Tesla has released a teaser image previewing the new Model Y. Displayed at the brand's Annual Shareholder Meeting in California, the image suggests that the compact SUV will have a more striking design than its siblings that negates the use of door mirrors and will feature a bonnet with strong lines and bulging arches.
The lack of mirrors on the car's door suggests that it will use a camera-based system with cabin screens displaying the view of the back. Currently, global laws require the fitment of mirrors, but the Model Y isn't due to go on sale internationally for several more years – CEO Elon Musk hinted that it would make it to market around late 2019 or early 2020 – meaning that the laws could be changed by then to allow this design.
Musk had previously confirmed that the Model Y will be based on the Model 3 platform. It will come with a significantly more advanced supercomputer brain than current Teslas, which is expected to advance Tesla's current Autopilot technology by some margin. Currently, the system can control a car's steering, throttle and brakes in certain motorway scenarios.
Following the Model Y, Tesla will produce an electric cargo van, pickup and minibus, all using the chassis of the Model X.
Tesla's shift from producing only cars to also launching commercial vehicles will come as part of its 'Master Plan, Part Deux', a strategy that also outlines ambitions to take the lead with autonomous technology and transform the public transport sector.
Musk also envisions a car-sharing platform to more fully utilise passenger-carrying potential in cars that would otherwise be sat outside owners' homes for the majority of the time when they're not in use. Once self-driving cars are approved by regulators, they could be summoned from anywhere.
"Since most cars are only in use by their owner for 5-10 percent of the day, the fundamental economic utility of a true self-driving car is likely to be several times that of a car which is not," said Musk.
Tesla was expected to begin initial operations in India this year but has not yet confirmed any plans to do so.