As CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk has always been a strong supporter of making electric vehicles not only futuristic but also affordable. His most recent project, codenamed "Redwood," could be a small crossover that changes the EV market in a big way. With a possible price tag of $25,000, this entry-level car is meant to make Tesla a strong rival to gas-powered cars and other affordable EVs on the market. Musk's vision aligns with Tesla's commitment to sustainability and accessibility, aiming to make EVs mainstream.
"Redwood" is positioned to be a smaller, more affordable option compared to Tesla's existing lineup; it follows the success of the Model Y, a mid-sized SUV. To appeal to a wide range of people and take advantage of the Model Y's popularity, the compact crossover segment was carefully chosen. Suppliers have been notified of plans to commence production in mid-2025. Elon Musk confirmed this schedule during a post-earnings call, stating that production is expected to start at Tesla's Texas factory in the second half of 2025. Moving production to Mexico and another place outside of North America shows that Tesla is serious about making more electric cars to meet the growing demand.
Tesla's dedication to affordability is highlighted by Elon Musk's concern regarding the effect of high interest rates on consumer demand. Requests for quotes sent to suppliers last year indicate meticulous financial planning, with a projected weekly production volume of 10,000 vehicles. The financial strategy revolves around ensuring that the Redwood model is not only innovative but also economically viable.
Elon Musk has consistently expressed Tesla's ambition to produce more affordable EVs, positioning the next-generation $25,000 car against not only traditional gasoline-powered cars but also against the influx of affordable EVs from competitors. With its Redwood model, Tesla wants to take on the market, which is becoming more difficult as Chinese automaker BYD grows. While Musk has set aggressive price targets, Tesla has faced challenges meeting them in the past. The initial goal of a $35,000 Model 3 was adjusted, and the Cybertruck was eventually released with a higher starting price than initially announced.
Tesla expects to make 10,000 Redwood models every week, which shows how big the company's growth goals are. According to Tesla's quarterly report, the company's next-generation vehicle will propel the company to new heights of success. Given the report's emphasis on launching the Redwood model at Gigafactory Texas, it is possible that the growth rate in 2024 will be lower than the exceptional performance achieved in 2023.
Tesla's commitment to innovation goes beyond the Redwood model. Elon Musk's revelation of working on two new products and aiming for combined sales of 5 million vehicles a year underscores Tesla's long-term vision. The "NV9X" architecture, encompassing two or more models, suggests that the Redwood model is just a stepping stone towards a broader range of next-generation vehicles. Tesla's study of affordable cars like the Honda Civic indicates a commitment to understanding cost-effective manufacturing methods.
Tesla's global ambitions include building cheaper cars at its Berlin factory and exploring the possibility of a factory in India for producing less expensive electric cars. While confirming the production timeline, he urged stakeholders to take it "with a grain of salt." This shows the complexities involved in developing new manufacturing technologies while highlighting the unpredictable nature of bringing cheaper products to market.