Written by Gabe Rodriguez Morrison
The Tesla Model 2 aims to make electric vehicle ownership more affordable. Tesla likely won’t use the “Model 2” name because it refers to a smaller version of the Model 3 when it would actually be a more economical version. Tesla’s goal was a $25,000 car, but the Model 3 was also supposed to cost $35,000, but it ended up being more expensive. The Model 3 is currently priced at just under $47,000 in the US.
When Tesla created the Model 3, they essentially built a smaller, more efficient version of the Model S by removing features that were more expensive or difficult to manufacture. Many switches, vents, and features have been simplified or removed entirely, including the instrument cluster.
This includes replacing physical controls with onscreen controls, such as the glove box knob, mirror adjustment buttons, windshield wiper controls, and many more.
Other controls have been simplified to reduce complexity and therefore cost. Some examples include the streamlined ventilation system and steering wheel buttons. The interior and exterior door handles have also been redesigned to reduce the amount of moving parts.
Back in 2016 when the Model 3 was revealed, it wasn’t entirely clear which features were cost-cutting measures and which were iterations that would become standard on all future Teslas cars.
When Tesla first introduced the new Model S in 2021, it became clear what features might have been cost-cutting measures. We’ve seen a lot of Model 3 features carry over to the redesigned Model S, like a horizontal center display, and a single continuous vent with on-screen controls, but not every feature makes it more.
These were seen as concessions made by Tesla to create a car that was cheaper to manufacture compared to the Model S.
The Model 3 does not have air suspension, cooled seats, a rear screen, or an instrument cluster. It also has a slightly smaller central screen. So what could Tesla remove or simplify more than the Model 3 to create an affordable, compact car?
Tesla will probably keep all the software features just because it doesn’t add much to the cost of the car. Some possibilities might include fewer speakers, removing the heated seats in the rear, removing wireless chargers, and removing the glass roof. It is unlikely that any FSD cameras or computer will be removed because the FSD package is profitable for Tesla and there are also security features dependent on this device.
It’s possible that the Tesla Model 2 turned out to be the supposed Robotaxi mentioned at the Giga Rodeo event. Elon previously talked about creating a car without steering wheels or pedals, which would be suitable for a completely autonomous vehicle.
On Battery Day, Tesla said standard vehicles and future models will use lithium iron phosphate batteries. LFP batteries are cheaper to produce and have some advantages and disadvantages when compared to nickel batteries. Tesla will likely use a 4680 LFP battery for the Model 2. This should make the car smaller and lighter, but could also provide less range.
Tesla’s 4680 cell is named after its dimensions, 46mm x 80mm. They are much cheaper to manufacture, produce 5 times more power, 16% more range, and 6 times more power, making them much more economical than conventional batteries. With 4,680 batteries, the Model 2 is expected to have a range of 250 to 300 miles.
Tesla will use a 4,680-cell structural package in a single body mold to manufacture the Model 2 as efficiently as possible. This combined with advanced robotics will help Tesla achieve economies of scale and build its most expensive cars to date.
Don’t expect a “Model 2” anytime soon, Elon has talked about Tesla ending the CyberTruck truck this year and starting production in 2023. Tesla also has a production Roadster and Semi, which are very likely ahead of the Model 2.
By then, we may see drastic improvements in FSD which could ensure that Robotaxi is completely autonomous. I don’t expect the Model 2 before 2024 at best, but we could see prototypes before then.