Tesla has plans to build a rival to the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra within the next five years.
Responding to a question about compact [Golf size] and sub-compact [Fiesta size] cars, Musk told a Tesla shareholders’ conference: “I think we’ll do a compact car in less than five years.”
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While no more details were offered, Musk also used the meeting to announce a number of updates for Tesla’s current and future range.
Addressing quality and production concerns surrounding Tesla’s BMW 3 Series-rivalling Model 3 saloon, Musk said he had experienced “The most excruciating, hellish several months I’ve maybe ever had”, but said the company had made “huge progress” and “the quality and reliability of the car has improved dramatically…by a factor of maybe four or five since it started production.”
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The Tesla chief also announced the Model 3 is outselling the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class and Lexus IS in America. Musk confirmed the four-wheel drive version of the Model 3 is due in July, while a “shorter-range battery/lower-cost” Model 3 should arrive “around the end of this year.”
Musk also said production lines for the Model 3 had improved their output, with the company expecting its factories to have a “5,000-car week by the end of this month [June]”. He warned, however, that “if you want the right-hand drive version [of the Model 3] you’re probably waiting another year.”
Tesla Model Y
While details were thin on the ground, Tesla used its shareholder meeting to tease the forthcoming Model Y, a mid-size SUV set to compete against cars like the Audi Q3. Musk said the Model Y SUV would be revealed in March 2019, and would offer «something super special» once on sale in 2020. He also said the car would not have any leather in it, joking «even in the steering wheel….even if it does have a steering wheel.”
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Tesla’s forthcoming Roadster also came in for more announcements at the meeting, with Musk calling the prototype version – with its 1.9 second 0-60mph time – a “base model”. Musk also said the Tesla Roadster, due in 2020, will be offered with a “Space X option package”, a nod to the car being launched into space by a Tesla Space X rocket back in February. Tesla needs to show Musk added, “that an electric vehicle can outperform a gasoline car in every way.”
Tesla Semi Lorry
The Tesla Semi lorry, also due in 2020, has, Musk said, undergone further developments, and will offer «a range which is way beyond what most people in the industry think is possible” when it launches. When asked about European preferences for cab-over HGV designs, rather than the Semi’s American-style cab-forward setup, Musk said the Tesla truck «works in Europe and North America and China and the rest of the world.»
Other announcements made by Musk included news that a new, third-generation version of the Tesla Supercharger is due out “hopefully around the end of this year”.