In my opinion, Tesla is currently by far the most interesting tech company to follow and 2016 was its most exciting year yet. I think the highlights are clear: Model 3 unveil event, introduction of Autopilot 2.0 on all cars, which could enable fully self-driving capability, and finally the unveiling of the solar roof products.
While 2016 was a year of unveilings, 2017 will be a year of execution for Tesla. The company plans to bring all those promising products that it unveiled in 2016 to market, and it also plans to announce a few more.
The whole year will revolve around the execution of the Model 3 since Tesla plans for the vehicle program to finance its other expansions.
As we often reported, the production plan is to start at some point during the second half of 2017 for volume production by the end of the year.
Before that happens, there will be what we have been referring to as ‘Tesla Model 3 Unveil Part 3‘. The automaker is expected to hold an event in the coming months to unveil the final design of the vehicle, especially its interior, and release the details about all the configurations and trims.
Based on comments by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the event should be held around March.
Tesla may also start converting reservations into orders at this point in order to start better planning for production.
The first few months of the year will also see the first deliveries and installations of the new Powerwall 2. Tesla is starting to produce the home battery pack in volume at the Gigafactory for deliveries in early January in the US and moving to other markets during the first quarter.
The volumes are expected to be significantly greater than with the first generation Powerwall. As we previously reported, Tesla has doubled the energy capacity of the pack while only slightly increasing the price.
Tesla will also start shipping the Powerpack 2 in greater volume and while it will likely represent a greater number of deployed energy capacity, we will not hear as much about it as with the Powerwall since it will be less of a customer-facing process.
Throughout the year, SolarCity will start to be more and more incorporated into Tesla’s business and distribution channels. The brand will be phased out into Tesla within the first half of the year, according to the proposal.
It will lead to another awaited execution, the start of production of the solar roof products. As SolarCity’s Silevo and Zep engineering teams merge with Tesla’s, the combined group will start working with Panasonic to set manufacturing at SolarCity’s Buffalo plant in order to start producing solar cells, solar modules, and the solar tiles for the solar roof.
Production is expected to start during the summer. Only one of the 4 styles of tile will go into production at first and Tesla will gradually start producing other roof styles in few months intervals.
That’s a lot of execution within a few months, but Tesla’s recent acquisitions of SolarCity and Grohmann Engineering were aimed at accelerating the process. Tesla now has over 30,000 employees working toward those goals.
Beyond executing on those already announced products, Tesla also plans to unveil new ones in 2017.
The first one is expected to be the Model Y, a compact SUV built on the same platform as the Model 3. The automaker hasn’t officially commented on when it plans to unveil the vehicle, but we have to assume that it will be relatively soon based on comments Musk made about the unveiling of future products that we expect to actually come after the unveiling of the Model Y.
Tesla is working on a minibus built on the Model X chassis, which we have been referring to as the ‘Tesla Minibus‘, and it also launched a semi truck program,‘Tesla Semi‘, led by the former Model S program director Jerome Guillen. Back in August, Musk said that Tesla plans to unveil both of these new vehicles “within 6 to 9 months,” which would put the unveil in the first quarter 2017.
Considering the Model Y is expected to come to market before both of these products, it would make sense for it to be unveiled before them too.
The automaker is also working on a pickup truck to be released within the next “couple of years,” according to Musk. There’s also a possibility of a prototype being unveiled in 2017, but it would be less likely than the 3 previous vehicles mentioned.
In conclusion, we will be following Tesla’s execution closely in 2017, especially tracking the Model 3’s road to production, but we will also get to see some new products from the automaker, which are sure to create even more interesting stories about the company during the next year.
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