Tesla in 2021: What’s Next?

Sometimes it can be confusing to work out exactly what’s going on with Tesla’s lineup. To me, it feels as though they’ve announced a lot of new and exciting vehicles, however we haven’t really seen any of those vehicles roll off the production line yet. Let’s explore why this is, as well as when we can expect new new vehicles to start rolling off the production line.

Tesla: The Current Lineup

Tesla’s current lineup consists of four cars, each of which serves a different market. The four vehicles currently in production are as follows:

Model S: As Tesla’s first mass production car ever to be produced, the Model S serves the luxury sedan market in the US. With sales of approximately 30,000 in 2020, the Model S is not quite the big seller that it used to be, making up only 6% of 2020 deliveries. Over the past few years, the Model S has seen little attention, whilst seeing its cheaper and younger brother, the Model 3, receive updates such as 250kW charging speeds. This, however, has changed with the 2021 refresh of the Model S, which may result in an increase in sales.

Model X: The Model X follows much the same story as the Model S. Starting at $100,000, the Model X sits well into the luxury SUV category. Its complex features and technological quirks make it difficult to produce compared to the slightly smaller and cheaper Model X. It too has received a refresh along side the Model S.

Model 3: After taking its place as Tesla’s first ‘affordable’ mass market EV, the Model 3 continued to receive optimisations and improvements, aiding with manufacturing and reducing costs. Right now, Model 3 is Tesla’s most popular electric vehicle, making up around 70% of deliveries in 2020. However, Tesla expects their latest car, the Model Y, to be more popular than the Model 3 once production ramps up fully.

Model Y: As the newest car to Tesla’s lineup, the Model Y completed the range of cars spelling S3XY. Sharing around 70% of its parts with the Model 3, the Y has had a very successful rollout so far, going from announcement to first deliveries in exactly one year. Key features of the Model Y include a 10% increase in size, which leads to a spacious 67 cu ft of cargo capacity, and enough room for seven seats. In Q2 2021, it made up approximately 40% of total deliveries, sitting 40,000 deliveries short of the Model 3.

What has been announced?

Semi Truck: Announced in December 2017, the Semi is yet to make it to the production lines. This is, in part, due to the Semi’s extreme demand for batteries. Right now, Tesla is prioritising their existing lineup of vehicles, causing projects like the Semi to be delayed, and products like the Powerwall to be put on the back burner. In a statement on in the 2021 Q2 earnings report, Tesla announced the delay of the Semi to 2022:

“To better focus on these factories, and due to the limited availability of battery cells and global supply chain challenges, we have shifted the launch of the Semi truck program to 2022.”

Roadster: Nobody was expecting a refreshed version of Tesla’s first car, the Roadster, to roll off the Tesla Semi truck at the end of its launch event, which made for an extremely effective release. The Roadster is pitched at being the “hardcore smack-down” to gasoline powered vehicles, proving that an electric car can be better in every category that matters. Whilst there are differing opinions about this claim, it’s difficult to dispute how impressive the new Roadster will be if it’s anything close to the announced specs. With the Roadster expected to have a 620 mile range, complete 0-60mph in 1.9 seconds, and have a SpaceX options package which significantly decreases this 0-60 time using cold gas thrusters, the Roadster is sure to impress.

But when will it be released? After originally being set for a production date of 2019, the Roadster is now slated for production in 2022, along with the Semi truck that it was released alongside. However, this date has been pushed back many times, so don’t be surprised if this gets pushed back again.

“The point of doing this is to just give a hardcore smack-down to gasoline cars”

Cybertruck: That brings us to the Cybertruck, which was released at a dedicated event in November of 2019. Fairly obviously, the Cybertruck targets the pickup truck market, which is very strong in the US. However, there are concerns over the trucks safety on the road, such as the impact of a head on collision with another vehicle. With the Cybertruck’s body panels being so strong, would it be able to crumple in a crash? Despite these concerns, Tesla has a very good safety track record, with their cars leading their respective categories, so it’s likely they’ve given this problem plenty of thought.

Cybertruck is slated to be impressively cheap, starting at $39,900 for the single motor version, it competes almost directly with some of the most popular pickup trucks in the US market. According to the Cybertruck order page, the truck is expected to start production in 2022.

“Reason Cybertruck is so planar is that you can’t stamp ultra-hard 30X steel, because it breaks the stamping press”

Twitter, Elon Musk
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