New evidence suggests Tesla is developing a 12-passenger electric van.
Just recently, we reported on work allegedly being done at GM to develop a new, pure-electric van for commercial use, in an attempt to take up share in a market that Tesla, somehow, has yet to touch.
But now, new evidence suggests that the California-based EV manufacturer could in fact be working on a similar vehicle: a 12-passenger electric van that could just as easily spawn a spacious, low-maintenance cargo variant. Tesla appears to be building the van for use by one of CEO Elon Musk's other business ventures, The Boring Company, which was formed to make drivable tunnels and underground rail more economical in order to help ease urban traffic congestion.
In other words, Tesla's electric passenger van could one day transport commuters through Los Angeles on underground roadways carved by The Boring Company. Presumably, they'll all then board SpaceX spacecraft and be launched to Mars. The future be weird like that.
The reason we know about the van project is a proposal that The Boring Company has submitted to the San Bernardino County transportation agency, regarding a high-speed tunnel. Where the project originally called for special variants of existing designs, like the Tesla Model S, San Bernardino County Supervisor Curt Hagman told The Mercury News recently that The Boring Company is now working with Tesla to develop electric vans for the project, with seating for up to twelve and their luggage.
Using such a vehicle, the "Loop" could reach a potential transportation capacity of some ten million people per year, Hagman says.
What's not yet known is whether the van would be reserved exclusively for use by The Boring Company. It's certainly possible; the project aims to transport people autonomously at high speed using underground tunnels, so it's a markedly different use case than, say, driving the speed limit on city streets.
But we tend to think Tesla likely does have a road-legal commercial vehicle in the works - other than the Tesla Semi - for sale to enterprise customers, and this report all but proves they'll soon have a chassis for it.