A Cheap New Tesla? The Electric Car Company Is Working on It, Says Elon Musk

If it materializes, Musk thinks it will outsell all other Teslas combined.

tesla musk

Update, 11/30/2022: Citing four sources who claim to have inside knowledge of the project, Reuters is claiming Tesla is working on an updated version of the Model 3. Reportedly known as "Project Highland," the goal is reportedly to cut costs related to the manufacturing of the EV by simplifying the car's interior, among other changes. Whether these adjustments will be passed along to consumers and thus make the Project Highland version of the Model 3 the more affordable "next generation vehicle" Elon Musk has alluded to remains to be seen.

Tesla has had major sales success with the Model 3 and the Model Y. The trouble is neither vehicle is affordable. Currently, the rear-wheel-drive Model 3, starting around $47,000, is the only Tesla available for less than $62,000. That, purportedly, may be about to change.

Elon Musk addressed several Musk-related matters during a Tesla Q3 earnings call. During the call, he noted that engineering work for the Cybertruck and Semi truck is complete and that Tesla would be working on a "next generation vehicle" that could be much more affordable.

Tesla would aim to reduce production costs by 50 percent for the new vehicle — and, one hopes, send on that savings to the consumer. Musk expressed his belief that such a vehicle would "exceed the production of all [Tesla] vehicles combined." That's a bold claim, considering the Model Y alone has a chance to outsell the Ford F-150 globally.

The next-generation affordable Tesla, if it materializes, may be some time off. Rumors have already had Tesla considering such a vehicle for years. The lack of specifics suggests the affordable Tesla may be closer to the conception phase than the execution. Musk is notorious for promising exciting new developments that don't materialize.

And even when Tesla does reveal a vehicle, that does not necessarily mean it's near production. We're approaching the third anniversary of Tesla unveiling the Cybertruck without any going into production. And $50,000 reservation holders have been waiting for their potentially rocket-powered second-generation roadsters since 2017.

Fortunately, if you're looking for a serviceable electric car with solid range, decent performance, access to advanced Level 2 self-driving tech and a starting price about half the cost of a Model 3, that's not a far-off chimera that only Tesla could build. You can buy that exact vehicle, the Chevy Bolt EUV, which starts at $27,200.


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