Update: ‘New Tesla Model Y (refresh)’ section added.
In 2022, Tesla sold 1.31 million cars globally while vehicle deliveries were up 40% (year-over-year), according to a company press release published on January 2, 2023. Tesla’s name is synonymous with electric cars, which surely helped it gain customers over the years. In fact, Tesla customers are more likely to stick to electric cars when compared to customers using other EV brands, a report by S&P Global said on January 17, 2023.
Now, let’s take a look at the future Tesla cars that are expected to be launched in the U.S. by mid-decade. Note that the article is a compilation of information from various sources (official and unofficial).
New Tesla Model 3 (refresh)
Tesla’s Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen told Ride the Lightning podcast host Ryan McCaffrey that the company hasn’t witnessed a significant-enough demand from customers for a change in the Model 3. In the interview, which was uploaded to YouTube on January 15, 2023, the chief designer cited the “super modern” look and feel of the Model 3 as reason enough for Tesla not wanting to change the EV’s exterior styling.
What’s going on here? @klwtts @WholeMarsBlog @teslaownersSV pic.twitter.com/uFpxcsVh4D— omg_Tesla/Rivian (@omg_tesla) December 3, 2022
That said, test prototypes of the purported 2024 Tesla Model 3 wearing partial camouflage have been spotted in the U.S. between December 2022 and January 2023, suggesting Tesla could enhance some aspects of the exterior. This was soon after Reuters said that a new Model 3 was under development, codenamed ‘Highland.’
The Model 3 is offered in Standard Range RWD, Long Range AWD (temporarily unavailable), and Performance AWD variants – all of which are expected on the MY2024 update. However, Tesla could make changes to the powertrain, according to a Reuters report dated November 28, 2022.
As per unofficial reports, the Tesla Model 3 (refresh) is expected to be released in the U.S. in the second half of the year. There has been an increase in the sightings of test mules recently, which indicates Tesla is edging closer to the final development of the new Model 3.
The radical-looking Tesla Cybertruck was first introduced to the world from the American brand’s design studio in Los Angeles, California, on November 21, 2019.
Where other pickup trucks look similar, the Cybertruck’s styling makes it appear as if it was designed by aliens, Elon Musk’s Twitter post said on July 15, 2021. The Tesla CEO says the Cybertruck is really special and something not witnessed too often, as per Musk’s Twitter post from November 18, 2022. Tesla Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen confirmed that the Cybertruck will enter production in six months, according to the Ride the Lightning podcast cited earlier in the story.
The Cybertruck is to be offered in single-motor RWD, dual-motor AWD, tri-motor AWD, and quad-motor AWD variants. The latter is also to feature all-wheel-steering, allowing the electric pickup to move “diagonally like a crab,” Elon Musk mentioned in a tweet on December 3, 2021. The Tesla Cybertruck will also get the brand’s popular yoke steering mechanism, von Holzhausen said in the Ride the Lightning podcast.
Tesla Cybertruck deliveries in the U.S. will commence in the U.S. in the second half of the year. Production will take place at the company’s Giga Texas plant in Austin (Texas), USA. Tesla released a Valentine’s Day video on Twitter on February 14, 2023, showcasing its factory robots. In the clip, one of its robots picked up the frame of Cybertruck, giving those of us who have not seen the electric pickup in person a better idea of its size.
New Tesla Model Y (refresh)
Following the new Model 3 and the Cybertruck, Tesla will likely refresh the Model Y. A report published on March 1, 2023 by Automotive News describes the new Tesla Model Y internally as ‘Tesla Juniper,’ and the company plans to begin production in 2024.
The 2024 Tesla Model Y should feature mild cosmetic changes, such as new bumpers, reshaped headlamps, and fresh wheels. Interior changes may include a new touchscreen infotainment system that can be rotated like that of the new Model S and new Model X, a fully digital instrument cluster (absent in the outgoing model), new dashboard trim, etc.
There’s no word on specification changes for the Model Y yet, but we think Tesla will likely improve its energy efficiency and increase the range, even if just by a thin margin. For reference, currently the maximum EPA-est. range is 330 miles.
The next-gen Tesla Roadster was unveiled to an unsuspecting audience at the company’s Hawthorne facility in California, U.S., on November 17, 2017. The event was initially only to showcase the Tesla Semi, which is why the reveal of the all-electric two-door sports car surprised everyone all over the world.
Speaking to Ryan McCaffrey of Ride the Lightning podcast, Tesla Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen said that the delay behind the Roadster project has allowed the company to build a far more competitive product, even surpassing Tesla’s initial expectations. While details regarding the two-door sports car’s specifications are scarce, Elon Musk promised that the Roadster will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under 2 seconds.
The company has had ideas to boost the maximum torque & RPM figures of the Model S Plaid’s tri-electric motors, Musk said in a tweet on June 13, 2021. Considering what von Holzhausen also said regarding the halo project, it’s possible that the Roadster may arrive with well over 1,020 hp and 1,050 lb.-ft. It’s also expected to have a top speed north of 250 mph, and a dedicated platform with all-wheel drive.
Musk has indicated that the new Tesla Roadster will be ready for the market in 2023.
Tesla $25,000 car
The first-ever mention of the USD 25,000 Tesla car was made at the company’s Annual Shareholder Meeting and Battery Day on September 22, 2020. Due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, most attendees were invited for a virtual meeting, with a select few gathering at Tesla’s Fremont facility in California.
Elon Musk admitted that Tesla wasn’t working on a USD 25,000 car when asked by investors at the company’s 2021 annual shareholder meeting. In the meeting, which was uploaded to YouTube on January 27, 2022, Musk mentioned that the brand didn’t have the bandwidth to accommodate an all-new product at the time. However, he said that Tesla would eventually shift focus back onto the project at some point.
On November 3, 2022, the Detroit Bureau reported that the future entry-level EV is back in development months after Musk indicated it had been put on hold. However, the article does not reveal any details about when the project will be completed.
Unofficially known as either the ‘Model C’ or ‘Model Q’, Tesla’s long-term strategy is likely to include more than one model below the 3. To keep costs low, Tesla could move away from traditional Lithium-ion batteries to Lithium Iron Phosphate cells, which are already used on the Model 3.
The $25,000 Tesla car is expected to hit the U.S. market around 2025. Tesla plans to make its most affordable EV at a new Gigafactory in Mexico.
Elon Musk announced the plan for the Robotaxi at the Tesla Autonomy Day on April 22, 2019. In the event that was held at the brand’s former headquarters in Palo Alto, California, Musk claimed the Robotaxi would cost “a couple of hundred thousand dollars”.
In the 2021 annual shareholder meeting mentioned earlier, Musk told investors that the company is expecting autonomous driving technology to become its major source of profitability. According to Tesla’s CEO, robotaxis would be a financially sound plan for the company and all its shareholders. In the Q1 2022 shareholder meeting, which was uploaded on YouTube on April 21, 2022, Musk said the company hopes to start production of the Tesla Robotaxi in 2024.
While he didn’t divulge specifics regarding robotaxis, in the podcast with Ryan McCaffrey, Franz von Holzhausen said that Tesla is aware of how customers presently utilize ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. He also told the podcast that the company realizes what customers of such services expect. One of the prime benefits von Holzhausen cited was that of customers being able to focus on tasks unrelated to driving.
Tesla’s Chief Designer also pointed out the relative lack of comfort in the rear seats of these cars, which he believes can be improved. It’s possible that von Holzhausen is likely hinting at what the Tesla Robotaxi would offer in the future in terms of features, space, and comfort.
The Tesla Robotaxi is expected to release date mid-decade.
Elon Musk’s tweet on July 7, 2022, had the CEO hinting at the possibility of a Tesla Minivan in people-carrier and cargo-hauling configurations. When the ‘Tesla Owners Silicon Valley’ handle asked Musk if such a model was indeed likely, Musk replied with a simple wink emoji. Musk also tweeted regarding the electric van’s likelihood of featuring a roof with extendable solar panels, with another tweet stating that the panels could be large enough to offer shade for those under it.
Tesla could equip the electric minivan with its autonomous driving tech and have an interior roomy enough to allow occupants and their luggage to co-exist in harmony. Meanwhile, commercial operators may find the fully-electric van that could, most likely, be charged rapidly using Tesla’s extensive Supercharger network quite handy in their day-to-day operations.
There is no official update on the Minivan, but we expect it to be available in the U.S. market by 2027.
Featured image: Tesla