Back in October of 2015, a Tesla crossover to slot below the Model X was announced, when Musk tweeted about how the more affordable model would not feature the tricky falcon-wing doors of the Model X. Up until now, it was assumed the Model Y would share a platform with the Model 3 sedan.
Musk said in the shareholder’s meeting, “I am really excited about Model Y,” as transcribed by InsideEVs. “There’s been some criticism, like we should sort of derive it from the Model 3 platform. But I think actually we made a mistake in trying to derive the Model X from the Model S platform.
Shareholders heard from Musk that the Model Y would be built “in a way that a car has never been built before.” According to InsideEVs, that means not only a unique platform, but also a dedicated factory separate from Tesla’s current manufacturing plant.
This all seems ambitious for an automaker that has recently faced delays, quality control challenges, and factory employee safety issues as it has worked to expand production capability—challenges many industry observers attribute to Tesla’s relative lack of experience in the intricate processes of mass producing automobiles.
“It would’ve been better to just design an SUV the way an SUV should be designed,” Musk continued. “Design a sedan—the way a sedan should be designed. Otherwise you’d just try to shoehorn something that doesn’t make sense.”
According to Musk the Model Y will happen sometime in 2019, with demand for the small crossover expected to exceed that of the Model 3.
Musk has actually revealed the very first photo of Tesla’s upcoming Design Y.
The compact SUV will complete the autmaker’s S3XY lineup when it goes on sale in 2019.
Alluringly shadowed, teaser image portrays a conventionally-shaped vehicle with a hood and swept-back windscreen, and the top of what seems a brand-new front fascia design.
Notably missing from the car are profile mirrors. Musk didn’t reference them during the Tesla shareholders satisfying where the picture was released, but the style could show plans to change them with video cameras, if regulations are upgraded to enable it.
Although not obvious in the image, Musk has previously assured that the Design Y will include the same kind of “Falcon Wing” rear doors used on the Design X.
Musk included that the Design Y will utilize a next-generation platform that not just uses new innovations, but will be cheaper to produce than the Design 3 and may require an all-new factory, although particular plans for one were not revealed.