More Affordable Tesla Model X, Model Y With Falcon Wing Doors Planned

Tesla Model X

Elon Musk is a master at dribbling out important information in a way that makes it seem like an afterthought. In the past day, he has sent 2 tweets that offer hints at the company’s future plans without providing many details, according to EV Obsession (via CleanTechnica).

Some people who plunked down money starting two years ago to reserve a Tesla Model X are disappointed that the opening bid for one is a rather startling $132,000. One Musk follower on Twitter asked if a less expensive version was coming and Musk has this to offer:

Some people have been so bold as to suggest the company is taking advantage of the near hysteria surrounding the launch of the Model X to build as many high-priced, high-content cars as possible before transitioning to more affordable versions that are less profitable.

The tweet also is ambiguous about the size of the battery in the lower-priced car. Musk says “something like a 70.”

Range anxiety doesn’t touch Teslas much, but for something that is heavier than a Model S and could also be carrying a lot more stuff — or even be towing up to 5,000 lbs — it could become an issue for some drivers. Might the entry-level (if any Tesla can be called “entry level”) Model X have a 75 or 80 kWh capacity for the same money as the 70 kWh “small” battery used today? The answer seems to be a definite “Maybe.”

Musk also tweeted to an Australian fan that a Model Y is expected to join the upcoming Model 3 — the supposedly “affordable” small car Tesla is working on for 2017 or so. One of these two models, he says, will have the iconic falcon-wing doors introduced on the Model X.

So the complete Tesla lineup will be Model S-3-X-Y. Now we know why Musk was upset when Ford would not let go of its trademark on “Model E.”

At a gathering to announce that companion company SolarCity will begin making a solar panel that is 22% efficient next year, Musk told the press that there had been a “big, a very big jump in orders” for the Tesla Model S since the Model X launch — although, part of that could be the result of some Model X reservation holders being disappointed at the high price of the car and the long wait for a more affordable model.

Finally, Musk tweeted out that Model X owners could in fact mount a cargo rack to the roof of a Model X.

Hmmm… riding along at 140 mph in a car that has one door that can’t be opened in the event of an emergency? Gotta give that one some thought.

For the “In Elon we trust” crowd, the future for Tesla is all sunshine and rose-colored glasses. Still, the company had been ominously quiet since it rolled out a total of 6 virtually hand-built Model X specials about when, exactly, production of that car will begin. Some pundits have speculated it may actually be March of next year before these cars start rolling off the line in significant numbers.

That would mean that next spring, shoppers would have a choice of two brand-new but oft-delayed cars — the Tesla Model X and the second-generation Chevy Volt. Meeting production targets is apparently so last century in the car business today.

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.