Even as Tesla struggles to deliver its entry-level Model 3 sedan to consumers amid plans to produce a compact SUV, an electric semi, and a new Roadster, CEO Elon Musk is adding yet another vehicle to the company's promised lineup.
Responding to a wishful tweet from a Canadian marijuana-seed vendor who said, "need an electric pickup truck please," Musk pledged on Twitter that his Palo Alto electric company would grant the Vancouver Seed Bank's wish.
"I promise that we will make a pickup truck," Musk tweeted Dec. 26. "Have had the core design/engineering elements in my mind for almost 5 years. Am dying to build it."
Musk said in his tweet that the pickup would come "right after" the Model Y, which is to be a compact electric SUV, and is tentatively scheduled to go into production in mid-2019.
The flamboyant CEO's pickup-truck confirmation follows his teaser from a July 2016 "master plan" document, in which he referred to a "new kind of pickup truck." In April, Musk had tweeted that the pickup would be unveiled within 18 to 24 months.
After responding to the Vancouver Seed Bank -- a company managed by a former would-be socialist politician who quit his Canadian federal candidacy over a video showing him dropping LSD -- Musk gave some good news to a Twitter user who asked him if the pickup would be as large as, or larger than, the ubiquitous Ford F-150 truck.
"Similar total size," Musk tweeted. "Maybe slightly bigger to account for a really gamechanging (I think) feature I'd like to add."
According to Ford, a standard F-150 is about 18 feet long, seven feet wide and about six feet tall.
Another Twitter user chimed in with hopes that the Tesla pickup's purported game-changing feature would be a toilet.
Revelation of the apparently concrete plans for the pickup came soon after Tesla was roiled by another round of trouble. With every vehicle model so far plagued by production delays, Musk in November announced the entry-level Model 3 had been delayed as well, and was three months behind in its target delivery date.
Coming after hundreds of job losses -- described by Musk as performance-related layoffs and by some critics as retaliation for attempted unionization -- the Model 3 delay was bad news for the closely watched firm, which in November also announced a $619 million quarterly loss, far higher than Wall Street had expected. The company is also facing three lawsuits alleging it ignored racism against black workers on its Fremont factory floor.
But Tesla and Musk received a welcome boost later in November after announcing Tesla would make an electric semi truck, leading a number of major companies, including Walmart and Pepsi, to put down deposits for the potentially revolutionary transport vehicles.
In a surprise announcement during the semi-truck launch, Musk also revealed a prototype of a new Roadster, which he said would be the fastest production car in the world, going from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than two seconds and hitting a top speed of more than 250 miles per hour. Tesla is taking reservations for that road rocket, which is to sell for $200,000, or $250,000 for one of the 1,000 "Founders Series" vehicles. Musk said the Roadster would be available in 2020.
© 2018 San Jose Mercury News under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media. All rights reserved.
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