Elon Musk backed up his new Tesla ‘Master Plan’ today by confirming that both the upcoming Tesla Minibus, referred to as the ‘Spacebus’ by the CEO, and an electric semi truck will be revealed in the next “six to nine months.”
The thing is, Tesla doesn’t have a great track record of being on time for, well, just about anything. The first three models the company produced all had delays, with the Model X being set back over two years. The Model 3 was revealed in April as promised, but its late-2017 production date is already under immense pressure to return to the original 2020 production date that was announced with the car.
So, when Elon Musk says that he plans to introduce both the upcoming Tesla Minibus, which will be supposedly be based on the Model X platform, as well as Tesla’s game-changing electric semi-truck design in the next six to nine months, it might be worth taking with a giant pinch of salt. There’s a few reasons to be skeptical.
Here’s his quote on the investor call, courtesy of The Verge:
“We expect to unveil those for the middle of next year, maybe the next six to nine months type of thing. And then [we’d] have a better, more fleshed-out plan for when those would enter production,” Musk said.
The first reason to be skeptical is obviously the horrible track record of the Roadster, Model S and Model X timelines. But beyond that, mid-2017 is primed to be Tesla’s massive collective effort to ramp up production for the Model 3, as well as getting the Nevada Gigafactory up to the ridiculous capacity Tesla is expected to need. As we learned today, 2016 wasn’t a great start to the company’s massive manufacturing efforts.
It’s also worth noting that, until Musk published his second Tesla ‘Master Plan’ just a couple of weeks ago, we had no knowledge that the minibus and truck project were even happening. Sure, Musk had mentioned a pickup truck before, but had never suggested any firm plans or timelines.
There’s also the rumored Tesla Model Y, which is a crossover based on the new Model 3's platform. If any of Tesla’s current upcoming models were ready for display, wouldn’t it be the crossover that’s extremely similar to the Model 3 we’ve already seen? Musk even mentioned in the same investor call today that the Model Y is the “obvious priority” following the Model 3. Perhaps we’ll be getting that in a few months, too.
Whatever we do get when the Minibus and/or semi-truck finally make a pubic debut will undoubtedly be prototypes similar to the vehicles displayed at the Model 3 reveal back in April. It isn’t yet clear if reservations will be made available upon the reveal of the upcoming models, especially considering the unexpected mass of 370,000 orders for the Model 3 Tesla found itself with.
Tesla will have its hands full getting the Model 3 to mass production, and Musk mentioned that the crossover variant Model Y is expected to have demand measured easily in millions when it’s available for sale. Is there room for the more niche models like a minibus or semi-truck? We’ll know in six to nine months! Or more.