Tesla's Model 2: A Deep Dive into Its Potential Futuristic Design

By Kevin Armstrong
Musk says Tesla's next-gen vehicle will be much more utilitarian
Musk says Tesla's next-gen vehicle will be much more utilitarian
Not a Tesla App

With all the attention on Cybertruck, Tesla is quietly working on the real game changer. Somewhere in Tesla's research and development is the Model 2, the next-gen, more affordable Tesla. It is the car that Tesla predicts will sell more than all of its other vehicles - combined!

The company has long been known for its futuristic and sleek designs, with the upcoming Model 2 touted as the most affordable and utilitarian offering yet. Yes, utilitarian were the words used by Elon Musk as he reiterated the primary focus for the Model 2 would be simplicity in design, manufacturing efficiency, and affordability.

But how might this vision translate into the actual car design? We have a few ideas using some hints and lessons from the past. For simplicity's sake, we will refer to the next-gen car as the Model 2 in this article.

Teardrop Shape: Aerodynamic Mastery

Aptera's vehicle design next efficiency to another level
Aptera's vehicle design next efficiency to another level
Aptera

Arguably the most aerodynamic shape for cars, the teardrop design minimizes drag, which is crucial for electric vehicles where range is paramount. The Model 2 could integrate this shape, focusing on the perfect harmony of form and function.

A vehicle is yet to be produced, but it has shown this design and how Tesla could use it. Aptera knows that in vehicle efficiency, drag coefficients are king. It is a crucial metric denoting aerodynamic resistance: while a Toyota Corolla registers at 0.29 and the Tesla Model 3 impresses with 0.23, the Aptera records 0.13. To put that in perspective, the bottlenose dolphin puts up a 0.1.

The McLaren Speedtail
The McLaren Speedtail
Bloomberg

When McLaren set out to conceive their swiftest road-going model, it didn't merely optimize the engine; it sculpted the very form of the car itself. The McLaren Speedtail's streamlined silhouette, exemplified by its elongated tail, the omission of conventional side mirrors, and aerodynamic front wheel covers, is a testament to this design philosophy.

Three Wheels: Sneak Peak Lines up with Aptera

Tesla working on a concept car
Tesla working on a concept car
CBS

An image in the Walter Isaacson books seems to be a mock-up of a Model 2. Take a good look at both the product and the pictures on the wall behind it. It appears to be a three-wheel, tear-shaped vehicle. Aptera also has three wheels. The company says it "leads the pack by having the least "rolling resistance" — the energy needed to keep your tires rolling at a straight and steady pace."

Going to three wheels reduces the touch points and areas where energy can be lost. It could incorporate unconventional headlights or eliminate the traditional trunk. The Aptera's radically efficient design offers a glimpse of such out-of-the-box thinking.

Rethinking Doors and the Frunk: Simplifying Structure

Volkswagen's XL1
Volkswagen's XL1
TopGear

While a four-door design is conventional, a two-door Model 2 would be simpler and likely cheaper to manufacture. Moreover, since the frunk primarily serves as storage in electric vehicles, Tesla could consider eliminating it altogether. This recalls Volkswagen's audacious 1-litre car concept, which featured gullwing doors and a futuristic design.

But we don't need to go back that far, as again, we can point to Aptera's design. The two-door, two-seater has storage room but certainly not to the same level as a Model 3. Given this Model 2 is going to be a point A to point B car, how much storage space is required?

Aero Wheel Design: Balancing Aesthetics with Efficiency

Tesla's Model 3 aero wheels have already demonstrated the balance between aesthetics and efficiency, offering up to a 3.4% boost in range. The Model 2 could take this further by fully enclosing the wheels or adopting innovative designs similar to the McLaren Speedtail's aerodynamic front wheel covers. It could go even further than that; see the next point.

Fender Skirts: Maximizing Range

A render of the Model S with fender skirts
A render of the Model S with fender skirts
Road and Track

Historically, fender skirts have shown a marked improvement in fuel efficiency. The original Honda Insight from 1999 achieved a drag coefficient of 0.25 with its covered rear wheels. By re-introducing fender skirts, Tesla could further streamline its impressive aerodynamics, extending the Model 2's range. But, as General Motors pointed out, this could require certain design adjustments, like narrower rear tires, to maintain safety and handling.

Mirrorless Design: Reducing Drag

The original Tesla Cybertruck prototype didn't have mirrors
The original Tesla Cybertruck prototype didn't have mirrors
Tesla

Mirrors add drag, and if Tesla can persuade regulators, a mirrorless design would make the Model 2 even more streamlined. Replacing mirrors with cameras has been around for a while. Still, Tesla could be the one to popularize this in mass-market EVs. The company has already been touting this as a feature for the Cybertruck. However, some jurisdictions require external mirrors. At some point during the evolution of the car, regulators must understand that camera technology is superior to mirrors.

While these speculations are based on current trends and historical data, one thing is certain: Tesla's Model 2 will challenge conventions. As the company delves deeper into achieving unmatched manufacturing efficiency and affordability, the Model 2 will likely carry Tesla's legacy of innovation.

Tesla's Supercharger Team Shakeup: Firings, Rehiring, and Future Prospects

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

Tesla recently fired the entire Supercharger team, including Tesla’s head of charging – Rebecca Tinucci, after she pushed back on the extreme layoffs that took place right before the cut.

The Supercharger team consisted of over 500 employees, at least after the initial layoffs. In the following days and weeks, Tesla began to rehire some of the employees that it had fired.

Some Damage Done

In the immediate aftermath of the firing of the Supercharger team, contractors and site planners were left bewildered, with no contact from the Supercharger team that was responsible for payment, planning, and decision-making.

As this has played out, new Supercharger deployments have been reduced – stations that were already being built are being completed, but no new announcements have been made since t

It was dire news at the time - but it isn’t all bad.

Returning Employees

Now, more and more of the employees that were fired are beginning to return to Tesla, some of whom are announcing that they were asked to return to Tesla in their previous capacities.

George Bahadue, Senior Manager of Site Acquisition and Business Development commented on LinkedIn:

“Two weeks ago, I was asked to return to Tesla in my previous capacity heading up the business development and site acquisition for Tesla charging – I accepted.”

His reasoning to accept the position was a quote from Rebecca Tinucci:

“You work at Tesla because you hope to have at least a small impact on our collective future – aspirationally, to leave the world better for our children and grandchildren and their children and grandchildren – by accelerating the transition to sustainable energy. And that mission is too important to allow any distractions.”

New Stations Could be Coming Soon

With the restaffing of the Supercharger team, especially with the return of George Bahadue, we can expect that new Supercharger sites may be announced in the coming weeks, as the ripple effect from the layoffs begins to settle.

The rehiring of experienced staff suggests that Tesla and Elon Musk are still committed to the vision of maintaining and expanding its Supercharger network – the largest and most reliable charging network in North America, which is crucial for the mission to move the world to renewable energy.

Tesla Cuts Model Y Output in China – Economic Slowdown and Anticipated Project Juniper Launch

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

Tesla recently cut Model Y output in China, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), Tesla’s production of the Model Y in China experienced a decline of approximately 18% in March, and 33% in April, versus the same time last year.

Output Cuts

These output cuts can be attributed to Tesla’s recent decision to reduce production of the Model Y at Giga Shanghai by at least 20% from March to June 2024. This was attributed to an unnamed Spokesperson by Reuters last week.

This decision could be multifaceted – the primary reason being an economic slowdown in China as price wars continue to be waged between EV manufacturers, including Tesla. On the flipside, Tesla has continued its production of the updated 2024 Model 3, colloquially referred to as the Highland, with an increase of 10%.

Project Juniper?

The second reason for this slowdown could be the incoming arrival of the Model Y refresh – also known as Project Juniper. Tesla China has already introduced an updated Model Y with a unique cloth dash with similar ambient lighting as the Model 3.

The Model 3 Highland was also introduced in China before its introduction to other markets, including North America and Europe.

Juniper Upgrade Speculation

Not much has been seen about Project Juniper at this time, but we can expect a similar suite of upgrades that match the updated 2024 Model 3 Highland – including a new front fascia design, updated doors and dynamics, steering updates, improved control arms, ambient lighting, new seats, and improved range.

There is a continued expectation that Tesla is pushing back its Model Y refresh – its best-selling vehicle – to make a bigger splash. This could include newer features – like the Cybertruck’s Steer-by-Wire, front camera, or other upgrades and changes – like the lack of stalks on the rest of the Tesla line-up.

Tesla previously confirmed we’re not seeing the Juniper Y this year, this could be the time needed to retool and upgrade lines to prepare for its introduction sometime next year.

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