In a conference call with analysts today, Elon Musk gave more details on the expected timeline for two major programs he announced last month: ‘Tesla Minibus‘ and ‘Tesla Semi‘. The CEO originally said that we should expect an unveiling of these products next year, but now he clarified and said that we should expect the events to happen in the next 6 to 9 months.
More importantly, Musk gave some insights, although more vague than for the unveilings, into when we should expect the new vehicles to make it to production:
“They should enter production within low single digit years. I consider anything past 5 years as infinity.”
He emphasised that the priority remains the Model 3, then full autonomous driving, then the Model Y, and that Tesla can not afford to stack more capital expenditure on top of those programs. Therefore, the ‘Tesla Minibus’, which is not an official name by the way, and ‘Tesla Semi’ will only be able to hit their production phase after the Model 3 production ramp, which is expected sometime in 2018
Nonetheless, the vehicles are already in the early production phase and Musk says that there’s a lot they can do that doesn’t require significant capital expenditure:
“In the development of a vehicle, there’s a long phase in the beginning of the development that involves a lot of time, but not a lot of costs. It’s when you are tuning up for production that the cost starts to increase dramatically.”
As we recently reported, Tesla’s minibus will be built on the Model X chassis, so there’s indeed a lot that can be done in the development before ramping up for expensive tooling.
Tesla also appears to be very serious about entering the truck business with ‘Tesla Semi’. Musk put one of his top executive and the former director of Tesla’s successful Model S program, Jerome Guillen, in charge of the new business unit.
Featured Image: fan rendering by Jalopnik.