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EV maker Tesla hints at big future plans

Tesla's future looks to include an electric compact SUV, minibus and pick-up truck.

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Electric vehicle specialist Tesla Motors is to expand its range with a compact SUV, a minibus and a pick-up.

The US maker could also add a van to its growing line-up of EVs.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has confirmed the existence of future vehicles and their potential names in replies to speculation on social media site Twitter.

The compact SUV, which will be built on the chassis of Tesla’s most recent unveiling the Model 3 saloon (pictured above), is expected to be dubbed the Model Y.

In a ‘Master Plan Part Deux’ posting on Tesla’s website, Musk says that Tesla’s electric vehicle product line should be expanded “to address all major segments.

“With the Model 3, a future compact SUV and a new kind of pickup truck, we plan to address most of the consumer market,” he adds.

In response to questions on Twitter Musk says that the Tesla minibus and potential larger sisters will be built on the chassis of the current Model X.

And in reply to British Twitter user James Ross who questions the relevance of a pickup to European users, most of whom drive vans instead, Musk states that “it probably makes sense to build (a van) off the pickup chassis.”

The clues to the Tesla product future have come as Musk staged a launch party for Tesla’s ‘Gigafactory’, a battery manufacturing plant in Nevada that when complete in 2020 will be the largest building in terms of footprint in the world.

The £3.8bn project occupies 3,200 acres and currently just 1.9 million of the planned eventual 5.8m sq ft of operational space is in use. It is expected to produce 35GWh of battery power by 2018, which is more than the 2014 production of batteries across the globe.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.