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Tesla Model Y
Photo by Kyle Field, CleanTechnica


Tesla Model Y: “Limited Production” ≠ Customer Deliveries

We published an article earlier today about leaked info we received from a historically reliable source inside Tesla who indicated there’s a target to start limited production of the Tesla Model Y in Tesla’s Fremont factory sometime around Q1 2020. That said, “limited production” is not the same as customer deliveries, and we do not have new insight into the timeline for the latter.

We published an article earlier today about leaked info we received from a historically reliable source inside Tesla who indicated there’s a target to start limited production of the Tesla Model Y in Tesla’s Fremont factory sometime around Q1 2020. Our main source has previously shared detailed information of various sorts that proved to be accurate, some of which we published and some of which we didn’t. Our source is not a top executive at Tesla, and we all know that Tesla is a nimble company that can change plans (or run into challenging bottlenecks) as the seasons change, so first and foremost I do think it’s wise to be cautious about leaked expectations for limited Model Y production anywhere from 3 months from now to 6 months from now.

More importantly, though — and the reason for this article — I think people should be cautious about conflating production (er, limited production) and customer deliveries. Even if production starts rolling at a slow pace in 3–6 months, customer deliveries may not start for another several months after that. We don’t have any insight into this matter.

In fact, even though Model Y production commencing in or near Q1 2020 may seem far in advance of Tesla’s stated plans to start shipping Model Y to customers in “fall 2020,” there may not be much (or any) discrepancy at all. This leaked information may simply mean that Tesla is on track with its stated Model Y development and production plans.

Of course, we know that some Model Ys are already in testing on the road:

However, Tesla has previously tested prototypes of new models several months before customer deliveries began.

Another contributor of ours, Maarten Vinkhuyzen, offered some useful comments on this topic underneath the article earlier today. His comments are based on previous Tesla announcements, how precise or careful the company has been about Model Y production statements, and his own deduction:

What was notable was that it was more careful this time around. Tesla talked about start of production, start of volume production, start of deliveries to public, all with different moments in time. That made me thinking.

The time line as I see it:

— start of the production line,
— end-to-end system testing,
— programming, configuring, debugging, and tuning.

— start of trial production,
— product QA, panel gaps, paint job, fit and finish,
— production of test vehicles for collision, safety, cold & hot climates, endurance.

— start building Model Y production line in Shanghai GF3
— start of production,
— vehicles for showroom and test-drives at USA dealers,
— first deliveries to employees.

— start of volume production,
— deliveries to employees Tesla and SpaceX,
— deliveries to first, preferred customers around Fremont.

— start of deliveries to public at large.

As you can see, Maarten’s forecast fits both the leaked information we received regarding “limited production” as well as Tesla’s official “fall 2020“* commencement of deliveries target. I don’t know enough about manufacturing to know if this timeline is realistic, but it looks logical to me.

The key summary note that I’ll repeat is: “limited production” ≠ customer deliveries. We did not receive information on when initial customer deliveries are expected, and we did not receive enough insight into what is underway or planned to know if Model Y development and production is moving along faster than initially expected. We also have not heard from Tesla on this matter despite reaching out for commentary on the topic.

We will update you if we learn more. In the meantime, it seems safe to say that 1) Tesla Model Y production is still on track (as Elon Musk has stated every time he’s been asked about it), 2) it seems clear that it will occur in Fremont, and 3) there’s a chance that it’s ahead of schedule — but our information does not prove that. If you hear more, feel free to drop us a note.

*h/t Fact Checking 

If you’d like to buy a Tesla Model 3 and want 1,000 miles of free Supercharging, feel free to use my referral code: — or use someone else’s if you have a friend or family member with a Tesla. I won’t cry.

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Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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