Unveiling 'Redwood': Tesla's Answer to Mass Market EV Demands

By Kevin Armstrong
Concept of the new Vehicle
Concept of the new Vehicle

Tesla has informed its suppliers of plans to start producing a new mass-market EV, codenamed "Redwood," by mid-2025. Reuters broke the news less than 24 hours before Tesla’s call with shareholders. The media outlet used information from four sources “familiar with the matter,” with two describing the model as a compact crossover.

This can only be the $25,000 car, also known as the Model 2 or Next Gen. It’s not the first time that we’ve heard rumors of it being a smaller Model Y. The next-generation Tesla architecture, internally known as 'NV9X', is said to include at least two models. Tesla’s Master Plan suggested that there would be infinite demand for the less expensive car, projecting its fleet could match all of the other models combined.

Next Model in 2025

Tesla has approached suppliers requesting quotes for the "Redwood" model, forecasting a weekly production volume of 10,000 vehicles. Production is slated to begin in June 2025, according to three sources who spoke anonymously due to the confidential nature of the information. However, the fourth downplayed the timeline, stating that most of Tesla's new product launches have been overly optimistic, with volume output more likely to start in 2026.

Sources also revealed that Tesla has recently dismantled a Honda Civic, priced at $23,950 in the U.S., to study methods of producing more affordable cars.

Concept of Next Gen
Concept of Next Gen

One of the most upvoted queries from investors, ahead of Tesla's fourth quarter and year-end report, concerned the timing of the next-gen compact vehicles, and for good reason. Tesla fell behind BYD as the world’s leading EV producer in the last quarter of 2023. Add that to the new push to gas-powered cars thanks to a refreshed attack on EVs since the Big 3’s labor strife. Tesla must put its shareholders at ease addressing these factors head-on, precisely what a mass market, less expensive vehicle would do.

The Long History of the Cheaper Tesla

Musk initially promised a $25,000 car in 2020, a plan he later paused and reinstated. Tesla's most budget-friendly model, the Model 3 sedan, currently has a starting price of $38,990 in the United States. In the previous year, Musk commented on the sensitivity of high-ticket items, such as cars, to rising interest rates among consumers. In May, Musk revealed that Tesla was developing two new products, potentially unveiled within the year, with a combined annual sales potential of 5 million vehicles.

During Tesla's shareholders meeting, he emphasized, "Both the design of the products and manufacturing techniques are head and shoulders above anything else that is present in this industry." Walter Isaacson's biography of Musk hints at the more affordable car and the Robotaxi based on the same vehicle architecture. There was even a picture that gave away several clues.

Picture from Elon Musk Biography
Picture from Elon Musk Biography

Last March, Musk and other Tesla executives outlined plans to halve the cost of their next-generation vehicles, although a specific timeframe for these launches was not provided. About a year ago, chief designer Franz von Holzhausen said that the car he is most excited about is the one he is currently working on but could not talk about.

Musk stated last year that the affordable model would initially be manufactured at Tesla's factory in Texas. Additionally, Tesla plans to manufacture more affordable cars at its plant near Berlin and has expressed interest in establishing a factory in India to produce smaller, cheaper electric cars.

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New Model 3 Performance, Racing-Inspired Seats Revealed, a Glimpse of the Front Splitter

By Kevin Armstrong
X/Nic Cruz Patane
X/Nic Cruz Patane

Tesla's reintroduction of the Model 3 Performance continues to inch closer, and just like the refreshed Model 3 and the Cybertruck, every peek gives us some more hints and builds more excitement. A recent observation of a partially covered Tesla Model 3 Performance prototype revealed the new Sport seats designed for improved comfort.

Posted on X by Nic Cruz Patane, the upgraded Model 3 Performance was sighted in Santa Monica, where the vehicle's engineering prototype displayed minimal window tinting, offering a sneak peek at the vehicle's improved seating. The Sport seats, resembling dedicated racing bucket seats, significantly depart from the current Model 3 seating options.

Sport Seats Coming to Other Models?

Tesla's initiative to incorporate Sport seats into the Model 3 Performance hints at broader plans to equip its high-performance models, including the Model S Plaid, Model X Plaid, and Model Y Performance, with similar seating options. This move will elevate the driving experience across Tesla's performance vehicle range.

These seats were also spotted a few weeks ago by enthusiast Fidel Grandez. Initially thought to be designated for the Model S Plaid, these Sport seats have found their rightful place in the Model 3 Performance, aligning with Tesla's vision for a performance-focused yet more affordable electric sedan.

New Wheels and Front Lip

In addition to the seats, the Model 3 Performance is rumored to showcase a suite of enhancements. Another angle gives a little bit of an outline of the new front lower splitter. Other aesthetic and functional upgrades include "Warp" 20-inch wheels, advanced braking systems, and revised suspension components.

Tesla has been testing the Model 3 Performance prototypes for a few months, signaling that initial production could be underway in North America. This step is crucial as Tesla aims to reintroduce the Performance trim to the market, having temporarily removed it from their lineup. The reintroduction is timely, considering the evolving landscape of EV incentives in the United States. While the official launch date remains under wraps, anticipation builds for the Model 3 Performance's debut, expected in the first half of 2024.

Cool Carpool Mom: How Kim Kardashian's Cybertruck Ride Benefits Tesla

By Kevin Armstrong
Instagram/Kim Kardashian
Instagram/Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian showcased her Cybertruck with the caption "cool carpool mom" to her 364 million followers on Instagram. The A-list celebrity and billionaire is well known for her knack for staying at the forefront of trends, making this one image a powerful endorsement for Tesla. The picture of one of the most influential celebrities of our time picking the Cybertruck as her distinctive vehicle speaks volumes about the brand's penetration into popular culture and its appeal to a broad demographic, including those who value style, innovation, and sustainability.

The Power of Celebrity Influence

Kim Kardashian's influence cannot be overstated. Her every move is watched and often emulated by fans around the globe. Her journey from reality TV star to billionaire entrepreneur has been marked by a series of successful ventures in fashion, beauty, and technology investments, making her a model of modern business acumen. Kardashian's ability to turn personal endorsements into significant trends is unparalleled, making her engagement with Tesla's Cybertruck a notable moment for the company.

Kardashian's influence extends far beyond mere product endorsement. Her strategic use of social media to connect with her audience has transformed how brands interact with consumers. She creates a personal connection that can sway consumer behavior by sharing her life, interests, and choices, including her vehicle preferences. Her endorsement of the Cybertruck can significantly enhance Tesla's brand visibility and desirability, particularly among consumers who may not have previously considered an electric vehicle.

Kardashian has recently joined the exclusive circle of celebrities seen driving the Cybertruck, a group that boasts names like Pharrell, Lady Gaga, Jay Leno, and not to forget Elon Musk himself (who, aside from being Tesla's CEO, commands a staggering following of over 370 million on X). Each of these stars wields significant influence, captivating audiences that range from thousands to millions globally.

Sustainability Meets Style

Moreover, Kardashian's endorsement comes at a time when the importance of sustainable living and eco-friendly choices is increasingly recognized. Her choice of an electric vehicle over traditional gasoline-powered cars sends a strong message about the importance of environmental responsibility, aligning with Tesla's mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy. This alignment boosts Tesla's brand and promotes a broader cultural shift towards sustainability.

In the context of celebrity endorsements, Kim Kardashian's showcase of the Tesla Cybertruck is a masterstroke. It merges the worlds of entertainment, technology, and sustainability, highlighting the evolving nature of brand-consumer relationships in the digital age. Tesla's innovative approach to vehicle design and its commitment to sustainability is amplified by Kardashian's endorsement, illustrating the power of celebrity influence in shaping consumer preferences and driving societal trends.

Ultimately, Kardashian driving a Cybertruck and branding herself as a "cool carpool mom" is a significant endorsement for Tesla, enhancing the brand's visibility, appeal, and alignment with sustainable values. In an era where brand success is increasingly tied to social influence and cultural relevance, Tesla's association with Kardashian can only be seen as a positive development, driving the brand further into the mainstream consciousness and reinforcing its position as a leader in the shift towards a more sustainable future.

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