Elon Musk suggests that Tesla will make a “highly configurable Robovan” to transport both people and cargo. The comment comes after the CEO announced that Tesla will make a dedicated electric vehicle to work as a “robotaxi.”
Tesla hasn’t unveiled a new vehicle in a long time.
In a product roadmap update earlier this year, Musk said that Tesla’s focus in 2022 will be to ramp up production of Model Y and Model 3 at its existing factory, and the automaker doesn’t plan to unveil new vehicles or bring to production previously unveiled products that haven’t made it to market yet – like Cybertruck.
However, Musk promised “a massive wave of new Tesla products” coming in 2023. One of them is expected to be “a new futuristic-looking electric vehicle used as a ‘dedicated robotaxi.”
The CEO announced the new vehicle program at Tesla’s Cyber Rodeo event earlier this year, but not much is known about the new Tesla vehicle yet.
Today, Musk tweeted about Tesla possibly making “a highly configurable Robovan”:
It’s not clear if this would be the robotaxi, since he referenced that it would transport both people and cargo, or a separate vehicle program. Tesla making an electric van or a vehicle to transport a higher number of people is something that has been discussed many times. It was actually mentioned in Musk’s Tesla Master Plan Part 2, and it is still the only vehicle from that plan that has yet to be unveiled by the automaker.
Such a vehicle has also been rumored to be in the works by Tesla to use in The Boring Company’s Loop system, which utilizes Tesla vehicles to move people in tunnels underneath cities with the first application currently being deployed in Las Vegas.
Last year, Musk also said that a Tesla electric van is coming as soon as there are enough batteries available to make it in volume without negatively affecting the automaker’s other vehicle programs.
The company hasn’t offered a clear timing for when that would happen, but Tesla has been betting heavily on its new 4680 battery cell format. It is currently ramping up the production of those cells in Texas, and it is preparing to build them in Berlin.
Several cell suppliers are also investing in 4680 cell production to supply them with Tesla. Higher availability is expected in 2023, but the real high volume in the hundreds of gigawatt-hours might more likely arrive in 2024.
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