Tesla needs a more affordable model, an executive said at a recent invite-only investor conference. But it’s unclear if that will be in the form of the much-discussed $25,000 Tesla or something different.
Martin Viecha, the automaker’s head of investor relations, spoke at the invite-only Goldman Sachs tech conference in San Francisco Monday, walking attendees through Tesla’s plans for the next five years, Business Insider reported.
Among the topics reportedly discussed in the wide-ranging talk was a cheaper Tesla. Viecha said Tesla does want to put a more affordable model on the road, adding that this is necessary for Tesla to become a high-volume automaker.
Business Insider also reported Viecha saying that Tesla also needs a cheaper EV before launching its robotaxi service, although he seemed to clarify on Twitter that the cheaper offering before the robotaxi might just be a lower-priced version of Model 3 or Y, not the $25,000 EV sometimes referred to as the Model 2.
“Never said anything about ‘prior to’ 2024 robotaxi platform rollout,” Viecha tweeted in reference to a cheaper EV. Demand for the Model 3 and Model Y—currently Tesla’s least-expensive models, but not exactly affordable—is still high, Viecha reportedly said at the conference, reducing the need for a new model.
The executive also reportedly discussed falling manufacturing costs that would be an important factor in lowering EV prices for consumers. Tesla’s manufacturing costs fell from $84,000 per car in 2017 to $36,000 in recent quarters, Viecha said, adding that the automaker expects even lower costs from its new factories compared to its original Fremont, California, plant. And he previously was reported to have said that Tesla has all the batteries it needs right now.
While that’s encouraging, the $25,000 Tesla already appears to have been put on the back burner.
Originally, at Tesla’s 2020 Battery Day, CEO Elon Musk said that its battery plan would help enable a $25,000 affordable EV due around 2023. That was followed by news through official Tesla channels that the company was working on that model, with intended design and development, in China.
Then in January Musk said that Tesla was not working on the $25,000 EV—and that its robotaxi project was more important. That’s something CEO Musk has returned to for years, and it’s largely dependent on its reception of Tesla’s so-called Full Self-Driving driver-assist tech by regulators.
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