And Americans won't be allowed to drive it.
Love him or hate him, Elon Musk deserves credit as a pioneer of battery electric vehicles. His wild claims may have often proven farcical, his timelines more than a little erratic, and Tesla's build quality definitely suspect at times, but Tesla has thrust the EV into the mainstream unlike any other brand in the world. Still, the biggest problem facing global EV adoption is price. Running costs may be low, but purchase prices aren't, which is why Tesla is working towards a $25k model that will make EVs more accessible to the masses than its current cheapest offering - the Model 3.
Originally rumored to be called the Tesla Model 2, new details have emerged suggesting this will not be the case, as the Model 3 designation was only used to troll Ford after it refused to relinquish the Model E designation Elon originally wanted. More importantly, new reports suggest that the $25k Tesla could be the first product from the company to go fully autonomous.
In a series of tweets, Tesla investor and reporter Sawyer Merritt alleges to have inside information from a meeting held by Musk in the last day. While discussing the Gigafactories in Berlin and Texas didn't yield much important information, Musk allegedly touched on the $25k model. Tesla is apparently considering not including a steering wheel and pedals at all, meaning it could roll the dice on full self-driving cars. This comes after Musk made claims that FSD V10 is "quite profound, a revelation, the future," and that it will commence a rollout soon: "V10 next week and 'button request' 2 weeks after that."
On the topic of the new car's name, Musk reportedly talks about the numerical designation for the Model 3, citing that the company "Only did Model 3 cause Ford had model E trademark so we just did model 3 to troll them (sic)."
Musk also touched on the Cybertruck, confirming that production has been delayed until late 2022 and that volume production will commence in 2023. He also hinted at a new vehicle he referred to as the "Robo Van", an EV to help people with disabilities. There's no word yet on whether this might be a vehicle with hand controls or whether, like the $25k model, it will be fully autonomous. However, it isn't the first we've heard of a Tesla minivan.
We know better than to take tweets from Musk (or about him) without a handful of salt as his claims have been notoriously optimistic in the past. Still, the news on the new $25k Tesla is worth paying attention to. The new model is being designed and developed primarily in China and has allegedly reached the prototype phase already. Whether or not these are testing without driver controls remains a mystery.