Tesla held its shareholder meeting Wednesday night, and lots of news emerged in bits and pieces from CEO Elon Musk and the rest of the event.
We now know a little more about the Tesla Model Y, the mass-priced electric SUV or crossover utility vehicle that is scheduled to hit the market in 2019, for instance.
And Musk offered snippets of information on future battery gigafactories, impending production of the Model 3 sedan, and much more.
Devout Tesla supporters and fans may want to read the full transcript of Musk’s remarks at the meeting.
Otherwise, we’ve summarized the news items as briefly as possible, below.
First release candidate Tesla Model 3 electric car, from video tweeted by Elon Musk, March 2017
Tesla Model 3
Musk said the first production version of the mass-market Tesla Model 3 electric sedan is on track to be delivered next month.
At that time, a limited configurator for the Model 3 will go online, which he said will be essentially no more than paint color and choice of wheels. It’ll show additional configurations, with estimated dates as to when they may become available.
The thinking behind this, Musk explained, is that too many production variants of the Tesla Model X crossover were available at launch, which slowed down production.
It’s critical to keep the Model 3 launch simple, he said, to allow production to ramp up rapidly.
For the same reason, all-wheel drive won’t be available initially, because that would double the complexity of the variations. (We’d also suggest that it doubles the requirements for government certifications.)
The dual-motor option might arrive at the end of this year, Musk said, but “more likely” it will be offered early in 2018.
Tesla Model Y
While much has been rumored and written about the Tesla Model Y, Musk confirmed that it will be built on a dedicated platform rather than adapted from the Model 3 underpinnings.
He suggested that adapting the Model X from Tesla’s first volume car, the Model S, had actually been a mistake.
“It would have been better to just design an SUV the way an SUV should be designed,” Musk said, and that’s what the company plans to do with the Model Y.
The Model Y will also use the controversial “falcon doors” pioneered on the Model X, he said, despite what some critics have suggested is their complexity and cost.
Tesla is also looking at a dedicated factory for Model Y production, Musk said, which he pegged to start around 2019.
Using a dedicated platform and factory, he suggested, could allow the company to cut its capital expenditure to develop the new electric utility by a factor of two compared to the Model 3.