Elon Musk's Timeline For Launching Tesla's Model Y Is Insane

Endless questions about the Model Y crossover.
Endless questions about the Model Y crossover.
Photo: Tesla

Tesla CEO Elon Musk admitted in an unusually tense conference call last week that he doesn’t have a site confirmed to launch production of the Model Y crossover, but he’s confident (as always) it’ll start making the car in 24 months. By all accounts, it’s an aggressive, if not insane, timeline.


Anyone who follows Tesla has known for months that it has no space at its current assembly plant in Fremont, California. Musk said as much in the call last week, saying Fremont is “jammed to the gills,” which left many to wonder, where, then, will the Model Y be built. Or why hasn’t a site been selected yet?

Automotive News started asking around, and it’s no surprise, really, but Musk definitely laid down an overtly aggressive timeline for the Model Y.

From Automotive News:

It typically takes 30 to 36 months from factory groundbreaking to vehicles rolling off the production line, AutoPacific analyst Dave Sullivan told Automotive News.”Elon is over-promising and surely will be underdelivering,” Sullivan said. “I thought the Model 3 launch would bring out a more humble side of Musk.”

In September 2015, Volvo broke ground on its first car plant in the U.S., near Charleston, S.C. About 31 months later, it still hasn’t started commercial production on the S60 sedan.

The automaker is still struggling to ramp up production of the Model 3 sedan, pegged as a more-affordable Tesla vehicle to expand the company’s reach. Musk set an audacious timeline for the Model 3 as well, and given the missteps over the last year—the CEO initially estimated Tesla would be making more than 5,000 Model 3s per week by now; it hasn’t even hit half that mark yet—it’s honestly surprising that Musk isn’t pacing himself more. But then again, this is a guy who—amid a frantic week for the company sparked by his own bluster—mused that he’s “super” serious about starting a candy company. So maybe not.

Musk said a decision on the Model Y site location could come by the third quarter of 2018, and would happen no later than the end of the year. When that happens, surely he’ll deliver some sort of splashy announcement to coincide with it, as is customary for Tesla. And then he’ll have to figure out where to build the Tesla semi and new Roadster.

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk


The factory will be located in Shanghai, China. Construction is expected to begin in October this year. The main buildings are expected to finish by April 2019. It’ll take another 6 months to install the first two production lines, to hire and train staffs, and to make any last minute adjustments to the production lines. With reasonable luck, production will begin in early 2020. Between 2020 and 2022, 6 more production lines will be turned up at this factory, for a total capacity of 1M vehicle per year.

I heard it on the grapevine. After done laughing, I realized it’s actually possible.