Musk cites Model X design thinking “mistake” informing Model Y plan

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Tesla on track to deliver first production Model 3 next month

During a Tesla shareholder press conference on Tuesday, CEO Elon Musk talked a bit more about the company’s plans around the upcoming Model Y crossover/small SUV vehicle. The company “made a mistake in trying to derive the Model X from the Model Y platform,” Musk noted, since it’s clear now it should focus on designing “an SUV the way it’s meant to be designed.”

The Model X was like a “Faberge Egg,” Musk said at the meeting, in that it’s a very complex creation with far too many configuration options. He noted that the company got “too excited” about the vehicle, and should’ve versioned more of the options out instead of front-loading them all at launch. That informed the much more modest configuration options that will launch with the Model 3 initially.

There will also be a new plant for the Model Y. The existing Gigafactory will supply battery packs and drivetrain for Model Y, but there’s “just no room at Fremont, we are bursting at the seams,” Musk said. “We practically had a riot the other day for parking,” he added, due to contractors on site to help install equipment to build the Model 3.

The Model Y will use a new, different platform, as Musk noted at the beginning of May, which is a change from earlier reports it would be based on the Model 3 platform. Musk said that the company is instead focusing on manufacturing improvements that can decrease costs even when building a new, fit-for-purpose vehicle platform.

As he’s said previously, Musk noted that he’s aiming to get the Model Y on roads by 2019, and he said he also expects demand for the vehicle to exceed that of the Model 3. He also added that the company would be seeking to reduce the “force majeure” risk in its supply chain for Model Y production, which is a result of it being spread across almost the entire globe.

Telsa also teased a first, heavily obscured image of the Model Y design, which you can see above. Notably, it doesn’t seem to have any obvious rear-view mirrors – perhaps these are replaced by in-cockpit displays fed by cameras? Or it’s just a quirk of a very early mockup.