Elon Musk used an open-ended Twitter message addressed to Tesla customers Tuesday to promise an electric pickup truck "right after Model Y." That's the compact crossover he's been promising with an unknown arrival date.
Musk took to Twitter the day after Christmas to thank owners for their faith in the company and ask them for feedback on how to improve. He said he already has the core design and engineering elements in mind for a pickup and is "dying to build it."
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
Musk teased the idea of a pickup in November during the reveal of the electric semi truck and the surprise announcement of the next-generation Roadster sports car. He showed a rendering of a truck that looks like the Tesla semi with a pickup bed big enough to swallow a Ford F-150 SuperCrew, though it left many people with more questions than answers (perhaps the actual pickup will look something more like this?). He added in Tuesday's Twitter thread that the new truck might be bigger than an F-150 "to account for a really gamechanging (I think) feature I'd like to add."
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
Electrek writes that Musk in a Tesla owners event in 2013 discussed his idea for a Tesla truck:
One of the things that I think should be present in trucks is something like an air suspension that dynamically adjusts the load and sorta keeps the angle of the truck correct and the ride height even and adjust the dampening in real-time. Because the challenge you have with any vehicle where there's a big potential difference between the minimum and maximum load is that the suspension is always wrong and usually wrong by a lot.
He's also said he envisions a pickup with the performance of a sports car but more towing power and carrying capacity than a comparably sized gas or diesel pickup.
As for the Model Y, Musk most recently told investors and analysts it would be based on the Model 3 platform in order to bring it to market faster and meet the demand for SUVs. He had previously suggested the Model Y could arrive in 2019, or not for "a few years."
While neither the Model Y or pickup are technically new ideas, they add major commitments and costs to an already daunting to-do list for Tesla. To recap, that now includes fixing production bottlenecks and ramping production of the all-important Model 3, developing a production version of the semi and figuring out where to build it, doing the same with the Roadster, maybe opening a factory in China, and now launching a new Model Y crossover and pickup truck — all, presumably, in the next couple of years. Oh, and becoming profitable. (Can't forget that.)
In addition to the new models, Musk on Tuesday promised "major browser upgrades coming to all cars in a few months" and "Vastly better maps/nav coming soon," among other things. As of this writing, he was still posting responses to Twitter users.