Tesla Teases Upcoming Compact EV Featuring Gen-3 Platform

Tesla teases the upcoming compact EV coming with the Gen-3 platform 6 photos
Photo: Tesla | Edited
Tesla teases the upcoming compact EV coming with the Gen-3 platformTesla Chinese EV renderingTesla Chinese EV renderingAlleged Tesla entry-level model testing mule spotted in ChinaTesla compact EV rendering
Less than a week from the Tesla Investor Day on March 1, people are anxious to learn more about the upcoming compact EV. Tesla knows this, and that's why the video released to mark the company's return to Palo Alto contains a potential teaser. Knowing how Elon Musk loves puzzles, we believe there may be more to the images in the video than meets the eye.
Tesla announced in January that it would unveil details about its Gen-3 architecture during the Investor Day on March 1. The new platform is expected to underpin a new model in Tesla's lineup that should be cheap enough to produce at scale, cutting production costs in half compared to the Gen-2 vehicles, the Model 3, and Model Y. There are many rumors about how the new model should look like, Elon Musk only saying that it would be "smaller for sure."

Smaller than the Model 3 means a compact model, and that's why almost all speculations and computer-generated images revolved around a compact hatchback. Nevertheless, we believe that Tesla's upcoming model should be a crossover for many obvious reasons. For once, the hatchback is becoming less and less popular even in Europe, and carmakers are moving away. Customers love SUVs, which is why Tesla surely considers a subcompact SUV as its next model.

Another reason is that hatchbacks were never popular in the U.S., and it wouldn't make sense to start working on a mass-market model that fewer people intend to buy in the future. Crossovers, on the other hand, are in high demand all over the world and are known to be a lot more profitable than legacy body forms.

Tesla seems to agree with our reasoning, based on a prototype spotted earlier this week in China. The camouflaged vehicle looked like an SUV and judging by the car's body, it shares the key characteristics with the Mazda CX-30. That's because Tesla used a test mule to test the underlying platform, and the body was borrowed from the Japanese crossover. The front part was undeniably a Tesla, though, bearing more than just a resemblance to the Model Y.

There are now more indications that Tesla's upcoming $25,000 EV would ride higher from the ground. Tesla may have hidden a teaser in the video shown to the public when it announced its new global engineering and AI headquarters in Palo Alto. Knowing how painstakingly Tesla curates its press materials, we're sure it's no coincidence.

At the 11:29 timestamp in the video below, you can see several design sketches spread on a desk while a car designer draws what looks like a Tesla Model Y body. Among the drawings, we can see a familiar silhouette. It's a design sketch released in 2020 by Tesla China when it opened its local R&D center to develop a Chinese-style EV. Tesla never explained what was up with the drawing, although many believed it showed the promised $25,000 electric vehicle that Tesla said it wasn't working on.

Nevertheless, the more interesting drawing could be the one above it, showing a white crossover. We're unsure whether this is a new drawing, but it appears to be a refined version of the Chinese model pictured in the previous illustration. On the other hand, the one with the blue car could be just an early Model Y drawing. What do you think? Could this be the design of the upcoming affordable crossover?

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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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