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It may be that Tesla’s tiny Model Y replica, which will be its first affordable mass-market electric car, is further along in the planning phases for production than first believed. The next Gigafactory in Mexico will include a completely new assembly-specific production line that will go into operation the following year.
This summer, Tesla will start construction on a new Gigafactory in Mexico, but the buildout will take longer than anticipated for an interesting reason. At first, it was said that Tesla would try to increase production in about nine months and match or surpass the record set by its Giga Shanghai factory.
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The governor of Nuevo León, where Giga Mexico will be located, has since stated that the project will now take 12 to 15 months to complete since a production line was added to the development schedule.
According to Governor Samuel Garca Seplveda, that same conveyor belt will appear to be reserved only for the sub-US$25,000 Model 2, or whatever name Tesla gives its small Model Y clone:
The nine-month Shanghai record was mentioned in the beginning, but during our meetings, it became clear that the model [Tesla] wants to introduce—the economic model that would be marketed widely—will call for a whole new production line.
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Due to the size of the space it will occupy and the fact that the production line is currently in the workshop—or, more accurately, working on workshops—where a rendering and construction are being done, we have now estimated that it may take between 12, 14, or 15 months to complete.
The Governor’s remark on “large space” is somewhat explained by recently disclosed Tesla Model 2 production plans, which revealed a big aim for producing 4 million of the affordable electric cars in the initial push, 2 million of which will come from said Giga Mexico line.
Elon Musk’s Master Plan 3 predicts that the Tesla Model 2 will resemble a smaller Model Y and contain a 53 kWh LFP battery. The Model 2 might still provide comparable 265-280 miles of EPA mileage.
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Elon Musk has stated that the automaker aims to hit “2-for-1” in terms of production costs compared to the Model 3 in regards to the Tesla Model 2 price and release date. Therefore, the retail price might be below US$25,000 before any federal subsidies, and some speculations even suggest that the Model 2 could be purchased for US$22,000, making it a true mass-market electric vehicle.
The cheapest Tesla should hit the conveyor belts next summer in a surprise Model 2 2024 release, which would come out a full year or so before the introduction of its direct competitors like Volkswagen’s ID.2all, if the Governor’s most upbeat 12-month production line buildout projection holds true.