Musk Says 12-Passenger Tesla Model X A Possibility

1 month ago by Eric Loveday 11

Tesla Model B?

Why make a Tesla Minibus when a 12-passenger Tesla Model X will work just fine?

Perhaps the most unexpected announcement from Tesla’s Q1 earnings/conference call was that a 12-seat Tesla Model X could come at some point in the future.

Yes, a 12-seater.

It was approximately one year ago (as part of Master Plan Part Deux) when Tesla first made mention of what it called a “high passenger-density urban transport bus.” At the time, Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated that the bus was inspired by Volkswagen’s California Custom Kombi (image below).

Volkswagen Kombi

A few months later Musk was discussing the minibus and stated that it would actually use the platform of the Model X.

Tesla Model X

We now learn that the minibus is likely more connected to the X than first thought. Quoting Musk from the Q1 conference call:

“I don’t know if the bus thing really makes sense in the shared fully autonomous environment. If it costs less than a bus ticket to make use of a shared autonomy fleet to go wherever you want, point to point, well why don’t you just use that? So I don’t know.”

Musk then briefly linked in tunnels and his new The Boring Company as one possible transport solution, but he added a rather intriguing comment linked to the Model X that really caught our attention:

“So I don’t know. I don’t know if the bus thing, it does have the density to some degree, but then you could basically have something like a higher-density Model X or something like that that’s got the 10 or 12 seats in it. Would you want more than that?”

A 10- or 12-seat Model X would surely resemble some sort of large van, but would ride on the same Model X chassis that the 5-7 seat version does today. That would simplify things quite a bit for Tesla and probably does make more sense, at least from a financial point, than a small bus.

But would this 12-seat Model X mega van be available for the general public to purchase?

High Passenger Density Van

Source: Tesla, Verge via Seeking Alpha

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11 responses to "Musk Says 12-Passenger Tesla Model X A Possibility"

  1. Mat says:

    This would be ideal for team road- or field trips. Hockey, soccer, ski racing, volleyball, basketball, baseball, brass band, orchestra, dance group … the number of trips kids (including mine) undertake in small teams of 12 or less across the city and the province is tremendous. This is more than just getting the team from A to B. The van ride is a very important part of the experience.

    1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ comrade sven says:

      Those van fully loaded are death traps on the road that have resulted in many deadly accidents. Fully loaded with people, these vans are very difficult to control at highway speeds, especially if any collision avoidance maneuvers need to be performed. Some believe that they are a defective design.

      1. Mat says:

        Excellent point! I am always worried when my kids take road trips all across and along the Rockies to their race venues. All the more important for such vehicle to have the active safety features and stability controls of a Tesla.

  2. SJC says:

    Instead of a 40 passenger bus that weighs 40,000 pounds you have a 12 passenger shuttle that weighs less than 12,000 pounds. The routing and handling would be better and autonomous makes sense.

  3. wavelet says:

    Sigh. Why do people take every little comment Musk makes like a Mosaic pronouncement, even when he himself isn’t paying attention?

    Given the US average weight of an adult (178lbs), 12 of those with a just a little little clothing/personal hand luggage would weigh 2200+ lbs. 2500+ is more likely, with some actual luggage.

    The current Model X’s curb weight is 5441 lbs, and any version large enough to hold ~double the people and weight would need to be much larger and have a much bigger-capacity battery for any decent range. That means much higher curb weight, and pretty definitely would _far_ exceed the current X’s 6800lbs GVWR.

    Basically, you’d need a real truck chassis, and something at least as strong as the Mercedes Sprinter 12-passenger van:
    http://www.mbvans.com/sprinter/commercial-vans/passenger-van

    No WAY a Model X platform can handle 12 passengers on a BEV drivetrain with decent range.

    1. Vexar says:

      Yeah, because it’s not like anyone’s making a BEV bus with 200+ miles of range. Oh, wait.

      Seriously, the only hesitation I see for BEVs right now is in the pickup and class-8 long-haul freight truck space, due to battery density limits. If Tesla, Inc. is going to show something off in September to address both, then what vehicle segment can’t BEVs address? Earth-movers? Mining equipment? Oh, wait. AGAIN.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Thank you, Wavelet.

      Yeah, this was pretty obviously just a random thought from Elon, and not something really thought through.

      I think the staff of InsideEVs needs to step back and not focus so much on offhand comments from Elon. It’s great that Elon is such an “idea machine”, always spinning out new ideas. The world needs more visionaries like him!

      But many of Elon’s ideas are far from practical, and don’t deserve to be the focus of an article here.

    3. SJC says:

      You just need a chassis that can handle 8,000 pounds, it does not have to be a truck chassis.

      IMO the reason he mentioned the Model X is the falcon wing doors. The 12 passenger shuttle would have 3 on each side for an EV shuttle “limo”.

  4. Bob Nan says:

    Makes sense, but please don’t call it Model-X, it should have some unique name.

    This type of van will be used by rental agencies who rent it out to families who like to go on a group tour.

    But please install symmetrical doors on both sides so that it will be easy for passengers to get in. Even in case of accident, passengers can be quickly pulled out safely.

    1. John says:

      It’ll be called the Model XXX

      =)

  5. John Doe says:

    With at least 9 seats, at least 200km real world driving range in winter and focus on a quiet ride (as close to an e-Golf as possible) I will hand over my hard earned cash.

    Does not hurt if it is made in aluminium, and has most of the Tesla tech included.

    They could sell A LOT of this model in Europe, and it should be available as a cargo van as well.
    Very few working people drive a pick-up in Europe. They have a van where their tools and cargo are safe and dry. But in this marked, it must cost between a model S and 3, to sell in volumes and make a change.

    Some European van makers are starting to offer electric versions of their vans.. but the range is pathetic.
    Oh.. and you have to be able to hook a trailer on, and use a roof rack too.

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