In June 2017, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told shareholders that the company’s upcoming Model Y crossover, built on its own dedicated platform, would appear in 2019. That plan soon changed, with Musk deciding (under pressure) that the new vehicle would share much of its architecture with the Model 3 sedan. The timeline remained hazy, as Tesla timelines are wont to do.
Now, sources close to the company’s supply chain say the Model Y is headed for a November 2019 production start — a timeline one of the sources describes as “aggressive, but possible.”
According to Reuters, Tesla has started accepting preliminary bids for supplier contracts for the upcoming model. While details of the vehicle remain scarce, the company has now floated a production start date, the sources claim.
This tidbit of news comes at the same time as Musk’s appearance on CBS, where he responded to concerns over the company’s continued Model 3 production delays. After missing its first-quarter 2018 target of 2,500 Model 3s per week, Tesla’s target of 5,000 Model 3s per week by the end of June remains in place. Bottlenecks and the Fremont crew’s so-called “production hell” haven’t yet faded into the past.
Clearly, Musk wasn’t willing to use the word “delay.”
“There shouldn’t be a question mark as to whether somebody’s gonna get their car, it’s just, yes, you’ll definitely get your car,” Musk said in response to criticism from reservation holders stuck waiting for their vehicle. “It’s gonna be six to nine months longer than expected. It’s a six-to-nine-month time shift, that’s literally it, and three of those months have already passed.”
Between now and the anticipated start of Model Y production, Tesla needs to start production of dual-motor Model 3s as well as the cheaper, base version of the sedan, and do so in a manner that doesn’t drain resources from other areas of the factory. The company claims it doesn’t need to raise any more cash this year, but not everyone agrees.
With the Model Y borrowing so much from the Model 3, Reuter‘s sources claim a year and a half of development time might be feasible. Beyond this, predictions reign. Musk told analysts back in February that he wants to build a million Model Ys per year, while the sources claim suppliers see 500,000 as the more likely target. A smaller number would be built in China, they said.
Of course, to hit an annual production figure of 500,000 (or a million) Model Ys per year, Tesla needs to find extra assembly space. Kickoff of Model Y production will occur at the existing Fremont plant, suppliers claim.