Elon Musk has told Tesla employees that the automaker is aiming to release its previously announced $25,000 electric car in 2023. The CEO hinted that it might not even be equipped with a steering wheel.
At Tesla Battery Day last year, CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla will be making a $25,000 electric car.
The CEO commented in the announcement:
Tesla will make a compelling $25,000 electric vehicle that is also fully autonomous.
He made it clear that this new price point is achieved through Tesla’s new battery cell and battery manufacturing effort, which could reduce battery costs by over 50%.
The $25,000 Tesla electric car, which is often referred to as the “Tesla Model 2,” has been likened to a new electric hatchback that Tesla has been planning to produce at Gigafactory Shanghai in China and export globally.
Tesla started taking design submissions for its Chinese-made small electric car last summer and started hiring for the program shortly afterward.
At the time, the automaker also released this early design drawing of a small electric hatchback. It led many to think that it was the design direction and form factor that Tesla is going for in the upcoming electric vehicle:
We recently reported on some media reports coming out of China that claimed the production of the Model 2 could start imminently.
However, we did warn that this isn’t likely to happen.
Now Elon Musk has confirmed a better idea of the planned timing to release the new cheaper Tesla vehicle in a company-wide meeting held last night.
Sources who were at the meeting told Electrek that the CEO said Tesla was aiming to start production of the new $25,000 electric car in 2023.
In his comments, Musk linked the release of the new Model 2 (not an official name) to Tesla achieving a deployable full self-driving system and even asked Tesla employees:
“Do we want to have this car come with a steering wheel and pedals?”
He made it sound likely that the new Tesla vehicle will not even be equipped with a steering wheel.
Back in 2019, Tesla unveiled an image of a vehicle without a steering wheel and pedals and said the goal was to release such a vehicle within two years:
In the meeting, the CEO said that Tesla is betting on full autonomy for the new $25,000 electric car.
Tesla is currently trying to release its Full Self-Driving Beta software to its wider fleet in the US by the end of the month.
Once the software, which still requires driver attention, is out, Tesla will improve it using data from the fleet and try to make it several times safer than human drivers in order to achieve regulatory approval to use it as a true full self-driving system.
The progress made on that front will dictate whether or not the new Tesla vehicle will come with a steering wheel or not.