The premium electric vehicle maker could launch a new vehicle, its whimsical CEO teases.
It is always difficult to know with Elon Musk if he is serious or if he is just having fun being provocative to see the reaction.
Still, the most influential CEO in the world with more than 100.5 million followers on the social network Twitter knows how to surprise and above all knows how to make people talk.
As if Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc. Report didn’t already have a lot to deal with, Musk probably just added another item to the company’s-to-do-list. The charismatic entrepreneur has just dangled the idea of a new model of Tesla vehicle. This vehicle would be a futuristic van if we are to believe Musk’s posts on Twitter.
“Maybe Tesla should make a highly configurable Robovan for people & cargo?” the billionaire wrote on Twitter on July 7.
A user commented with this remark: “Definitely need something bigger than the X. Is this possible.”
Musk then responded with a wink emoji.
When Billy Markus, the co-creator of the Dogecoin meme, of which Musk is one of the strongest advocates, pointed out to him that it would be the coolest thing, Musk then gave some additional details about this van.
“duuude. that would be the coolest thing to take on a camping / glamping trip ~,” Markus posted.
“Maybe with an optional solar power canopy that extends both sides of the van, tripling roof area,” Musk responded.
It was then that another user posted a photo showing a kind of rolling roof.
“Or something like that 😃,” the user wrote.
“Pretty much. A van would have more roof height, so you could stand or sit under it for shade,” Musk said, providing additional details.
These clues sown by Musk come at a time when Tesla is very busy. The manufacturer of premium electric vehicles is facing disruptions in supply chains, shortage of chips and soaring prices for raw materials like the rest of the industry. The looming recession could also hit it hard even if the order book is full.
Busy Roadmap and Master Plan
On top of that, Tesla has a busy roadmap also at least until the end of 2024. Musk himself repeated in January and April that Tesla’s priorities for 2022 are: to increase production of the Model 3 sedan and the Model Y SUV, which together represent a large majority of Tesla’s sales. And then kick off the production of the highly anticipated Cybertruck pickup/truck in 2023 and also the production of the new Roadster and the Tesla Semi.
Tesla, which has not launched a new vehicle for a long time, has also promised to unveil the vehicle that will be its robotaxi in 2023 and start production in 2024. This vehicle “would not have a steering wheel or pedals,” Musk told analysts during the first-quarter earnings’ call.
It’s hard to say if the van Musk is talking about in his posts is the robotaxi since the tech tycoon says it will transport people and also cargo. But if Tesla did launch a van, the company would keep its word as the van was mentioned in volume 2 of the famous “The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan (just between you and me),” which is a sort of secret guide to transform transportation and to save the planet from dying from pollution written by Musk.
“In addition to consumer vehicles, there are two other types of electric vehicle needed: heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport.,” Musk wrote on July 20, 2016.
The Heavy-duty-Truck is believed to be the Tesla Semi but the bus or “high passenger-density urban transport” is still missing.
The van could also be a boon for The Boring Company, another Musk company, known for its underground tunnels. Indeed, the company currently uses a fleet of regular Tesla vehicles for its Loop rides, which is a transit system currently being deployed in Las Vegas.
“I think Tesla is definitely going to make an electric van at some point,” Musk said in January 2021 during the fourth-quarter earnings’ call. He was asked about Tesla building a van following news from GM and its BrightDrop.
“So the thing to bear in mind is that there is fundamentally a constraint on battery cell output. If one is not involved in manufacturing, it’s really hard to appreciate just how hard this scale of production is. It’s the hardest thing in the world. Prototypes are easy. Scaling production is very hard.”