Tesla plans to launch a hatchback based on Model 3August 25, 2020
The new manufacturing process could allow for a cheaper Model 3 compared to 2021.
According to the head of the American company, Elon Musk, Tesla plans to continue its global drive to increase sales and lure customers away from “old” automakers with a more affordable compact hatchback model.
It is believed that the new car, focused primarily on Europe, will be a restyled and adapted version of the existing Tesla Model 3 and the hatchback can be produced next to the sedan at the new plant of the American firm near Berlin, Germany.
Speaking to investors and analysts at a recent conference call, Musk stressed that “we will not succeed in our mission unless we make cars available,” adding, “My biggest concern is where we are now. Our cars are not readily available. We need to fix this. “
Without disclosing details to make future Tesla product launches as unexpected as possible, Musk confirmed that “it would be reasonable to assume that we will create some kind of compact car and probably some kind of larger vehicle.”
While this is likely to be a long way off – given that Tesla still has to start producing its semi-trucks, Roadster supercars, and Cybertruck pickup – a more affordable model than the Model 3 will be critical to ensure that the brand can compete on real terms. with new hatchbacks Volkswagen ID 3 and Peugeot e-208.
The former will eventually start at around £ 27,500 for an entry-level 45 kWh model, while the cheapest Model 3 available in the UK today costs £ 43,490.
The German Tesla plant, which is due to be completed and shut down in July 2021, is believed to be the catalyst for a cheaper and smaller model thanks to what Musk describes as a “revolution in automotive bodybuilding”: a giant aluminum body.
This machine is considered the first in the mass-production industry, and Tesla applied for a design patent last year. The novelty greatly simplifies the process of assembling a one-piece frame, which is traditionally done by folding, welding and gluing several panels and parts.
Musk argued that this process, which is already being used at Tesla’s California plant to create the Model Y SUV, reduces the number of individual car frame parts from 70 to just two, making it cheaper and much easier to manufacture.
While this would be an important factor in bringing down assembly costs to the required level for competitor ID 3, it is likely that Tesla will also have to reduce the performance and range of the Model 3 hatchback drivetrain.
Since the slowest Model 3 still sprints from 0 to 100 km / h in just 5.3 seconds, there is plenty of room for performance degradation to beat the hatchback rivals. But it remains to be seen if the smaller model also gets a reduction in battery capacity compared to the 50 kWh battery of the base Model 3, which is capable of traveling 409 km on a single WLTP cycle. Given that the battery represents up to three quarters of the cost of a new electric vehicle, a decline is likely.
Another question concerns naming. Musk previously hinted that he wants to move away from the current S3XY naming convention for Tesla models, but the new direction is unclear. A natural continuation would be the Model 2 compact hatchback to mark its position below the Model 3 in Tesla’s lineup.
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