Fans of Tesla have long speculated whether the company will ever release an affordable variant of its electric car or if it will only ever cater to the high-end segment of the market. A tweet by Elon Musk seems to confirm that a mini version of the Tesla car, which could turn out to be far cheaper than the current models, is in the works.
The Tesla mini car
The information about the new mini car was revealed during a Twitter conversation when Musk was asked about the possible launch of a Radio Flyer Model X. Radio Flyer is the company that produced the scaled-down version of the Tesla Model S as a toy for children. Tesla used to give them away as gifts under its referral program.
The questioner was asking when such a scaled-down version of the Model X would be available on the market. And instead of answering the question, Musk dropped a bomb by revealing that Tesla is working on a mini size version of its Tesla car that can accommodate a grown up. “We’re working on a new Tesla mini-car that can squeeze in an adult,” Musk tweeted in reply.
Musk’s tweet made a big splash online as this was the first time the possibility of a smaller Tesla model had been acknowledged by an official source. And people were excited for one simple reason — this could mean an affordable Tesla car for the masses.
The upcoming Tesla Model 3 has a reported price tag of US$35,000, which is well out of the reach of an average person. However, a mini version of the car that only aims to fit in a single person has the potential of cutting down the cost anywhere from 50 to 75 percent. And this would bring the proposed mini Tesla within the grasp of many new customers.
However, the mini version that Musk is talking about may well take several years to materialize. And right now, Tesla is rightly focused on fine-tuning its manufacturing capabilities and achieving a sustainable production capacity for its existing cars.
Production and delivery
Tesla struggled with achieving a consistent production target for the better part of the past year. Yet, the company has recently hit a milestone by producing 7,000 cars per week. While this is commendable considering that Tesla was barely outputting 1,000 cars per week last year, the fact of the matter is that the 7,000-car production target may not be sustainable.
A lot of employees had to work overtime and production had to be carried out at a breakneck speed during the week for Tesla to hit the magical figure of 7,000 cars. This is why experts are skeptical of the company continuing with the production level.
Tesla also has another headache to deal with — logistics. Apparently, even though the company achieved production targets for its Model S, deliveries were becoming a big problem. Cars reportedly remained in transit for a very long period of time so that the company has been unable to deliver the vehicles to customers as fast as they would have liked.
To resolve the issue, Tesla is said to be working on a factory-to-customer delivery system that would help the company speed up local deliveries. And until such production issues are streamlined and smoothed out, talk of a mini version of the Tesla car will likely remain just that.