Elon Musk has announced that the Tesla Model Y electric compact SUV will ride on a different platform than the Model 3, allowing for higher manufacturing efficiency. While Musk hasn’t revealed a large amount of information on the Model Y, he told analysts during today’s Q1 earnings call that contrary to expectations, Model Y will ride on a completely different platform. Musk highlighted the reduced wiring in the Model Y will enable faster manufacturing and an overall less complex design. Tesla’s flagship Model S and Model X have approximately 3 km of wiring within the vehicle, while Tesla’s highly anticipated Model 3 will have roughly half of that at 1.5km of wiring. Model Y on the other hand will only have 100m of wiring, a 95% reduction over Model 3.
While wiring isn’t the only difference in the platform, Musk highlights it as a major example of the evolution. The wiring in the Model Y will have different voltage and will handle both power and data across the vehicle. The changes in the vehicle’s design will allow for much higher automation in the factory. Musk viewed the Model Y as a crucial piece to reach the 1 million vehicle production target.
“I mean, also to be clear like the priority vehicle development after the Model 3 would be the Model Y, I guess, the compact SUV, because that’s also a car that where we expect to see demand in the 500,000 to 1,000,000 unit per year level. So it’s the obvious priority after the Model 3.” – Musk from Q2 2016 Earnings Call
Tesla’s future compact SUV is expected to arrive in late 2019 or early 2020 after the company scales up production of the Model 3. While many perceive that Tesla often misses production deadlines, Musk reiterated that the Model X was really a showcase of Tesla’s technical abilities and proved to be very difficult to put into production. The Model Y will be built on a new platform that redesigns the vehicle’s architecture, as Musk stated that 12V electronics would be removed in favor of next-generation electronics. The serial tech entrepreneur explained that the 12V design “isn’t really right” for most electronics, leaving room for improvements.
It’s unclear how much time Tesla’s engineering team is putting into the Model Y currently, as focus remains on Model 3 production and first deliveries. Additionally, we expect Model Y’s new vehicle architecture will eventually debut in the next generation of Model S and Model X, along with the 2170 battery cells being used in Model 3.