Tesla released its second quarter earnings this evening, and during the subsequent investor call CEO Elon Musk put a more specific timetable on the company’s recently announced plans for making an electric semi truck and minibus. The company now plans to unveil the new vehicles in early to mid 2017, according to Musk.
“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 Tesla CEO had mentioned a possible unveiling in 2017 when he announced the vehicles last month in his updated “Tesla Master Plan” — a follow-up to the goal-specific mission statement that he published for the company back in 2006 — but this was the closest he’s come to discussing an actual date.
It’s a pretty aggressive schedule considering we didn’t know that Musk even wanted to build these vehicles before two weeks ago. And it looks even more aggressive when you realize that the middle of next year is when Musk hopes to begin production on the company’s first mass-market car, the Model 3. Musk has said that the bus would be built using the Model X’s architecture, so it doesn’t seem so far-fetched that the company could have a set of working prototypes in time for a spring or summer reveal — after all, the cars that were used during the Model 3 unveiling in April were all prototypes.
“Anything past five years is infinity."
But the semi truck would be a relatively new endeavor, and there’s been a lot of recent attention paid to shifting the trucking industry toward electric and autonomous technologies. Musk said that after the unveiling, both vehicles “would enter production within low-single digit years.”
After that, Musk added that the “obvious priority” after Model 3 production would be the compact SUV that was also mentioned in the Master Plan, the one that has been rumored in the past as the “Model Y.” “That’s also a car where we expect to see demand in the 500,000 to 1,000,000-per-year level,” he said. Musk did not, however, mention when the Model Y might be unveiled.