Tesla Cancels $25,000 Model 2 Plans, Shifts Focus to Robotaxis [Updated: Musk Responds]

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Last updated Apr 5, 2024

In a startling turn of events, Reuters reports that Tesla has abandoned its plans to launch a $25,000 electric vehicle, a project that is integral to the company’s strategy for making electric vehicles more accessible and expanding its EV market domination. This move has sent ripples through the auto industry and financial markets. Here’s what we know about this developing story.

Update: Multiple outlets are reporting that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has responded to Reuter’s report, refuting the claims made in the article. More updates to come!

Reuters: Development of the Tesla Model 2 Halted

Tesla Model 2 cancelled

According to breaking news reported by Reuters, the word among Tesla leadership is that all work on the $25,000 Tesla in development is halted, effective immediately. Tesla had previously indicated in January that production of the affordable model, often referred to as the Model 2, would commence at its Texas factory in the second half of 2025.

However, the company is now shifting its focus towards developing robotaxis, despite the greater engineering and regulatory challenges this entails. This pivot was revealed in a late February meeting attended by numerous Tesla employees, where Elon Musk’s directive to prioritize robotaxis was communicated.

The decision to cancel the Model 2 project has left industry analysts questioning Tesla’s ability to meet its ambitious sales targets. Elon Musk had aspired for Tesla to sell 20 million vehicles by 2030, a goal that now seems more elusive with the affordable car’s cancellation.

The company’s current cheapest model, the rear-wheel drive Model 3 sedan, is priced at around $39,000 in the U.S., well above the intended price point of the Model 2. Federal tax credits have contributed to Tesla’s sales growth, but have been reduced or eliminated for some Tesla models in recent months.

Chinese EVs a Looming Threat

Chinese EV competition: BYD Han

Tesla’s shift in strategy comes amid intense competition, particularly from Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers who have successfully entered the market with significantly lower-priced models. This competitive pressure appears to have influenced Tesla’s strategic redirection.

The move comes less than a week after Tesla began a ‘free’ Full Self-Driving trial for all Tesla drivers with capable hardware. It remains to be seen if Tesla’s biggest FSD promo to date will drive conversions towards the $12,000 add-on. 

As Tesla discontinues its plans for the Model 2, the company’s focus on robotaxis and high-end models like the Cybertruck continues. However, this approach has raised concerns about Tesla’s market positioning and long-term profitability, given the rapid growth and pricing strategies of competitors, particularly in the burgeoning electric vehicle market in China.

This development is a significant deviation from Tesla’s long-standing goal of making electric vehicles more affordable and widely accessible, a vision that has been central to its brand and business model. The cancellation of the affordable Tesla model and the company’s recalibrated focus on robotaxis and higher-end vehicles mark a critical juncture in its journey, with potential implications for its competitive edge and market share.

As Tesla navigates these strategic shifts and market dynamics, the automotive industry and investors are keenly watching to see how these changes will affect the company’s trajectory and the broader electric vehicle landscape. This is a developing story, and further updates are anticipated as more information becomes available.

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