Production unlikely to begin sooner than 2018.
Last month, Elon Musk revealed the very ambitious “Master Plan, Part Deux” which among other things included preliminary details about a “high passenger-density urban transport” vehicle and a semi-truck due to be revealed in 2017. In a conference call with analysts a few hours ago, Tesla’s CEO shared more info about the two new models, mentioning these will be revealed in the next six to nine months.
Most likely he was referring to early prototypes (just like the Model 3 is at this stage) not production models because Musk went on to specify the minibus and semi-truck “should enter production within low single digit years. I consider anything past 5 years as infinity.”
The Model 3 will remain top priority at Tesla and many of the company’s efforts are being channeled to get the affordable electric sedan ready for mass production. Once Model 3 preparations will be taken care of, Musk said focus will shift to the compact SUV set to be called “Model Y.”
Seeing as how the Model 3 and Model Y rank high on Tesla’s agenda right now, it means the semi-truck and minibus probably won’t arrive until 2018 or so. For the moment, we only know the minibus will use the Model X’s chassis and will be inspired by the “California Custom VW combi design art,” so it will likely be positioned as a rival to VW’s production-ready Budd-e slated to go on sale around the end of the decade.
As for the semi-truck, former Model S Program Director, Jerome Guillen, is leading the project. He used to work as an engineer at Daimler’s truck division and was in charge of the team developing the Freightliner Cascadia truck, so suffice it to say he has enough expertise to manage Tesla’s ambitious plan.
Source: Tesla via theverge.com