Tesla Model Y Prototype Approved by Elon Musk, Production to Start 2020

The electric crossover could be produced at Tesla’s new Gigafactory in Shanghai, China.

byRob Stumpf|
Tesla Model Y Prototype Approved by Elon Musk, Production to Start 2020

Tesla CEO Elon Musk let loose a few details regarding the company's upcoming crossover, the Model Y, during the automaker's third-quarter earnings call on Wednesday evening. During the call, The Drive learned that Musk recently approved the production of a prototype of this vehicle and that the company is targeting production in 2020.

Previous reports indicated Tesla was preparing for the Model Y's production to begin as early as fourth-quarter 2019, however, Musk clarified that the company is aiming for volume production to begin a bit later than initially reported by Reuters. The CEO announced that he recently penned the approval for the Model Y's prototype to enter production, indicating that the automaker is beginning to prepare final tweaks and details ahead of the vehicle's official unveiling.

Currently, the Model Y is slated for a reveal sometime during the first and second quarter of 2019. In Musk-time, this is estimated to be around Friday, March 15th.

The details regarding the Model Y were intended to clarify that Tesla is not starting new vehicle development in order to achieve GAAP profitability. Musk goes on to mention that Tesla has made significant progress on the Semi and next-generation Roadster before briefly touching on the progress of Tesla's upcoming pickup truck, stating he thinks it's "going to be some next level stuff."

Tesla did not mention where it plans to build the Model Y, however, since it will be based on the same platform as the Model 3, the possibility of assembly plant coexistence is not explicitly written off. Talks during the call indicated that its Fremont facility is nearing its current production line capacity of 7,000 vehicles per week. Though the space for expansion exists, this may be given priority to another general assembly line for the Model 3 in order to meet expected worldwide demand. It is mentioned that Tesla expects to produce a maximum of between 7,000 and 10,000 cars from Fremont, but Musk stressed that that number is simply a conjecture and not set in stone.

An environmental feasibility study filing uncovered by Reuters suggests Tesla is looking to build its upcoming compact SUV at its newest Gigafactory in China, where it will also plan for an initial capacity of 5,000 Model 3s per week in addition to what is produced in California. Last week, Tesla entered into an agreement with the Chinese government to build its newest Gigafactory location in China's eastern Shanghai province. The 534-square-mile plot of land will house Tesla's production site and is estimated to cost the company around $2 billion.