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A bus from Tesla?

Design study © Tesla

Elon Musk is the busy boss of car manufacturer Tesla. You don’t necessarily have to share his peculiar political views, but Tesla – in the meantime – is a very successful car manufacturer. The world’s best-selling car in 2023 was the “Tesla Y”, which is built in plants in the USA, Germany (Grünheide near Berlin) and China.

And Elon Musk still has big plans. He wants to significantly expand the range of passenger cars, pickups, vans, the “Cybertruck” and the full-blown “Tesla Semi” lorry are in the pipeline – and the first test models are already on the road …

And now there is not only talk of a Tesla bus, but it has long been rumoured that the Tesla bus is coming. Definitely!

Nikola Tesla – the namesake

The car manufacturer is named after Nikola Tesla, an outstanding electrical engineer. He invented countless innovations in the field of electrical engineering, in particular he is the father of the “two-phase alternating current” for the transmission of electrical energy. He was awarded more than 280 patents in his lifetime.

He was born on 10 July 1856 in Smiljan, Croatia. His parents were the Serbian Orthodox priest Milutin Tesla and his wife Georgina. Nikola Tesla died on 17 January 1943 in New York, where he had lived since 1884.

When Elon Musk launched his new car brand on the world’s markets, Nikola Tesla seemed to him to be a worthy “godfather” for his vehicles. A thought that is easy to understand.

About the planned bus

We have already briefly discussed the great success of the car manufacturer Tesla on the world’s markets. But Elon Musk is not a man who is satisfied with success once it has been achieved. Musk wants more. Not just more car series – such as smaller cars at reasonable prices like a “Tesla 2” – of which there are already pictures of what it could look like one day.

Musk has observed the success of electric buses from manufacturers such as the Chinese company BYD – whose buses we have long been familiar with in Germany – or the American company Proterra. According to Tesla, the latter has developed an outstanding electric drive. Which – as unfair as life can be – did not protect it from going bankrupt at the beginning of 2023. Meanwhile, Volvo has secured the electric division of Proterra from the bankruptcy estate.

Elon Musk thought that what they (BYD and Proterra) could do, Tesla could do too. And so the plan for the Tesla bus came to fruition. It is not yet clear whether it will be a bus or a coach – but why should one exclude the other? Initial “renderings” suggest both.

The following technical details have already been revealed: the body of the bus is to be deliberately lightweight. There is a very sensible reason for this: weight that the bus does not have to set in motion does not consume any energy. Teska intends to use LFP (lithium iron phosphate) cell technology for the batteries. This is easy to handle and Tesla has had very good experience with this cell chemistry in car construction. The batteries are to have a storage capacity of 300 kWh. The Mercedes eCitaro also has this storage capacity, and with its (heavy) steel body it has a minimum range of 200 kilometres. And the Tesla is supposed to be lighter.     

On top of all that, an unusually low price for the bus has been mentioned … let’s observe which of the plans eventually materialize.

Design study © Tesla