Tesla Pledges to Launch Minibus and Semi Truck by 2017

Aug 06, 2016 07:30 AM EDT | Sovan Mandal

Tesla finally has a more credible launch window for its electric semi-truck and passenger bus vehicles, which CEO Elon Musk said will be unveiled by mid-2017 itself. That does make for a pretty aggressive timeline but might still be achievable considering the minibus would be based on the same platform that now underpins the Model X.

Musk had hinted of the two vehicles in the Tesla Master Plan which was announced last month. Also, according to The Verge, it is likely that only early prototypes of the minibus and semi-truck that would be unveiled. Musk though assured actual production would commence within the next few years itself.

However, not much is known of what happens to be the newest addition to Tesla's future vehicle line-up except that it would draw inspiration from VW's production-ready Budd-e that was unveiled during the CES back in January, 2016. The Budd-e is positioned as the modern avatar of the iconic Volkswagen Microbus and is projected to have a range of 373 miles.

Meanwhile, Musk also explained the immediate priority for the company is to ease production hurdles to make the more affordable Model 3 available to the masses. Thereafter, it is the Model Y that will be keeping the company busy. Model Y is being positioned as a more compact SUV with Musk exuding confidence the SUV will see demand of 500k to 1 million per year once launched.

Those figures might seem lofty at the moment considering that it is far more than the 500k sales that the Audi Q series of SUVs achieved in 2015. However, as Electrek have put it, Tesla has still managed to outsell the mighty Mercedes S Class in the US where it sold 25,202 Model S sedans in 2015 compared to 21,934 S Class sold during the same period.

Musk though didn't mention when the Model Y will be launched. However, given that the CEO is eager to see the minibus and semi-truck to reach markets within "low-single digit years," expect the Model Y to arrive even earlier than that.

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