A video that purportedly shows Tesla's electric van prototype is doing the rounds on social media, with the uploader claiming that it shows a new Tesla people-mover designed for The Boring Company.
If the vehicle in the video uploaded on Twitter by Las Vegas-based content creator Jacob Orth (via Electrek) is indeed a Tesla prototype – it does feature the company logo on the steering wheel – it appears to be in a very early development stage. It features a large glazed area and it looks like an autonomous shuttle bus.
The vehicle has a total of 12 seats, including one for the driver. It's hard to spot if it has any wheels mounted under the flat floor. Orth describes the vehicle as a "secret Tesla van prototype designed for Elon Musk's Vegas Loop."
To some extent, the van-like passenger vehicle does resemble a concept unveiled by The Boring Company in 2017 as a preview for a 12-passenger vehicle designed for its Las Vegas Loop system.
Whether this is the real deal or not, it must be said that a Tesla electric van, minibus, or robotaxi has been mentioned for the first time by the EV maker back in 2016, in the Tesla Master Plan Part 2.
At the time, CEO Elon Musk mentioned two new segments Tesla was looking to electrify: heavy-duty trucks and "high passenger-density urban transport."
While the former materialized in December 2022 in the form of the Tesla Semi, the latter is still in the works (presumably). Elon Musk has also talked about Tesla planning to make an electric minibus based on the Model X before, but that project didn't become a reality.
Then there were talks about Tesla making a van-like passenger vehicle for Musk's The Boring Company. The tunnel currently uses Tesla Model Y and Model X vehicles, but the company has said in the past that it could build a 12-passenger vehicle for the LVCC Loop. Recently, there have been rumors that Tesla has been building a prototype for The Boring Company.
Is it the vehicle in the video? We can't confirm its authenticity since Tesla does not have a PR department, but if this is the real deal, we expect to see more of it in the coming weeks and months.
After all, if a content creator had this level of access into what we assume is a highly restricted area, it probably means he also had the company's blessing to shoot and distribute the video.