The first official mention of a $25,000 Tesla came last year at the company’s Battery Day event. Without providing specs for the car, Musk said it would be “compelling”, fully autonomous, but won’t arrive for another three years.
Since that announcement, the ‘Model Next’ (or sometimes referred to as Model 2) has reappeared several times, most often in China. Last year Tesla announced plans to build a research and development (R&D) center in China that will help develop designs for future vehicles.
Construction of the R&D center began earlier this year, and Tesla began hiring for it soon thereafter. Rumours then began circulating the R&D center had finished the design and that we may even see a prototype later this year.
That timeline might be a little optimistic, but not by far.
At a meeting yesterday with Tesla employees, Elon Musk said the Model Next has a targeted delivery date of some time in 2023. He added that it might even come without a steering wheel and pedals as he hopes full autonomy will be achieved by that date.
• Elon said Tesla is considering Model 2 not having steering wheel and pedals and just roll the dice on FSD
— Sawyer Merritt 📈🚀 (@SawyerMerritt) September 3, 2021
While the idea of a car without a steering wheel and pedal might seem like something out of science fiction, it may not be closer than we think. The company is planning to release the next version of its Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta software known as V10 next week, and the mythical “button” to all Tesla owners in the US two weeks later. Musk also said during the meeting this version “is quite profound, a revelation, is the future.”
Other information revealed by Musk during the meeting yesterday is that the Cybertruck won’t begin production until late 2022, and that the Supercharger network will open to other automakers in Europe first.