Last year, CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla will start preparing for the 2020 mass market SUV production. He expects the work to begin sometime this year, and he predicted that Model Y will be Tesla's best-selling vehicle.
"The demand for model Y will be perhaps 50% higher than model 3, may be even double," Musk told investors at a conference call last week.
If the characters are correct, model Y will have a chance to become the best-selling SUV in the United States, a title currently held by Toyota Rav 4.
One of the reasons why electric vehicles have not taken off is because most of them have been available only in sedan models, said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst for AutoTrader. Electric vehicles still represent just over 1
"It hasn't really been a body style that people buy," she said. "The only one out there is now Model X. But that won't be the case for too long."
Musk said that the vehicle, with its characteristic falcon back doors and high windshield, proved difficult to do.
"It's an incredible vehicle," he said about model X. "Probably nothing like it will be done again, and maybe it shouldn't."
Musk has a story of convincing and subcontracting on vehicle production. Problems plagued their Model 3 sedan, the company's first mass market effort. It spent much of 2018 and tried to make Model 3 production work.
Model Y will be built on the same platform as Model 3 and share more than 75% of parts. It would keep the costs and time to start production, says Musk.
But there may still be quite a long wait for model Y.
Given the competition, it will probably be face to face with other car manufacturers, slow delivery may be a problem for Tesla.
There is not much capacity to save for model Y at that factory.
But it will also require the construction of a brand new assembly line, whether under another tent or inside another building. Most car manufacturers built by other car manufacturers take years from groundbreaking to production, even though Tesla showed that it could move faster than that with its model 3 tent line.