The Tesla Model 1 - What Will It Be?
The Tesla Model 1
I believe the primary market for the Tesla Model 1 will be India. It will be a very low cost, compact, and much lighter and thinner vehicle than other Tesla models, including the Model 2. And yes, I know the picture here is very futuristic looking, but I did not have anyone at Tesla to give me a sketch :).
According to BankBazaar.com, Cars in India cost on the low end, $4,000 to a high end cost of $16,000. Therefore, for a Tesla Model 1 to be competitive in India, I believe they are going to have to produce a car between $10,000 and $16,000.
There is almost 1.4 billion people in India as of 2021. That is a lot of potential customers. But these potential customers will have to be able to afford the Model 1.
Tesla Model 1 Specs
For Tesla to be able to make a car at such a low cost, battery technology is going to have to improve drastically. This is why I believe Tesla will not produce this car until the latter half of this decade, when battery technology has made some further breakthroughs.
Here's what some of the specs of the Tesla Model 1 could be:
- Price: $10,000 to $15,000
- 0-60 miles per hour: 10 seconds
- Range: 175 miles (282 km)
- Interior: Similar to other Tesla interiors, available in black or white
- Release Date: 2025 or beyond
- Pre Order Date: 2025 or beyond
- Plaid Option: This option will be unlikely as the Model 1 will be mass produced as a single option
- Battery: A future unknown battery pack beyond the structural 4680 pack
- Autopilot: This will come with the vehicle
- Full Self-Driving: This will be an addon and probably be available as a subscription for $199/month
The good thing about a Model 1 in India is that the car will be light and compact. The main thing that could stop the Model 1 from being produced is it needing to be light and thinner than other Tesla models, which would make it a little less safe in an accident. Tesla cars are designed for maximum safety and a Tesla that is more like a tin can may not make it to market.
Will the Model 1 just be a Robotaxi?
According to Statista.com, 3% of the population in India owns a car. That represents about 42 million people in India that own a car and could buy a Tesla Model 1. If India can raise its economic status more, that number will increase. Regardless, 42 million people buying a car for $10,000 is $420 billion dollars of opportunity. And this does not include software and services.
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What could happen is Tesla creates a Model 1 and has it operate as a robotaxi at low cost. Tesla could combine this with a Tesla bus that can transport large groups of people. Those in India who could afford a Model 1 could still purchase one, but there is a good chance Tesla may just operate robotaxis in India instead of selling cars directly because the profit will be much greater.
Will the Tesla Model 1 Happen?
The Tesla Model 1 will definitely happen if Tesla is not able to solve full autonomy in the next five years. That will mean that making and selling cars for personal use will still be a very viable business model instead of robotaxis.
If Tesla solves full autonomy, the Model 1 could be produced as a robotaxi in India and used primarily for transport at a very low cost, making it affordable to an even large segment of the almost 1.4 billion population due to greatly reduced transportation costs without a driver and a less expensive car.
Tesla will need to figure out a single cast manufacturing process and make the Model 1 a very minimalist design. I don't doubt that in the future, Tesla will figure out how to do this.
Tesla will also need to add superchargers to India in order to make a Model 1 feasible.
What do you think about the Tesla Model 1? Will it happen eventually? Will India be its primary market?
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Jeremy Johnson is a Tesla investor and supporter. He first invested in Tesla in 2017 after years of following Elon Musk and admiring his work ethic and intelligence. Since then, he's become a Tesla bull, covering anything about Tesla he can find, while also dabbling in other electric vehicle companies. Jeremy covers Tesla developments at Torque News. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to stay in touch and follow his Tesla news coverage on Torque News.