In a Reversal, Tesla Will Now Use Existing Platforms to Build Affordable EV

Electric vehicle giant Tesla has announced that its affordable EV will be built on the company’s current production lines rather than new platforms. Rather than introduce a next-generation EV platform for the long-promised electric car, Tesla will tweak the affordable EV’s production plan and develop the car on existing Tesla platforms.

Every major electric vehicle startup and established automaker is desperate to produce an affordable electric car for the mass market. While Tesla captured a significant portion of the global electric-vehicle sector with expensive electric vehicles, the early adopter market that could afford to pay a premium for a battery electric vehicle (BEV) is mostly done purchasing electric cars.

As a result, carmakers such as Tesla are scrambling to develop a more affordable electric offering to cater to the more typical drivers who make up the majority of the global vehicle market. Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised to develop an affordable electric car several years ago and has renewed the promise every few years as competitors from China have gotten closer to developing the affordable EVs the market is clamoring for.

The Texas-based electric vehicle pioneer was working on a next-generation electric vehicle platform dubbed “unboxed,” which was expected to produce more affordable electric vehicles. Past announcements noted that two upcoming models including a self-driving Robotaxi and a “$25,000 Tesla” would be built on the new platform.

However, a Reuters report from earlier this month revealed that Tesla was cancelling its affordable electric-vehicle project. Although Musk called Reuters “liars” for publishing the report, Electrek later confirmed that Tesla had ceased all work on the affordable electric car based on the next-generation platform.

Inside sources say that the Texas Gigafactory expansion project, NV9, was also canceled. Tesla officially confirmed the news with its Q1 2024 financial results, which had an updated EV lineup. The EV maker was slated to begin producing the next-gen affordable EVs in the second half of 2025 but will now use current manufacturing lines to produce the electric car. According to Tesla, the new EVs will use aspects of both the current and next-generation platforms, allowing the company to use production lines as they currently exist and speed up its production timeline.

The change could reduce Tesla’s cost savings compared to the next-generation platform but will allow the company to increase its vehicle volumes more efficiently in a market filled with uncertainties. The change could also take the company a step closer to achieving more than 50% growth in production compared to 2023 without new manufacturing line investments, the EV maker said. Tesla noted that the self-driving Robotaxi will still be based on the next-gen “unboxed” system.

Other EV manufacturers such as NIO Inc. (NYSE: NIO) are also likely to bring to market their own versions of affordable mass-market electric vehicles. Consumers could soon be spoilt for choice in the face of an array of pocket-friendly models from different EV brands.

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