First of all, if you are Tesla obsessed, I think you’ll immediately recognize that the image below is not brand new. It is a screenshot of an Australian 60 Minutes segment on Tesla that was recorded about 2½ months ago. I’m not sure who circled the car under wraps in that screenshot, but I searched for this image on Google and this is what I found. Incidentally, the car circled in red is precisely the car I want to focus on.
As I shared the other day, Elon recently dropped several nuggets of Tesla intel on us while going on a bit of a tweetstorm. One of the most interesting tweets — actually, the most interesting one, in my opinion — has since been deleted. In it, Elon stated, “there will be a Model 3 and a Model Y. One of the two will.” That was in response to a tweet from AwesomelyOZ that said, “Not gonna lie, I’d sell my soul to
@elonmusk for one. Please tell me the Model III crossover will have these doors!”
— AwesomelyOZ (@AwesomelyOZ) October 2, 2015
Before that tweet, we didn’t really know anything about a Tesla Model Y, except that Tesla originally trademarked the name so that its product lineup would eventually read: S-E-X-Y.
However, Elon had stated that the next-gen, more-affordable Tesla would come in two shapes: as a sedan ~20% shorter than the Model S and as a crossover. Presumably, the Model Y would be that crossover. This is the same as how the Model X is basically the crossover/SUV version of the Model S.
Getting back to that image at the top, there are two cars under wraps. They both look smaller than the Model S and Model X. One seems to have some kind of strange door opening (falcon-wing door?) on one side. You getting the picture?…
Tim Urban of Wait But Why was not long ago invited to visit Tesla headquarters and interview Elon Musk in order to tell the Tesla and SpaceX story to more people. In one of his (super long) articles about the visit, he wrote, “Von Holzhausen¹ showed me a full-size clay car that was simultaneously testing two different possible designs for the upcoming Model 3 by making the two halves of the model different.” Things are looking pretty clear at this point, are they not?
It seems pretty likely to me that the image at the top of this article is either that half-and-half model or at least a full model of one of those options. Whether it’s a clay model with wheels stuck on it or an actual model or prototype made of metal and plastic, who knows? Whatever it is, though, it seems like it is an early version of the Model 3 or the Model Y. I lean towards thinking it’s an early version of the Model Y for a few reasons:
- The Model 3 is supposed to be quite a simplistic design, according to Elon, to ensure that they don’t run into trouble ramping up production on a car that is supposed to sell at volumes approximately 10 times larger than the Model S. (Surely, conventional doors are simpler and a more cautious/sensible choice for the Model 3, right?)
- If the Model Y is to the Model 3 what the Model X is to the Model S, it seems that the Model Y would be the crossover getting falcon-wing doors, no?
- The front of that hidden car circled in the pic at the top seems to have a nose very similar to the nose of the Model X, while the other covered car in the pic seems to have a nose more similar to the Model S. (Granted, I think this is the least important clue of all of these, but it may be relevant.)
I think that’s all the sleuthing I’ve got in me on this one. Your thoughts?
Oh yeah, and now I wonder why Elon deleted that Model Y tweet….
¹Franz von Holzhausen is in charge of design at Tesla Motors.