Elon Musk: Tesla “Bus” Will Use Model X Chassis


Tesla Bus Inspired By a Volkswagen

Tesla Bus Inspired By a Volkswagen

According to Elon Musk, Tesla’s “high passenger-density urban transport” bus (?) has been inspired, design wise, by the California Custom Volkswagen Kombi. This information came to light over a week ago.

Word of the “high passenger-density urban transport” bus (?) was first released as part of Tesla’s Master Plan Part Deux, but now we’ve learned that the upcoming Tesla bus will actually be a minibus (we’re sure BYD is relieved) and that it will ride on the Tesla Model X chassis.

Tesla Bus To Ride On Model X Chassis

Tesla Bus To Ride On Model X Chassis

Jalopnik’s accurate guessing comes from Jason Torchinsky, who states:

“The Tesla underlying architecture already lends itself to a box-on-wheels remarkably well. I’ve even written about how I thought the Model X should have been a van from the start.”

Here’s a render released by Jalopnik:

Tesla Minibus Render Via Jalopnik

Tesla Minibus Render Via Jalopnik

According to Elon Musk, the electric bus is in the development stage right now, but a prototype could be unveiled sometime next year.

And here’s what Musk said of the bus in Master Plan Part Deux:

“With the advent of autonomy, it will probably make sense to shrink the size of buses and transition the role of bus driver to that of fleet manager. Traffic congestion would improve due to increased passenger areal density by eliminating the center aisle and putting seats where there are currently entryways, and matching acceleration and braking to other vehicles, thus avoiding the inertial impedance to smooth traffic flow of traditional heavy buses. It would also take people all the way to their destination. Fixed summon buttons at existing bus stops would serve those who don’t have a phone. Design accommodates wheelchairs, strollers and bikes.”

Sources: Jalopnik

Categories: Tesla


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22 Comments on "Elon Musk: Tesla “Bus” Will Use Model X Chassis"

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I’ll take mine as a westfalia with pop top, sink, stove and seating for 6. This is my dream car.

The Tesla bus may not be for sale to individuals . Sounds like it’s going to be an autonomous “city shuttle” ….like Ford’s smart mobility vans.


Tesla’s master plan is looks to me like high end cars for the wealthy and autonomous mass transit for everyone else.

It will truly be a lost opportunity if they don’t offer this to the public. It is far and away more compelling than the Model X.

The problem is aero. The bus will be designed to travel at city speeds where wind resistance will have little effect on efficiency so the envelope can be designed for maximum interior volume.

The envelope for the Model X is designed to seat 7 and be aerodynamic enough to travel at highway speeds for maximum range.

If you took the box shape of that bus with a 90 kWh pack and shoved it down the highway at 65-70 mph you would get maybe just over half the range of the Model X which is already quite a bit lower than the Model S90D.

Thats OK, by the time it hits the market we’ll be seeing 150kWh packs, Which is enough to get you between RV resorts or the beach.
Add a nice solar shade for a little juice on long weekend camps and I’m sold.

I was hoping for the Budd-e to go into production but this will do just fine too !

Get it made Elon !

Shut up and take my money!!!

Why should BYD be relieved?

Tesla aims to replaces traditional municipal heavy buses(diesel,CNG,hybrid or electric) with autonomous mini-buses.

Companies which make real products that actually sell in the real world are generally not too worried about other companies talking about making a prototype that requires technology (in this case, full driving autonomy) that requires full development of a tech now only in its infancy.

The claims that we’ll see fully autonomous cars within just a few years… well, let’s just say that speaking as a computer programmer, I find that idea to be wildly over-optimistic. Even Google’s most advanced self-driving cars, the ones that don’t even have a steering wheel, only operate in certain restricted areas. We’re a very long way from those being able to operate everywhere a passenger car can now operate: every public street, parking lots, driveways, alleyways, construction zones, driving on the grass for event parking, etc. etc.

In case you didn’t know byd makes electric buses

Ha! So Tesla will produce the VW Budd-e before VW. Fantastic!

That’ll teach them to prevaricate for (how many?) years.

That thing on the picture with a ~90-120 kWh battery pack could be a huge seller.

Great but please fix the front. Looks like a rat or something.

Forthright comments such as this can help avoid disasters like the Pontiac Aztek. I see your point about the rat face, with the eyes being headlights and the air intake slot as the nose. How would people feel about optional skylight windows like with the VW split window microbuses?

The VW Budd-e concept just got “Smoked” by the Tesla Type 2 mini bus concept. Kind of like how The Nissan Leaf is getting “Torched” by the upcoming Tesla Model 3 delivery next year.

Looks like the cat bus from My Neighbor Totoro, haha!

Love the paradigm shift and forward thinking.

As a lawyer, I’d be concerned with the liability of interpassenger conflict in the context of public shared transport, when there is no human representative for the public transit organization.

I’m not saying that a bus driver or uber pool driver guarantees no conflict between shared riders, but that it at least discourages and reduces the incidence of physical confrontations and crime.

There would certainly need to be a mechanism to clear the busses of any squatters.

Subways have this issue in cold weather but to a lesser extent because the trains are usually large enough that a small number of perpetual riders will go unnoticed and don’t disrupt operation for others.

The same would not be true for a homeless person using a fare to escape the elements in a small autonomous climate controlled bus.

Minibus on a Model X chassis, that means an aluminum chassis (with ludicrous mode?). That means it’s going to be very expensive, the last thing we need is a $100,000 EV minibus. The more conventional VW BUDDe probably won’t have much to worry about.

I don’t know why everyone keeps talking about this concept as if it will be a product for sale to individual customers. Tesla has been very clear that this concept is a “high passenger-density urban transport” bus. That being said its chassis won’t be made of ultralight expensive materials like aluminum or have Ludicrous levels of hp. We already know that even the chassis of the Model 3 won’t be made of aluminum so why would be assumed that an urban bus would be made of all aluminum? It would need to have decent power to accelerate its 8 or 9 passengers into city traffic and be able to operate most of a full day at city stop and go speeds. To accomplish this the bus would only need one motor that could come from the least expensive and lowest power motor Tesla will be making at the time. It doesn’t need to go 0-60 in less than 6 seconds. Then all it would need really is a 90 KWh pack to cover a 12 hour shift that a normal cab would cover. The average cab driver in NYC,for example, drives 150-200 miles in a 12 hour shift. The bus… Read more »

I followed this build for a while.
I was sad to see it end…

it is already being tested with Tesla batteries http://www.ev-liberty.com/electric_vw_samba_bus.html