Could this move be the mistake that kills Tesla?
Citing the words out of Elon Musk’s own mouth during a first quarter earnings call for Tesla, Business Insider has come into some slightly disturbing information for anyone with so much as a mild interest in seeing the South African-American entrepreneur succeed. For months, Musk teased a small Model Y crossover, the natural progression after the entry-level Model 3 sedan in a market that’s lusting for more SUVs, but that may now be delayed due to a questionable business decision.
It was assumed that the Model Y would be built on the same platform as the Model 3 for the obvious cost-saving benefits, but Musk clarified to say that it won’t be so. Much of Tesla's hype banks on its unconventional way of disrupting the auto industry, but some of the longstanding traditions are in place simply because they make the most sense. Platform sharing is one such industry habit and would have allowed Tesla to debut a Model Y crossover soon after the Model 3 was out, but spending the time to design a new platform and tool a production facility to build it could mean the Model Y comes out a bit too late for Tesla, allowing competitors to cash in on the EV craze.
The only semi-sensical reason for this decision could have something to do with the other announcement Musk made during the conference call, as told by The Verge. That would be the fact that Musk wants the next generation of his vehicles vehicles to shed the 12-volt architecture that complicates the wiring process of current Teslas. Musk could be redesigning the Model Y platform in order to accommodate these changes. Another theory, as noted by Jalopnik, is that Musk could be building a universal truck and SUV platform for the Tesla pickup truck Musk has continually mentioned. Once that platform is up, Tesla could use it to underpin both the Model Y and the pickup.
It may be a far-fetched idea and there’s no doubt that unless Tesla can pull off a miracle, pushing the Model Y this far back and failing to cut costs by consolidating platforms could be a fatal move for a company running on such a thin margin of error. Still, it's worth noting that Musk mentioned that the Model Y could be making production as early as 2019, but as with the rest of Musk’s crazy ideas, we’ll have to hold our breaths to see how things shape up.