What kind of mini car does Tesla CEO Elon Musk have in mind?

Tesla expanded its lineup towards the bottom when it introduced the Model 3, its first so-called mass-market model. The downward expansion will continue in the coming years, according to a tweet from company co-founder and CEO Elon Musk. His team has started developing a mini car.

Musk’s tweet raises more questions than it answers, which is par for the course when it comes to the company’s future products. It doesn’t help that there’s no universally accepted definition for the term mini car. Even Mini hasn’t nailed it down, offering retro-styled models of varying sizes spread out across several segments. We don’t think Musk’s message refers to a true Mini-fighting hatchback, though.

To us, it sounds like Tesla will release a commuter-type vehicle in the vein of the advanced, limited-production Volkswagen XL1 made between 2014 and 2016. Volkswagen’s offered space for two passengers, though Musk suggested Tesla’s will arrive as a single-seater. It’s safe to bet the yet-unnamed model will be fully electric because we can’t imagine Tesla releasing a car powered by a gasoline- or diesel-burning engine.

The term mini car is open to interpretation. Musk might have been referring to a scaled-down Tesla for kids like the Model S-like one launched by Radio Flyer. The Peel P50 certainly qualifies as a mini car: it holds the record for the world’s smallest car. Alternatively, the mini car could take the form of a vehicle closer to a go-kart than to a Model X. Musk hasn’t released more information so we’ll have to be patient to find out more.

Tesla certainly has its plate full. In addition to a mini car, the company is hard at work on the Model Y, a Model 3-sized crossover positioned below the Model X. It’s expected to make its debut in March of 2019. It’s also developing a pickup truck, a semi truck, and the next-generation Roadster which, if Tesla sticks to plan, will come with an impressive specifications sheet. Plus, it will need to update the Model S and Model X sooner or later.


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