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Tesla Model Y production will begin in November 2019 at the firm’s Frement plant in California, new reports have suggested.
According to unnamed sources quoted by Reuters, the American brand will then begin production of the Model Y in China from 2021.
Elon Musk, who is the Silicon Valley-based company’s CEO, is reportedly evaluating applications from companies bidding for a Model Y parts supply contract. He will likely be giving this an even more careful eye than normal, given the recent parts supply issue suffered by the brand that caused a backlog for its Model 3 production.
Musk has since said that the company is working at full steam to clear the delays, pushing to hit targets for 5000 cars per week, which equates to 260,000 a year. But it’s likely that he’ll want to be doubly sure the backlogs are clear and production pace picks up well before he introduces the next new car.
Based on the underpinnings of the the Model 3, the Model Y will take the form of a small SUV and, judging by preview images, will have a more striking design than its siblings. The last preview picture released by Tesla showed a car with no door mirrors.
Although current laws require mirrors to be fitted, it’s possible that laws will change to allow the use of cameras and internally mounted displays as an alternative before the Model Y hits the roads.
The Model Y will come with a significantly more advanced supercomputer than current Teslas, which is expected to advance Tesla’s current Autopilot technology by some margin. Currently, the system can control a car’s steering, throttle and brakes in certain motorway scenarios.
Following the Model Y, Tesla will produce an electric cargo van, pick-up truck and minibus, all based on the platform of the Model X SUV.
Tesla’s shift from producing only cars to also launching commercial vehicles will come as part of its ‘Master Plan, Part Deux’, a strategy that also outlines ambitions to take the lead with autonomous technology and transform the public transport sector. It was first published in 2016, ten years after Tesla’s first master plan, which previewed the subsequent launches of the Tesla Model S, Model X and Model 3, as well as its solar power products.
Tesla’s Semi lorry, which was revealed last year and is on sale in the US priced from £112,000, emphasised the brand’s ever-expanding reach into new sector.s
Musk also envisions a car-sharing platform to more fully utilise passenger-carrying potential in cars that would otherwise be sat outside owners’ homes for the majority of the time when they’re not in use. Once self-driving cars are approved by regulators, they could be summoned from anywhere.
“Since most cars are only in use by their owner for 5% to 10% of the day, the fundamental economic utility of a true self-driving car is likely to be several times that of a car which is not,” said Musk.