Elon Musk’s plans for 2019 might include a Tesla pickup truck prototype

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has floated the idea for an all-electric pickup truck numerous times in the past two years. Now, he’s back at it, this time with a teaser that Tesla might have a prototype to unveil in 2019.

Musk mentioned on Twitter the desire to produce a pickup truck way back in April 2017, before the first Model 3 sedans had been handed over to customers and the CEO had entered production hell. At the time, Musk tweeted that a pickup truck would be unveiled in 18 to 24 months. That timeline is in sync Musk’s latest tweet.

Musk brought up the pickup truck on Twitter again in June 2018, a move some described as a diversionary tactic as the company tried to hit an important production target for the Model 3.

Of course, it should be noted that a prototype isn’t the same as a production vehicle nor does it provide any clues as to when such a truck would make it into customers’ hands. A prototype would raise other questions too, specifically where Tesla would develop and assemble these trucks. Tesla’s Fremont, California plant, where the Model S, Model X and Model 3 are produced, doesn’t have the room to take on a fourth vehicle. The company is building out other facilities, but it’s unclear if there’s space for the kind of tooling and assembly lines needed for mass production.

The automaker would face competition from the gas-powered trucks of the world, which are among the best-selling vehicles in North America, as well as newcomer Rivian. Rivian, which unveiled an all-electric pickup and SUV at the LA Auto Show in November, is expected to start production of their pickup and SUV in 2020.