• Musk unveils sketch of electric crossover smaller than Model X

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    Elon Musk has already moved over the Tesla Model 3 that goes to production in July. At the investor’s call meeting last week, Musk teased Tesla’s next electric sport utility vehicle – the Model Y.

    Though the teaser tells nothing about the Model Y, Musk clarified that the mistakes Tesla made with the Model X will not be repeated.

    The Model Y won’t be based on the Model S, but on a completely new platform. “Tesla will get rid of the 12-volt battery architecture. It means no more lead-acid battery and a different way to power in-car electronics,” automotive news portal Electrek quoted Musk as saying last month.

    Model Y will be a younger sibling of Model X, just like what Model 3 is of Model S. Thus, this smaller SUV could even be a compact crossover like the Audi Q3, as Autocar predicts in its rendering.

    But only production and sales translate into success, not concepts and designs.

    Tesla recently neared $60 billion market valuation and became the fourth largest automaker on the planet, overtaking BMW. But it sold only 76,240 electrics globally in 2016, a fraction of Fiat Chrysler (2.24 million), Ford (2.50 million) and GM (3.04 million) sold in US alone.

    Though Tesla targets making 1 million units annually at its Gigafactories by 2020, the electric car company is yet to post profits.

    Musk is taking some unconventional risks with the production of the Model 3. He expects the new Model Y platform, which would be ready by late 2019 to 2020, will reduce overall wiring and simplify production.

    Tesla is also making “a heavy duty, long range, semi-truck” with “the highest weight capacity with long range,, as TrendinTech reported. The heavy duty electric truck will be powered by “a bunch” of Model 3 electric motors, Musk had said.

    But setting all these dreams aside, Musk’s over-dependence on the success of Model 3 is a big, big gamble not just on the future of Tesla but mass-market electric cars. All major automakers have taken the green-route ever since Musk walked the way, and Model 3 could just be the cornerstone for the path ahead.

    And who knows, with Model Y, Musk might just make electric motoring “S3XY.”

    HINDUSTAN TIMES, NEW DELHI/TNS

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