When it comes to social media and company CEOs, few are as active or as candid in the public eye as Tesla CEO Elon Musk. And unlike many company CEOs — whose social media accounts are carefully managed by a surrogate press relations officer or PA — most, if not all of Musk’s social media postings appear to come from the man himself.
Which means that when Musk says something on his preferred social media platform Twitter, people tend to sit up and take notice. When his tweet includes information about a new feature for Tesla’s line up of electric cars, hint of a new product, or something to do with Musk’s other passion SpaceX, people sit up and take notice even more so.
So when Musk took to Twitter over the weekend to announce that Tesla would be unveiling a new product on the 17th October, just eleven days before the making a joint Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] SolarCity [NASDAQ:SCTY] announcement, the green car world has sat up to pay attention.
“Tesla product unveiling on the 17th (unexpected by most), followed by Tesla/SolarCity on the 28th,” the tweet read, giving very little detail indeed. But while Musk’s initial tweet simply acknowledged that Tesla plans to hold two announcements this month — one on its own and one with SolarCity — there are a few possibilities that we think are likely, ranging from a variation of the Model 3 or a prototype Tesla Model Y through to a prototype electric semi or a new solar roof. Given each of these have featured at some point in the rumor mill in recent months, any of the above are at least possible right now, although some are more likely than others.
Model 3 variant/feature debut
The first possibility is that we’re going to see some kind of variant or feature for the Model 3 electric car that Tesla plans to bring to production by the end of 2017.
When it was officially unveiled back in March, Musk did admit that the unveiling was part one of a two-part unveiling process for the mass-market, affordable sedan. Following feedback from some buyers that they had expected a hatchback rather than a sedan, it’s conceivable that Tesla has managed to modify its original Model 3 design to include a hatchback variant or perhaps even a wagon version, although we feel this is unlikely at the current time.
More likely however, is the debut of a new type of virtual, holographic, or projected display for Model3, since the original Model 3 prototype seemed to lack any driver gauges and displays save for the large landscape 17-inch touch screen display located in the center console. Since Musk has admitted that Tesla is planning something special for the Model 3’s dashboard, the October 17th announcement could very well be it.
Another possibility would be the unveiling of the Tesla Model Y, an all-electric SUV built on the Tesla Model 3’s platform. Smaller and less complex than Model X, the Model Y is expected to be the first truly affordable SUV from the California company, and will likely reach market a few years after Model 3.
However, it’s plausible that Tesla has brought this plan forward to appease those who feel unhappy about the Model 3’s small trunk aperture, although again, we think it’s unlikely at this stage.
Earlier this year, Musk admitted that Tesla was already working hard to develop its own all-electric tractor unit designed to revolutionize the mass haulage industry. With prototypes already known to be in testing it’s possible that the October 17th announcement could be the unveiling of an alpha or beta prototype for Tesla’s long-range electric truck.
Add in the fact that both Mercedes-Benz and the newly-formed Nikola Motors are trying to muscle in on the zero emission heavy-duty truck market, and it’s certainly plausible that the Tesla Truck is the mysterious announcement.
The last possibility that we see for the announcement on October 17 is a new solar roof system in which the tiles themselves are tiny solar panels, turning the entire roof surface into a giant photovoltaic solar panel.
The product — which Musk has already talked openly about in the past — includes an integrated battery pack, allowing the roof to not only harvest solar power to power a home’s electrical systems but also to store it for later use.
Given the October 28 event is expected to revolve around the successful completion of the Tesla/SolarCity merger, we think the Solar Roof is a prime candidate for the October 17th event.
Luckily, we only have a week to wait in order to find out. And as always, we’ll cover the news as soon as we can when the announcement has been made.
What are you expecting to be announced on October 17 and October 28? Do you agree with our assessment, or are you expecting something else?
Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
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