This article includes speculative illustrations for a compact Tesla model made by Jean Francois Hubert/SB-Medien that are neither related to nor endorsed by Tesla.
The “baby Tesla”, officially announced in 2020, is getting closer to its reveal and our colleagues created a speculative render showing what the automaker’s first try in the compact hatchback segment could look like. While it hasn’t been officially named yet, it’s often been referred to as the ‘Tesla Model 2’, though some have floated the Model C moniker too. It is expected to hit the market in 2023 slotting below the Model 3 and changing the automotive landscape with a targeted entry price of $25,000.
Tesla has been coy on details about the upcoming EV that will serve as an entry point to its model range. The only visual reference we have for a Tesla hatchback is an official sketch revealed in 2020 during a call for design submissions for a new model to be produced in China. In the same year, Elon Musk pledged for a market launch in roughly three years’ time – which means 2023 – while revealing the price estimate.
As suggested by our exclusive speculative renderings, the new Tesla could adopt an aerodynamic five-door bodystyle with a coupe-style roofline, large-diameter wheels, and short overhangs. Various design features from the larger Model 3 and Model Y could find their way into the compact hatchback like a similar windowline, pop-up door handles, a grille-less face, a panoramic sunroof, and LED headlights mounted on the front fenders. The baby Tesla might also inherit a few crossover styling cues which are quite popular with the target group, although those could be reserved for a future SUV sibling, if such a thing is in Tesla’s plans.
Back in 2020, Tesla showed this sketch for a compact model
The interior will most likely retain the signature Tesla minimalism, with a huge infotainment touchscreen in portrait orientation and not much else. It is also expected to offer plenty of room for the passengers and their luggage, taking advantage of the dedicated EV architecture and the practical two-box silhouette with a short bonnet. Tesla’s designers could add the yoke steering wheel and the weird shifting process that debuted in the facelifted Model S / Model X earlier this year, but since this is an entry-level model with a wider target group they might opt for something less controversial.
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Destined To Become A Best Seller, Should Undercut Its Rivals
If Tesla keeps its promises about the $25,000 base price, then the compact hatchback will undercut its main rivals in the segment, the VW ID.3 and the Nissan Leaf, being cheaper even than smaller EVs like the Peugeot e-208 and Honda e superminis. At this price, it will be comparable with ICE-powered C-Segment hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf, signaling the start of a new era.
In terms of technology, the model is expected to use the automaker’s 4,680 battery cells halving production costs close to $107 per kWh while offering an increased range over conventional batteries. Elon Musk has said that the lowest acceptable range for a Tesla product is at least 250 miles (402 km), which sounds like a good number for the entry-level variant of the upcoming model and the best yet in the compact segment.
Of course, the baby Tesla will be offered in more expensive variants with a longer range, possibly matching the 352 miles (566 km) of the Model 3 Long Range. We also expect to see a performance-focused version with more powerful dual electric motors offering hot hatch-shaming performance. The high-end trims will likely get the latest ADAS tech including Tesla’s Autopilot, although it is highly unlikely for the model to be fully autonomous as Elon Musk was hoping for a few years back.
Tesla’s first compact hatchback will likely be produced at the Shangai Gigafactory in China, for both the local market and global exports. However, there are reports stating that Tesla could also produce it in the Berlin Gigafactory in Germany for the European market, and/or in the US for North America. The latter option would make it eligible for up to $12,500 incentives planned for locally produced EVs, only if Tesla will allow workers in its US factory to be represented by a labor union.