For Tesla (TSLA) investors and drivers, the July 1 delivery date for the Model 3 mass-market electric car looms large. Tesla aims to produce the mass-market vehicle on an aggressive timeline, while building out its charging stations among other priorities.
But Elon Musk is already looking ahead to the Model Y compact SUV, first announced a little more than a year ago, and how the factory that builds the vehicle with falcon-wing doors will revolutionize Tesla.
The planned launch of the Model Y in 2019 or 2020 will push Tesla across a major milestone. If production lives up to Musk's expectation, Tesla will cross over into the realm of a million cars a year when the new model joins its current line of cars. The Model Y's significance goes beyond the vehicles details and performance, to a redesign of the "machine that makes the machine," as Musk has called his factories.
The factory that makes the Model 3 is on par with the top global car-making facilities, Musk said during the call. "With Model 3, I think we'll be roughly comparable with the best high-volume vehicle production lines in the world," Musk said. "Better in some respects, a little worse in others."
Tesla plans to churn out 5,000 Model 3's per week before the end of this year, and 10,000 per week next year. On Real Money, Brian Sozzi suggested that investors consider taking profits in the car maker, given lack of details about how Musk will reach his goals.
The semi truck that Tesla plans to unveil later this year borrows from the Model 3's production line. "It's actually using a bunch of Model 3 motors without revealing too much about the future of it," Musk said of the truck.
The big leap will come with the Model Y, though.
"[Tesla] expects the Model 3 plant to be leading in efficiency, but investors will need to wait for the Model Y plant in around 2019 before it implements major changes to auto production & automation," UBS analyst Colin Langan wrote in a report on Tesla's earnings.
Tesla will make the car on a different platform than the Model 3, Musk told investors, saying the new factory will be "beyond any other auto manufacturer," during the call.
Perfecting the "machine that makes the machine" has been a longtime theme for Musk.
"This is all a function of designing the product to be easy to manufacture and easy to automate, as well as designing the factory itself," Musk said during Wednesday's call.
Modesty is not part of the factory design.
"There will be nothing close to it, I think," Musk said.
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Editors' pick: Originally published May 4.