Tesla to delve into minibus and compact SUV markets

Published: 03 August 2016

► CEO confirms growing line-up on Twitter
► Minibus based on Model X, small SUV on Model 3
► Tesla carries out £1.95 billion takeover of SolarCity

Tesla, since the launch of its Roadster in 2008, has been busy producing desirable EVs to rival established conventional sports car, executive and SUV offerings. Its next foray, however, looks set to be into the minibus and compact SUV market.

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A Tesla... minibus?

CEO Elon Musk confirmed the curveball in a tweet that cited the forthcoming minibus’s inspiration as ‘the California Custom VW combi design art.’ Otherwise, its styling remains unknown, but Musk did state the Tesla minibus will be built on the current Model X platform

What’s this about a compact SUV?

Musk’s route into the highly lucrative compact SUV market will based on the Model 3. It will stick to Tesla’s naming convention, and be called the Tesla Model Y, but the minibus is set to be the renegade – with Musk tweeting that the MPV would be ‘inconsistent in our naming conventions.’

By using existing platforms, Tesla should be able to minimise any delays in bringing the new models to market. Don’t expect the new minivan to feature the Model X’s complex ‘Falcon Wing’ doors because of the platform sharing, however; it’s expect to instead adopt a more conventional minibus sliding door arrangement.

Whether or not it will be in the Model S and X’s league of being capable of pinning the kids to the back of their seats to stop any in-journey fighting is yet to be seen. Either way, it is set to be the most interesting development for the MPV market since Renault mated their Espace to a 1993 Formula One car.

Is there anything else in the works?

Like the archetypal Bond villain, Musk has a history of unveiling his masterful plan for world domination. In his recent ‘Master Plan, Part Deux’ announcement, he stated that: ‘In addition to consumer vehicles, there are two other types of electric vehicle needed: heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transports. Both are in the early stages of development at Tesla and should be ready for unveiling next year.’

Tesla also purchased the solar power systems company SolarCity, for £1.95 billion, this week. This move will allow Tesla to further develop sustainable energy solutions that will tie into its current Powerwall and Powerpack stationary storage systems.

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