If this is true, we'll see it very soon.
For quite some time now, Tesla has teased us with a smaller, more affordable alternative to the Model 3. Company CEO Elon Musk has promised that the car would cost just $25,000 and could even arrive this year. Plans for the car include Chinese manufacture and sale, but it is also expected to be sold in other markets across the globe, including the US. However, past promises from the company have either been delayed in their arrival or never see the light of day, so we haven't been all that optimistic about seeing the budget EV this year. The rumor mill has been churning frantically though, and it says that things could be on track, with a prototype said to be already completed.
The rumor comes from a noted segment leaker who has provided valuable and accurate information in the past, so this news could be true. If it is, and a prototype model is already undergoing testing, then it's also quite possible that the car will enter its trial production phase before the end of the year. Of course, it's worth keeping in mind that this is not official communication and could still turn out to be inaccurate, but according to reports from earlier in the year, the new $25k Tesla had already started undergoing environmental impact assessments, so the timing of this rumor suggests that the news of a completed prototype is true.
Those earlier reports on assessments also said that the first batch of this new EV, which may or may not be called the Model 2, would probably start testing in the latter half of this year. Still, Tesla remains highly secretive and rarely offers up information on vehicles before they're released, so we'll have to wait a while yet to learn when the compact EV will be ready for mass production and what kind of performance and range characteristics it will have. The big takeaway remains that the affordable Tesla car seems to be on track, and if it is, it'll beat Volkswagen's budget-friendly EV to market by a good few years.