Image: KDC Garage
An electric van has been a topic of discussion at Tesla for some time now. And now, the company could make a highly configurable Robovan for people and cargo with an optional solar power canopy, Elon Musk said.
Tesla's electric van is very expected. This kind of transport was mentioned in “Master Plan, Part Deux.” Also, during the Q4 2020 Earnings Call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the company will definitely make an electric van at some point. It was also previously discussed that the Tesla van may even have solar panels. It has now become known that a Robovan could be made, which leads to the idea that it could also be part of a robot taxi fleet.
In the summer of 2020, it became known that Tesla, together with the Boring Company, are developing electric vans to carry 12 passengers and their luggage. This development may become the beginning—and later lead to the start of—the mass production of electric vans that can transport passengers or goods not only in the Boring Company tunnels, but also on the surface of the earth.
Electric vans will indeed be a sought-after product among many companies aiming to become carbon neutral, as well as people who have large families, for example. That is why this segment is now actively developing. However, Tesla's van can be distinguished from competitors by a number of features, such as the presence of solar panels on the roof.
On Thursday, Musk took to Twitter to ask his readers if Tesla should make “a highly configurable Robovan for people & cargo?” In response to @teslaownersSV/Twitter's recommendation to build a car with more room than Model X, Musk posted a wink emoji. While this response could have just been teasing, it is more likely that Tesla's leader hinted that the company was already developing it. While we cannot know for sure if this is the case, in light of the fact that this idea has been discussed over the years, the development of the van is likely.
😉— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 7, 2022
In addition to being “highly configurable,” the new car could have optional solar panels on the roof. Since the roof area of a van is larger than that of a passenger car, more solar panels can be installed on it, which would generate more energy. However, the possibilities can be further expanded with an additional canopy that could unfold on both sides of the roof, increasing its area by three times, while providing three times more energy.
A project of what such a roof could look like was recently presented by Tesla in Germany, at the IdeasExpo. It was a solar range extender trailer equipped with Starlink. Since it was presented only at the exhibition and was not unveiled by the company as a new product, it was considered as a demonstration of the possibilities. However, it seems that this idea is exactly what can be applied to the roof of the Tesla van.
Pretty much. A van would have more roof height, so you could stand or sit under it for shade.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 7, 2022
Notably, Musk has named the likely new product “Robovan,” hinting that it will be fully autonomous. This overlaps with Tesla's plans to develop a 'dedicated robotaxi', as announced by him during Cyber Rodeo, which marked the grand launch of Giga Texas. There is a high probability that Robovan will combine a wide range of features and variations, so it is natural that it was called “a highly configurable” vehicle.
© 2022, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.