Tesla Model 2 Prototype Spied For The First Time

Electric Vehicles / 18 Comments

If it is a Tesla, then why does it look like a Mazda CX-30?

New spy shots from China indicate Tesla is developing a compact vehicle that will sit below the Model 3.

If it looks familiar, that would be because this particular prototype seems to share some bodywork with the Mazda CX-30 crossover. The only differences we can spot are the Tesla head- and taillights and the Tesla wheels and brakes. First published by Autospy, these images could point to the entry-level vehicle the automaker has been toying with for years.

While Musk made it clear last year that Tesla is not prioritizing an affordable electric vehicle, he later announced that the company was developing a smaller next-generation car that would cost half what a Model 3 costs. "It will be smaller, to be clear."

The fact that the vehicle is covered in a zebra skin camouflage only adds to the idea that this is a prototype.


But this still doesn't explain the obvious use of a Mazda body. Well, it's entirely possible that the CX-30 is a similar size to the upcoming compact Tesla, and allowed the American automaker to get a feel for what the vehicle would look like. There's a chance the CX-30's platform also accommodated the necessary hardware required for a test car, potentially saving on costs for a custom development mule.

We would be very surprised if Tesla tapped Mazda for the CX-30 shell, but then again, anything is possible. Perhaps this is the only way Musk's automaker can keep costs down and deliver a $25,000 electric car. After all, the CX-30 is already sold as an electric vehicle in China, but Mazda had to alter the exterior significantly to accommodate the batteries - we don't see those changes here.


Then again, it's entirely plausible that an eccentric Mazda CX-30 owner has paid someone to convert their Japanese crossover into something that resembles a Tesla. It's more likely that this is a test mule for the upcoming entry-level vehicle, which Musk said will produce more volume than "all of Tesla's other vehicles combined."

As for when this mystery Tesla arrives, we're not sure. It will certainly appeal to a large audience for whom a Tesla was once out of reach. However, it will face many challenges, one being the upcoming Volkswagen compact electric vehicle that is rumored to use the Golf name.

Still, it's just the thing the American automotive market needs, and will undoubtedly play a big role in getting people to adopt EVs in the near future. Now, let's just hope it isn't faced with the same delays the Cybertruck had to contend with.


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