Following last week’s announcement that Tesla will bring to market a self-driving ‘minibus’, CEO Elon Musk now confirmed that the vehicle will be built on the Model X chassis – hinting at the vehicle potentially coming to market sooner than anticipated by leveraging the work already done for the automaker’s SUV.
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Musk confirmed the news following a piece by Jalopnik, which pretty much fantasized about the possibility of a Tesla vehicle influenced by Volkswagen’s iconic Type II. The article noted, as have we, that VW has really dropped the ball on its Micro-bus legacy.
After the release of his Tesla Master Plan Part 2, Musk said that the bus is inspired by the “California Custom VW combi design art”. Jalopnik came up with the rendering seen above to help visualize what it could look like.
Now he says that you can fit a “surprisingly high” number of people ion a vehicle built on the Model X chassis:
You can read a list of the Model X’s full specifications below, but in term of chassis, the vehicle has a length of 198.3″ on a wheelbase of 116.7″ and a width of 89.4″.
When talking about the vehicle in his ‘Master Plan’, Musk referenced the vehicle as a” high passenger-density urban transport vehicle” and specifically talked about it being enabled by autonomous driving:
“With the advent of autonomy, it will probably make sense to shrink the size of buses and transition the role of bus driver to that of fleet manager. Traffic congestion would improve due to increased passenger areal density by eliminating the center aisle and putting seats where there are currently entryways, and matching acceleration and braking to other vehicles, thus avoiding the inertial impedance to smooth traffic flow of traditional heavy buses. It would also take people all the way to their destination. Fixed summon buttons at existing bus stops would serve those who don’t have a phone. Design accommodates wheelchairs, strollers and bikes.”
He also said that the vehicle is in the early stages of development, but it could be unveiled as soon as next year.
Coincidently, VW is bringing back its won minibus and making it battery-powered. It’s expected to hit the market in 2020-ish.
Model X full specifications:
- Length 198.3″
- Wheelbase 116.7″
- Width 89.4″ With mirrors folded 81.5″
- Track Front 65.4″, Rear 66.9″
- Clearance 7.3″ With air suspension 5.4″ – 8.3″
- Head room Front 41.7″ Second Row 40.9″ Third Row 37.1”
- Leg room Front 41.2″ Second Row 38.4″ Third Row 32.7”
- Shoulder room Front 60.7″ Second Row 56.8″ Third Row 40.0”
- Hip room Front 55.6″ Second Row 59.0″ Third Row 38.5”
- Seating capacity 7 adults
- Total interior storage 77 cu ft in the six seat configuration
- Curb weight 90D 5271 lbs P90D 5381 lbs
- Weight distribution 90D Front 49%, Rear 51% P90D Front 48%, Rear 52%