2024). "Tesla plans to build new electric vehicles in mid-2025". Reuters.
  2. ^ a b c Morris, James (January 7, 2023). "Tesla Next Generation Platform: Everything We Know So Far". Forbes. Retrieved March 13, 2023.[ better source needed]
  3. ^ "Tesla Model 2 coming in 2025". carsales. Australia. March 2, 2023. Retrieved May 14, 2023.
  4. ^ Perkins, Chris (March 2, 2023). "Here's What Tesla Said About Its Next-Generation Car". Road and Track. US. Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  5. ^ Misoyannis, Alex (January 25, 2024). "Official: Tesla small car release date announced". Drive. Australia. Retrieved January 27, 2024.
  6. ^ "Elon Musk says Tesla will unveil its robotaxi on Aug. 8; shares pop". CNBC. April 5, 2024. Retrieved April 10, 2024.
  7. ^ a b c Hawkins, Andrew J.; Shakir, Umar (March 1, 2023). "Tesla's new 'Master Plan' is coming — let's grade the first two". The Verge. Retrieved April 5, 2024.
  8. ^ a b Hundal, Thomas (February 27, 2023). "Let's Look Back At Tesla's First Two Master Plans As the Company Gets Ready To Unveil Master Plan Three". The Autopian. Retrieved April 5, 2024.
  9. ^ Johnson, Davey G. (July 20, 2016). "Elon Musk's Tesla Master Plan, Part Deux". Car and Driver. Retrieved April 5, 2024.
  10. ^ a b c Isaacson, Walter (September 12, 2023). Elon Musk. Simon & Schuster. pp. 501–505. ISBN  978-1-9821-8128-4. Retrieved November 28, 2023.
  11. ^ Lambert, Fred (March 2023). "Tesla is working on next-gen electric car platform for half the price". Electrek. Retrieved March 13, 2023.
  12. ^ Kane, Mark (January 26, 2023). "Tesla Confirms Next-Gen Vehicle Platform Is Under Development". InsideEVs. Retrieved March 13, 2023.
  13. ^ Neves, Jarryd (April 6, 2023). "Specs For $25k Tesla, Tesla Van, And Tesla Bus Confirmed". CarBuzz. Retrieved April 6, 2024.
  14. ^ Pattni, Vijay (March 1, 2023). "Tesla's new, next generation electric car is… coming, and it'll be more efficient". Top Gear. Retrieved March 13, 2023.
  15. ^ Morris, James (March 4, 2023). "Tesla Investor Day 2023: $25,000 Next Gen Vehicle To Be Made In Mexico". Forbes. Retrieved March 13, 2023.[ better source needed]
  16. ^ Hawkins, Andrew J.; Shakir, Umar (March 1, 2023). "Elon Musk unveils a new Master Plan, a path to sustainable energy future, but no new cars". The Verge. Retrieved April 5, 2024.
  17. ^ Bellan, Rebecca (May 16, 2023). "Elon Musk teases two new EVs, says Tesla is already building one". TechCrunch. Retrieved April 30, 2024.
  18. ^ Krisher, Tom; Hamilton, David (April 23, 2024). "Tesla 1Q profit falls 55%, but stock jumps as company moves to speed production of cheaper vehicles". AP News. Retrieved April 30, 2024.
  19. ^ Jin, Hyunjoo; Sriram, Akash (April 23, 2024). "Tesla promises 'more affordable' cars after shelving all-new Model 2". Reuters. Retrieved April 30, 2024.
  20. ^ Keohane, David; Inagaki, Kana; Campbell, Peter (November 5, 2023). "Toyota takes on Tesla's gigacasting in battle for carmaking's future". Financial Times. Retrieved November 7, 2023.
  21. ^ Lambert, Fred (November 6, 2023). "Tesla plans to build its $25,000 electric car at Gigafactory Berlin". Electrek. Retrieved November 7, 2023.
  22. ^ Shakir, Umar (March 1, 2023). "Tesla confirms its next Gigafactory will be in Mexico". The Verge. Retrieved March 3, 2023.
  23. ^ Alvarez, Simon (June 29, 2023). "Tesla Gigafactory Mexico production set at Q1 2025: report". Retrieved August 4, 2023.
  24. ^ Isaacson, Walter (September 8, 2023). "Exclusive excerpt from Walter Isaacson's latest book: "Elon Musk"". Axios. Retrieved September 8, 2023.
  25. ^ "Tesla looking to make about half million EVs annually in India". Reuters. July 13, 2023.
  26. ^ Waldersee, Victoria (November 6, 2023). "Tesla to build 25,000-euro car in Germany: source". Reuters. Retrieved November 7, 2023.
  27. ^ Jin, Hyunjoo; Shirouzu, Norihiko; Klayman, Ben (April 5, 2024). "Exclusive: Tesla scraps low-cost car plans amid fierce Chinese EV competition". Reuters. Retrieved April 5, 2024.
  28. ^ Fitzpatrck, Alex (April 5, 2024). "Tesla stock seesaws as Musk denies report cheap EV will be scrapped". Axios. Retrieved April 6, 2024.
  29. ^ "Musk says Tesla will unveil 'Robotaxi' on August 8". Reuters. April 6, 2024. Retrieved April 10, 2024.
  30. ^ Chafkin, Max (April 10, 2024). "Did Musk Trade an Affordable Tesla for a Robotaxi?". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 10, 2024.
  31. ^ Ford, Martin (September 18, 2021). "Elon Musk's failed Tesla robotaxi promise is the height of self-driving hype". Fast Company. Retrieved April 10, 2024. At the [2019 Autonomy Day] event, Musk said, 'I feel very confident predicting autonomous robotaxis for Tesla next year.' He went on to suggest that Tesla would have a million such cars operating on public roads by the end of 2020. By 'robotaxis,' Musk meant genuine self-driving cars, capable of operating with no one inside and able to pick up passengers and deliver them to random locations. In other words, a truly robotic version of Uber or Lyft.
  32. ^ Shahan, Zachary (April 9, 2024). "Tesla Will Not Have True Robotaxi Release This Year". CleanTechnica. Retrieved April 10, 2024. Whatever the case may be, I think anyone getting their hopes up about actual Tesla robotaxis hitting the streets in 2024 is being idealistic. I just don't see that happening, and I think it would be good for people to not have unrealistic expectations about Tesla robotaxis yet again. [...] I will remember this article if Tesla somehow releases true robotaxis in 2024, or even in 2025, which I also think is very unlikely.