Tesla Model B?

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

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

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

High Passenger Density Van

Source: Tesla, Verge via Seeking Alpha