He got us used to a number of eccentricities, that’s for sure. But there, Elon Musk, whimsical CEO of the American manufacturer Tesla, did very well during the press conference which took place last night at Tesla’s new headquarters in Austin, Texas (3 a.m. French time), causing many reactions in the room.
And for good reason, he announced that Tesla, by early 2024, will produce thermal cars. Or more exactly, plug-in hybrid vehicles.
According to him, this is the only way to sustain the profitability of the brand. In doing so, he sails against the entire automotive industry, which is clearly going the opposite way, that is to say by now offering electric cars, which Tesla has made its business, and less and less thermal models. He decides to do the opposite.
The demonstration made by Elon Musk to the journalists present seems, however, objectively to hold the road.
“For everything battery and electric motors, we obviously have the technology, and even ahead of our competitors, so the plug-in hybrid part is not a problem for us.” he claimed. “Our chassis are among the best on the market, and our technological level is also among the most advanced, in particular our Autopilot (autonomous driving, Editor’s note). In fact, the only element that we do not control is the heat engine“.
Thus, Tesla would use its electric motors, deflated in power, and the same technology as its current battery packs, in the 4680 version and produced by Panasonic, but in a much more compact version, with a lower capacity (the slide presented mentioned 25 kWh )
Musk evokes for the thermal part a partnership with Ford, which will provide it with 4-cylinder 2.3 EcoBoost 290 hp (the one used by the Mustang), and V6 3.0 turbo (the one used by the Explorer and already hybridized to 457 hp). The latter would see its hybrid part replaced by Tesla elements.
More profitable cars, and finally a $25,000 model?
Future models, which could also wear a different “brand” from electric Tesla models, like Ioniq at Hyundai, or ID. at Volkswagen, will of course be intended to be recharged on the brand’s superchargers, at a slightly higher price per kW, however, in addition to home charging. But it is already a small source of additional income.
And despite a lower purchase price, the profitability for each model would be higher. This would lower the prices and finally offer a $25,000 Tesla model, which has been promised for years. Here again, Elon Musk’s demonstration is pragmatic:
“Our models use a battery pack that costs between $15,000 and $30,000 depending on the model and power. Now, the price of an engine supplied by Ford at wholesale price is about $4,300, including the gearbox. Even if we keep a small hybrid battery pack and one or two electric motors, it costs us much less to produce, and even by displaying prices lower than those of the Model 3, S, X or Y, the cash generated would be superior” he claimed. “In addition, we must remain realistic, the electric vehicle market is only 4% in the USA, despite our efforts, and those of other manufacturers. Even in Europe it is only around 10%, and in some countries it is 0%. Tesla can no longer afford to deprive itself of the thermal vehicle market” he concluded.
Faced with a question from a journalist asking for more precise characteristics for the models to come, Elon somewhat drowned the fish, and mentioned the date of April 1, 2023 for the provision of the press of detailed technical fish for 3 models : a compact sedan, a station wagon and a compact SUV.
Link to the youtube video of the press conference : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruIyx_vXluU