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Why Ask Y? Musk Teases Optimistic Reveal Date for Model Y

Why Ask Y? Musk Teases Optimistic Reveal Date for Model Y

Elon Musk dropped a few more crumbs at Tesla's annual shareholders meeting that might lead to a Model Y SUV in the coming years, adding a shadowy teaser rendering that shows a little more than the teaser released a year ago and reiterating that an unveiling is expected in March 2019.

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In wide-ranging remarks, he also reiterated that Tesla is focused on ramping up production of the new Model 3 compact sedan, saying the company might hit 5,000 a week by the end of this month, according to reports on the meeting by electric vehicle news site Electrek. That should help calm Model 3 reservation holders wondering when they can expect a car and head off reservation cancellations by those growing impatient. Tesla has not been reporting on the status of the reservation pool, but a recent report by transaction analytics company Second Measure stated that 23 percent of the $1,000 deposits have been refunded since Tesla began taking reservations.

Tesla Model Y teaser

Little is known about the coming Model Y except that Tesla plans it to be a smaller SUV than the Model S-based Model X — and that it will finally complete Musk's suggestively tongue-in-cheek S-3-X-Y model lineup. There has been much speculation, for example, on whether the Model Y will have the Falcon Wing doors that are a signature feature of the Model X. And while Musk indicated at last year's shareholder meeting that it would be built on a new platform, he later said the Model Y instead would be based on Model 3 architecture to bring it to market sooner, with production in a new plant estimated for 2020.

Musk did not provide much beyond this. The only other thing he added at the meeting regarding the Model Y, according to Electrek, was to say that the car would not offer leather, "even in the steering wheel." Encouraged by animal rights groups, Tesla has begun using vegan-friendly synthetic leather in its other models — except on the steering wheel. Musk also added (or maybe joked), "even if it does have a steering wheel," a possible teasing reference to Model Y self-driving capability.

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