There’s a new Tesla model on the way, but it’s not an ultra-premium car that costs more than two year’s salary. Instead Tesla is launching a new low-cost hatchback, which will help the company better compete in the growing low-cost EV market.
While there’s a lot we still don’t know about the car, Tesla has told us enough that we can get a pretty rough idea of what to expect. Here’s everything we know about the Tesla hatchback so far.
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Tesla Hatchback: Release window and price
The Tesla hatchback is currently set to be released in 2023, assuming there are none of the delays that are all too common with new Tesla vehicles.
Elon Musk confirmed that the car will cost $25,000. It’s unclear whether that is the full purchase price, or if that includes the “potential savings” discount Tesla advertises, and supposedly includes potential federal subsidies and gas savings.
Tesla Hatchback: Performance and range speculation
We know very little about the Tesla hatchback’s performance at this point, since Tesla hasn’t revealed anything about the motor. However, given the car’s price tag and presumed size, it’s likely that it only has a single electric motor, though whether it’ll be front or rear wheel drive is unclear.
Tesla has yet to produce a front wheel drive car, so it seems rear wheel drive is the more likely candidate.
As for the range, we have just as few confirmed details. That being said, Elon Musk previously said that the Standard Range Tesla Model Y was discontinued last July because it only had 244 miles of range. Evidently, Musk believes that anything less than 250 is “unacceptably low”.
So unless there has been a major philosophical change at Tesla in the past year, we can likely expect a minimum of 250 miles from the Tesla hatchback.
Tesla hatchback: Battery and charging
While we don’t know what sort of battery capacity to expect, Tesla has already revealed that the Hatchback’s battery uses a tabless design and promises to be 35% smaller than conventional EV batteries. Apparently, that not only makes the batteries cheaper to produce, it also makes them safer and more powerful.
They're six times more powerful, in fact, with five times more energy in the same space. According to Tesla, this means you get 16% more range out of every kWh of power.
The battery is also going to help support the hatchback’s underpinnings, which will help reduce the car’s overall weight. Combined with the smaller, lighter design, Tesla claims this will increase the hatchback’s range by a further 14%.
It’s not clear what sort of charging speeds to expect with this car, though it will no doubt be compatible with Tesla’s supercharger network. Let’s just hope the charging speed can still reach the 250kW maximum afforded to other Tesla cars.
Tesla Hatchback: Design and features
We haven’t seen any design specs or illustrations of the Tesla hatchback, which seems to have been deliberate. That said, a hatchback is a very particular design, so we should expect some sort of Tesla-ified vehicle that looks like a blend between a Tesla Model Y and something like a Nissan Leaf or VW ID.3.
It’s also fair to assume that most of the traditional Tesla features will be available in the new hatchback, including the company’s infotainment system, access to the supercharger network and more.
What we definitely know is that the car will have some form of Autopilot involved, with Elon Musk promising the vehicle would be “fully autonomous." We seriously doubt that it will have Level 5 autonomy, wherein the car does all of the work and there’s no need for an attentive human in the driver's seat.
Our guess is that Tesla’s ‘Full Self Driving’ Autopilot will be available, enabling the car to navigate itself on highways and possibly even city streets. Provided there’s an attentive human behind the wheel, ready to take over at a moment’s notice.
Tesla Hatchback: What will it be called?
Tesla hasn’t announced what its new hatchback will be called, and some outlets have taken to calling it the ‘Model 2’ — presumably because it’s smaller and cheaper than Tesla’s current entry-level car the Model 3.
But the car probably won’t be called this when it actually goes on sale. Certainly not if Tesla sticks with the naming conventions of its previous cars. After, all Elon Musk deliberately named the Model S through Y because the letters spelled out the word ‘Sexy’.
Or Tesla would have done if Ford didn’t own the rights to the name ‘Model E’, which forced Tesla to substitute the number 3 instead.
But where can Elon Musk’s pretty childish Tesla naming trend go from here? Sexy is a complete word by itself, and it means the Hatchback’s letter would have to start spelling a brand new word.
That’s assuming Tesla even opts for one, and doesn’t follow the example of the Tesla Roadster and give the hatchback a more ordinary name. Though ‘Tesla Hatchback’ doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as ‘Model H’.
Tesla Hatchback: Outlook
There are still a lot of unknowns with the Tesla Hatchback, though it seems that Tesla is going to offer that same ‘Tesla experience’ in a car that’s both cheaper and smaller than its current line-up. That's a good thing, and hopefully means the company’s many competitors will follow suit and launch high-range electric cars for a low price.
Of course, we will have to wait and see what happens, and whether this car actually arrives in 2023. It’s all well and good thinking about what could be, only for the car to be delayed like so many Tesla models before it. But we do have some high hopes, and we’re optimistic that Tesla can pull this one off without a hitch.