Even as it moves forward on the development of its first mainstream product, the Model 3 sedan, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk says the battery-carmaker will lift the covers on an all-new product on Oct. 17.
Musk, a savvy user of social media, suggested in a Monday morning tweet that the new battery-electric vehicle will be “unexpected by most,” but offered no other clues as to what is in store.
In recent months, Musk has dropped a variety of hints, along with broader indications, as to what he would like to see in the Tesla line-up in the years ahead. That includes a crossover-utility vehicle to complement the downsized Model 3, and even a battery-electric pickup. The Tesla founder has already confirmed that an all-new version of Tesla’s original product line, the Roadster, is in the works.
In the Monday tweet, Musk also repeated an earlier advisory that Tesla will have another major announcement to make on Oct. 28. That one will focus on Solar City, the solar panel company that Tesla recently said it will acquire.
(Fisker launching all-new battery-car company. Click Herefor the story.)
The South African-born executive said that the end-of-month even will involve joint products from both Solar City and Tesla. Among the products expected to be revealed at that time:
- A new solar roof concept that would apparently replace conventional building materials with solar panels, rather than requiring the installation of solar cells on top of a regular roof;
- An updated version of the Tesla Powerwall battery backup system; and
- An updated Tesla EV charger.
In a separate tweet, Musk wrote that he “would also like to correct expectations” that Tesla is running short of cash and will need to raise new equity or increase its corporate debt before the end of the year. There have been numerous reports suggesting Tesla would need to repeat a stock offering from earlier this year to shore up its cash coffers.
Despite its vaunted stock price, the automaker has been burning through cash at a prodigious rate, largely due to the Model 3 project. But the Solar City acquisition has also been seen as a drain. It hasn’t helped that Models S and X deliveries have been slower than expected this year, driving up Tesla’s losses.
(Tesla deliveries surge during third quarter. Click Here for the latest.)
But despite such issues, new sources of cash, Musk tweeted, “won’t be necessary.”
Whether the new product announcement is actually an entirely new model or an “unexpected” update of an existing product remains to be seen. Tesla has come under fire for problems with its semi-autonomous Autopilot technology – linked to one death in the U.S. and a possible fatality in China, as well. Musk recently said an update for Autopilot is coming. He also has indicated Tesla’s work on a fully autonomous system is progressing rapidly.
Tesla would appear to be under pressure to expand its model lineup, however. A number of other manufacturers – both start-ups like Faraday Future and conventional carmakers like General Motors, Volkswagen and Daimler AG – are entering the battery-electric market and directly targeting Tesla.
In fact, Daimler Chairman and CEO Dieter Zetsche declared, during a Paris Motor Show news conference, that the Mercedes-Benz brand’s new EQ sub-brand will overtake Tesla in terms of high-end EV sales during the next decade.
(For more on the mysterious Faraday Future, Click Here.)
GM is targeting the Model 3 with the Chevrolet Bolt it will launch this year, and it says the new model will have longer range at a lower cost. VW, meanwhile, unveiled a concept version of its own Model 3 fighter in Paris and plans to have 30 electric models out within a decade.
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