Less-affluent EV fans have been hoping Tesla would produce a budget-priced EV since…well, since the company’s founding. Over the last few months, we’ve seen growing evidence that a cheaper Tesla—which the chattering classes have unofficially dubbed Model 2—is in the works.
In April, Tesla revealed Master Plan Part 3, which included teaser-level info about three new vehicles to be built on a next-gen platform: a compact car, a commercial van and a bus. According to the Master Plan, the compact will have a 53 kWh LFP battery pack, and Tesla expects to sell it in even greater volume than Models 3 and Y.
It’s widely believed that the new model will be built at the planned Tesla Gigafactory Mexico. Samuel García Sepúlveda, Governor of the Mexican state of Nuevo León, told Milenio that Tesla will build “a whole new production line” at Giga Mexico for “the economic model that is going to be sold massively.”
Another tidbit of information was revealed at Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting this week, where the company’s CEO said, “We are actually building a new product. We are actually designing a new product. There are two new products that I think you will be very excited about. And both the design of the products and the manufacturing techniques are head and shoulders above anything else that is present in the industry.”
A screen next to the mercurial mogul showed a vague outline of a curvy Tesla-style car. The volatile visionary offered no timeline, and no details of the new models other than that they will be affordable, and that “we’ll probably make in excess of 5 million units a year of these two models combined.”
Tesla-watchers immediately began parsing the perplexing prophet’s pronouncement. What exactly did he mean by saying that the company is “actually building a new product?” Long-time Tesla interpreter Fred Lambert noted that “building” usually means production in Tesla-speak, but speculated that it could simply mean the building of a prototype.
Lambert expects the two vehicles in question to be the anticipated cheaper and smaller hatchback, and the long-promised “robotaxi,” an EV specifically designed to serve as a self-driving taxi.