Musk says Tesla likely to produce Model Y in existing Calif. plant


Elon Musk said that Tesla Inc.’s current “default plan” is to produce the Model Y crossover at its sole auto plant in Fremont, Calif.

The electric automaker makes the Model S, Model X and Model 3 in Fremont, but produces battery packs and drive units at its gigafactory near Reno, Nevada. It has been weighing the pros and cons of each location, including space constraints and labor costs due to the Bay Area’s high cost of living.

Musk made the remarks during “Ride the Lightning,” an hour-long podcast hosted by Model 3 owner Ryan McCaffrey. The company’s website says that Model Y production is expected to begin in late 2020 for North America, and in early 2021 for Europe and China.

“Right now our default plan actually is to produce the Y at Fremont,” Musk said. “I was skeptical about whether this made sense at first but my team convinced me the fastest way to get to volume production is to do the Y at Fremont.”

Musk first unveiled the Model Y crossover at an event in March that lacked the high-powered wattage of previous reveals. American consumers are increasingly ditching sedans for crossovers and SUVs, and the Model Y will be made on the same platform as the Model 3.

“I intentionally didn’t go all out with the Model Y reveal because I didn’t want to convince people to buy a Y instead of a 3,” said Musk. “If everyone just decided to buy a Y instead of a 3 there would be no customers and there wouldn’t be a Y.”

The podcast was recorded on the evening of May 29 at the company’s headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif. The hour-long episode touched on Tesla’s design history and decisions, the auto industry’s progress on electrification, the push toward full autonomy, and various features on Tesla’s cars from the panoramic windshield to software updates.

Musk also spoke on the forthcoming electric pickup.

“It won’t look like a normal truck. It’s going to be pretty sci-fi,” said Musk. “It’s going to be a truck that is more capable than other trucks. It will be a better truck than an equivalent F-150 in terms of truck-like functionality. That’s the aspiration.”

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