Tesla already has its hands full with the upcoming electric semi, next generation Roadster, and Model Y projects expected to launch over the next few years. However, after the Model Y is released, company CEO Elon Musk has confirmed that they’ll be working on a pickup truck. It’s a vehicle that's been in the works for over five years, and there’s no official release date set just yet.
Back in September, Musk hinted that the same team behind the Tesla Semi could be producing a miniature version of the model. During a shareholders meeting during the summer, he said that there would be a surprise at the Semi launch event. However, that ended up being the announcement of the upcoming Roadster.
Musk replied to a tweet on December 26th mentioning a future pickup truck, saying that it would be developed “right after Model Y.” He further detailed that the “core design/engineering elements” have been in development “for almost five years.” In a follow-up tweet, Musk said that it could be slightly bigger than the Ford F-150 weight class to accommodate “a really gamechanging...feature.”
I promise that we will make a pickup truck right after Model Y. Have had the core design/engineering elements in my mind for almost 5 years. Am dying to build it.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 26, 2017
Similar total size. Maybe slightly bigger to account for a really gamechanging (I think) feature I’d like to add.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 26, 2017
One of the aspects of the pickup truck that Musk wants to improve on is the balance of the ride regardless of if the vehicle has a full or empty load, and that was back at a Tesla event in 2013. The drive tends to be better at maximum weight, but he wants to build a lightweight electric pickup truck that feels good regardless of the cargo size. An electric battery would help in some ways to balance out the weight.
The Model Y is anticipated to be a compact SUV and was going to be built on a new platform. To presumably save production time, the company was able to change Musk’s mind and to use the same platform used for the mass-produced Model 3. Even further down the road, the potential for a brand-new SUV could crop up.
No specific dates were given on when the SUV or new pickup truck would be in production. Earlier this year, Musk said that a pickup truck announcement could happen as early as October 2018 up until April 2019. However, things have been delayed with Model 3 production taking longer than expected, which delayed the official Semi announcement.
With production expected for the Semi finally in 2019, that leaves the second-generation Roadster and Model Y vehicles next on the docket. It’s hard to imagine the pickup truck being built anytime soon, but an announcement could presumably still come sometime in 2019.