Don’t hold your breath waiting for Tesla’s rumored $25,000 electric car. “We are currently not working on the $25,000 car,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said during a call to report the automaker’s stellar fourth-quarter and full-year earnings. The reason: He has too much on his plate.
Hmmm. Well, he does have two new car plants, in Texas and Berlin, pumping out pre-production models and awaiting final certification to begin delivering salable vehicles to customers. And he said he will use this year to scout locations for even more plants and could announce decisions by the end of the year.
But Tesla won’t be introducing any new vehicles in 2022, Musk said. With parts shortages, adding new models would take away semiconductor chips and other key components from existing models that also need them. So, it’s not just the $25,000 car we won’t see this year, it’s everything on your wish list, including the Cybertruck, Semi, or a new Roadster. The company hasn’t rolled out an all-new nameplate since introducing the Model Y crossover in 2019.
Tesla will “likely” introduce new models in 2023, Musk told investors on the call.
The CEO did clarify that a battery shortage is not the reason for the much-delayed Cybertruck. The problem, it seems, is there is a lot of tech in the triangular truck and the company seems to think if it cannot be offered affordably, people won’t buy it. Perhaps Musk fears shoppers might opt for a Ford F-150 Lighting or Chevrolet Silverado EV in the $42,000 price range instead? And it will take time to achieve economies of scale to help bring prices down. Musk said he wants to eventually make 250,000 Cybertrucks a year but it will “take a moment” to get to that level. Setting aside the tech involved in bringing a new electric pickup into this world—that kind of volume is tough for any new pickup truck; the truck market is notoriously harsh to newcomers. Just ask the Nissan Titan, Honda Ridgeline, and Toyota Tundra, none of which trade in the vast numbers of the Big Three’s full-size trucks.
Tesla is also busy working on Optimus Subprime, a robot that will move parts around the factory floor, a seeming distraction from, well, the obvious lack of new product.
And there is this biggee: A self-driving car Elon says will be available this year. In fact, he will be shocked if it is not. And those who questioned any of his other product plans on the call were admonished for not understanding just how significant the self-driving capability is. Consider our wrists slapped. Also consider that this isn’t the first time Tesla has claimed it would bring out a self-driving car soon—a breakthrough that, while promised in 2019, hasn’t happened yet.