Tesla is targeting November 2019 for start of production of its Model Y sport utility vehicle, with output in China to begin two years later, Reuters reports, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The electric car marker, led by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, is accepting preliminary bids for supplier contracts on the crossover companion to the Model 3 sedan, according to the report.
Tesla has given suppliers scant details about the program and had not provided a production time frame, but has now indicated the vehicle will see production begin at the company’s Fremont, California, plant in November next year, sources were quoted as saying.
The new Model Y details show that Tesla is pushing ahead on plans to build a new vehicle even as it struggles to produce the Model 3, which launched in July.
Tesla is said to have issued to suppliers what is known as a “request for information,” or RFI, which gives a directional view of what will be needed.
With a new car model, automakers normally choose parts suppliers two to two-and-a-half years before the start of production.
At about one-and-a-half years away, a November 2019 start date for the Model Y would be considered “aggressive, but possible,” a source told Reuters.
A shorter timeline is potentially feasible, the source said, as the Model Y will be built on the same platform as the Model 3.
Tesla is known for its aggressive timelines and high risk-tolerance in order to get cars to market quicker.
The Model Y is just one of many projects in the pipeline for Tesla, which also launched a Tesla Semi and a new Roadster in recent months.
Without giving a time frame, Musk in February told analysts the company would aim for production capacity of one million Model Ys per year.
According to Reuters sources, suppliers could be estimating an annual production of 500,000 vehicles in the United States, with much lower volume in China, likely in the tens of thousands.
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