In the short term, the most important question about Tesla over the next few days will be how many electric cars the company actually delivered in the past year – according to CEO Elon Musk, it should be at least 500,000, which no longer seemed unrealistic shortly before the end. But that only affects last year, and Tesla has big plans again in 2021. Some of this should come as a surprise and could change over the course of the year. Shortly before the beginning of 2021, it did not look like many new models at Tesla. But Model Y is almost certain to come to Europe, and Model S and Model X could at least get an early interior refresh.
Model Y for Europe – many questions unanswered
The fact that Model Y will also reach Germany about a year later after the North American launch in spring 2020 has been on Tesla’s order website for a long time: “Beginning of 2021” is specified there as the scheduled date for the start of production. CEO Musk had said in April 2020 that the crossover electric car would only be delivered from the Gigafactory near Berlin in Europe. According to previously unofficial information, Tesla also wants to export the Model Y from the Gigafactory in China from 2021; The export of the Model 3 from China, which began in October 2020, is also to be continued and significantly expanded.
In this respect, European customers can expect many Teslas from China in 2021. After the first reports of their high quality, this is good news. At the same time, there is less pressure for Tesla to finish the Gigafactory in Grünheide quickly. Production there is scheduled to start in mid-2021, but according to CEO Musk, it will be slow because new production processes and battery technologies are being used. In the meantime, Tesla could supply the European market with Model Y from China – and that’s important because many new electric cars from other manufacturers have been announced for 2021.
4680 cells in Tesla Model S plaid
According to Musk, Tesla can barely have enough production capacity because the demand for its electric cars always exceeds supply. The first target of 500,000 Model Ys per year from Grünheide is unlikely to be achieved before 2022. But production is expected to start in China as early as the beginning of 2021, where Tesla’s Model 3 reached an extrapolated 250,000 per year within a year. And in the US state of Texas, the next gigafactory is already taking shape, construction of which did not begin until late summer. Parts of it could also go into operation as early as 2021 and produce Model Y for the US East.
For all of this, Tesla needs more and more battery cells. At least one application for their production on the site of the German Gigafactory can be expected in 2021. According to Musk, the first large factory for Tesla’s own 4680 cells is to be built in Germany. But the previous battery partners are also preparing to produce the new format on behalf of Tesla.
It can be ruled out that the first Model Ys for and from China will already be equipped with it. Rather, this could be the case with electric cars from the German Gigafactory right from the start, although their number would initially remain relatively small. In any case, the 4680 cells from Tesla should arrive at the latest with the Model S Plaid at the end of 2021, because the stated performance data and range require a small leap.
Refurbishment for Model S and Model X?
The more important innovations at Tesla in 2021 are therefore likely to take place less at the level of new electric car models, but rather behind the scenes in production and batteries. But in the early part of the year there could still be at least a visual refresh for Model S and Model X. A more modern interior design has been expected for some time, and speculation increased in the weeks before the end of the year because Tesla sold existing vehicles at (moderate) discounts and internally announced a break in production. Most recently, the hacker @greentheonly discovered software code that suggests an indoor camera as in Model 3 and Model Y in the two premium Teslas.