Musk flags electric tradie van, to go with the Tesla ute, truck and SUV | The Driven
Tesla van
Source: Twitter

Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk has mused on the possibility of an all-electric van for tradespeople, even though the focus for the electric vehicle maker at the moment are the Model Y compact SUV and the Tesla Ute (pickup).

The latest musings comes as Tesla confirms another big order for its all-electric Tesla Truck, which it calls the “semi”, this time for 10 units from US retail co Albertsons, which joins the growing list of industry giants such as Walmart and JB Hunt keen to upgrade their truck fleets.

However Musk is making clear that his current new product focus is on the Model Y, the electric pickup (aka ute here in Australia) as well as Tesla’s other project – solar roof tiles.

Musk made the comments on Twitter in response to a follower’s request made on Monday morning for an electric tradies van, following a fellow fan’s posting of a photo of one of Tesla’s repair vehicles (see photo above).

Musk responded that while Tesla does have a lot going on, the possibility of an electric van built on empty Daimler van bodies (known as sprinters or gliders) was not out of the question, but the focus for now is Model Y, solar roof tiles, pickup, Semi and Roadster.

It is known that development for the Tesla Semi is well underway – after first being revealed by Musk in November 2017, the first Tesla Semi cargo load (of Tesla battery packs of course) happened just 4 months later, from Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory to its Fremont EV factory in Match 2018.

Tesla Semis have been spotted since up and down US highways, with many mesmerised by the surreal sound emitted from the all-electric long haul trucks.

But while the 500km range trucks, once in production, will have a huge impact on carbon emissions, it is electric vehicles for the use of everyday people that drivers are most interested in.

Hence the query about an electric tradies van, for instance.

So it’s not that surprising that Musk is now turning the focus of this development team to the Model Y, Tesla’s midsize electric SUV, the prototype of which Musk recently approved for production and is expected to go into production in 2020.

Putting the electric pickup, or ute, before the Semi in terms of priority however drew another question from one Twitterer, who astutely surmised that the pickup might be fast tracked if other timelines were taken into account:

“Has the pickup timeline been accelerated? Everything else on this list is supposed to be in production in 2019 or 2020,” he said.

Musk didn’t clarify unfortunately, instead saying the focus is volume, citing battery production as a limiting factor.

“What really matters is time to volume production, not initial market intro. Apart from brief moments, Tesla vehicle production is limited by total battery output,” he said.

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