Electric Cars

​Elon Musk hints Tesla Model Y crossover by 2020 with new platform

During today's Q1 earnings call, the Tesla CEO also cleared Model 3 misconceptions and let slip a detail about the upcoming electric semi truck.

Tesla
gettyimages-479833746.jpg

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk shared a bunch of new details regarding its upcoming vehicles today, including the Model Y crossover, the Model 3 sedan and Tesla's all-electric semi truck.

In remarks made during this afternoon's earnings call, Musk gave us our best guess at a launch window for the tentatively named Model Y all-electric crossover (or will it be a pickup truck?), which would be the automaker's fifth consumer vehicle. When asked how the automaker plans to reach its goal of building 1 million cars per year by 2020, Musk answered, "We need to come out with the Model Y sometime in 2020 or, aspirationally, late 2019."

Musk also confirmed that the Model Y would be underpinned by a new EV platform different from the Model 3. Some of these differences include more automation in the manufacturing process, a move to higher speed onboard network with a higher data rate and less limitations than the CAN-BUS network on modern cars. The Model Y will also switch more vehicle systems to a new base voltage than what Musk called the "vestigial" 12-volt standard of gasoline cars.

Later in the call, Musk let slip that much of the upcoming fully-electric semi truck that will be unveiled later this year will be composed partially of Model 3 parts, stating that "a bunch of model 3 motors" will power the big rig.

scenicmountain1.png
Tesla

Tesla took great pains to clear up a bit of confusion surrounding the nature of the Model 3. The confusion seems to come from the alphanumeric naming convention with people inaccurately assuming that Models S, X and 3 are first-, second- and third-generation platforms. In today's call Elon Musk said, "it's a little confusing because one's a letter and the other's a number."

Tesla doesn't want prospective buyers delaying purchases because they incorrectly think that the 3 is an upgrade to the S. "We're doing our best to clear up that confusion so that people do not think that Model 3 is somehow superior to Model S," Musk stated, later clarifying that "Model 3 is essentially a smaller, more affordable version of the Model S with fewer features."

The Model 3 was originally going to be called the "Model E," but Ford Motor Co. already held that trademark. Musk cheekily changed the Model's name to 3, resulting in a Tesla lineup that will read "S 3 X" and, eventually, "S 3 X Y."