Elon Musk dropped the hint that the upcoming Tesla ‘Model Y’ crossover will not be built on the same platform as the upcoming Model 3, suddenly countering months of speculation and common sense.
I am not one to question whatever behind the scenes logic Elon Musk has for developing a completely new platform for Tesla’s next crossover, but it may be a sign that Tesla’s product rush is forcing the company to get a little ahead of itself.
Here’s what I mean—when Tesla initially announced that it was developing a third car, it was teased that a new compact sedan would quickly be followed with a new compact crossover, and everyone with any sort of common sense assumed that these new vehicles would be on the same platform. Except now we’re supposedly just months away from the Model 3 launch, and the only news we get on this ‘Model Y’ is that it will be on a completely new platform and primed for sale closer to the end of the decade.
Every major automaker has been switching to shared or modular platforms—a concept that most EV startups even claim are the key to developing an extensive range of new cars in a relatively short amount of time. So why wouldn’t Tesla save costs and time by throwing a crossover on its Model 3 battery sled?
The answer may be in Musk’s ongoing obsession with the manufacturing and production process. In the same earnings call as the Model Y announcement, Musk described a new effort to rid future vehicles of the 12-volt battery architecture, according to The Verge. This, Musk says, will drastically reduce the amount of wiring required in Tesla’s vehicles, and allow for more robot optimization along the factory, streamlining and speeding up production.
It’s unclear but unlikely that the Model 3 was in on this new wiring plan, and thus the desire for another new platform for the upcoming Model Y crossover gets the updated ideas. Hence the ‘getting ahead of itself’ idea. The Model Y is loosely aimed for a 2019 or 2020 production time, which is when Tesla hopes to be hitting the million-sales mark. It would make sense to have a new platform that cuts the time and cost of production when you’re rushing to hit that ultimate six-figure goal.
Another reason for a new platform for Tesla’s next crossover may also be plans for an electric pickup truck. Perhaps what was once planned as a glorified lifted car-crossover is now going to ride on the bones of a much more capable truck platform.
Of course, at this point, only Elon Musk knows. And as long as they’ve got the Model 3 to peddle to customers, don’t expect too much news on Tesla’s Model Y, pickup, or even that cool microbus idea.
Oh yeah, Musk has also seemingly cancelled any plans for an electric public transport bus as he thinks his new plan for tunnels everywhere is better. That’s probably going to upset a few city planners around the country.