There was a time when Elon Musk seemed to be pretty dismissive of the idea of an affordable Tesla. This was a sentiment he mentioned in his Master Plan, Part Deux, where he mused that there would probably be no need for a cheaper car after the Model 3 since the Robotaxi network should provide affordable transportation for everyone.
Such a statement can easily be true for countries like the United States or Canada, but for countries like India, Musk’s statement is not exactly on target. There is a reason, after all, why affordable cars and motorbikes reign supreme in the auto segments of places like the Philippines. Even China, the world’s largest auto market and one of the strongest territories for the Tesla Model Y, has a large segment of car buyers that prefer affordable cars.
Musk, however, has not really provided many thoughts about an affordable EV. In the Q4 and Full Year 2021 earnings call, Musk flat-out stated that “we’re not currently working on a $25,000 car,” to the disappointment of some analysts on Wall Street. He has also mused about creating a dedicated Robotaxi with a futuristic design instead. These sentiments seemed to change during the third quarter earnings call, however, when Musk noted that a third-generation vehicle, believed to be an affordable EV, would exceed the output of all the company’s EVs today combined.
It was then no surprise that during his appearance at the 2022 Indonesia B20 summit, Musk was asked about his thoughts on a more affordable Tesla. The interviewer joked that the car could be named “Model I” for “Indonesia” or “India,” both countries where such a vehicle would likely be very competitive. In his response, Musk noted that he could not really speak much about Tesla’s future products, but he highlighted that the company is fully aware that an affordable EV is definitely the way to go.
“Yeah, I can’t speak too much about the future Tesla product development except to say that we do think that making a much more affordable vehicle would make a lot of sense. And we should do something,” Musk said.
Musk did not mention the vehicle’s price or specs, though speculations in EV communities have long suggested that the company’s affordable car would likely be in the $25,000 range. As for specs, it would not be surprising if it gets sold as a single motor vehicle that’s built with megacasts and a structural battery pack to save on production costs. The affordable EV, however, would most definitely still be equipped with the company’s robust suite of safety features, from airbags to active and passive safety systems.
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