Amidst nine months of "production hell" for the Tesla Model 3 electric car, the company's next vehicle has somewhat fallen off the radar.

According to a report Wednesday by Reuters, Tesla has now put out requests to suppliers for initial bids on parts for the Tesla Model Y, its high-volume crossover utility intended to be more affordable than the $80,000-and-up Model X.

Two sources familiar with Tesla's supply chains told Reuters those documents set a target of November 2019 for the start of Model Y production.

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The Model Y will be an SUV based on the Model 3, and smaller than the Model X. Musk had said in February the company planned to start making investments in Model Y production toward the end of 2018.

Now Tesla has reportedly put out an RFI—a request for information—to its suppliers and is accepting preliminary bids for supplies of Model Y parts, which starts the production planning process.

Any major Model Y program would require a new assembly plant, though Reuters' sources said the bids were for initial production at Tesla's factory in Fremont, California, which could accommodate some limited Model Y production on the Model 3 line.

Tesla factory, Fremont, California

Tesla factory, Fremont, California

Musk has said he plans to build 1 million Model Ys per year eventually, though he didn't give any time frame. Customarily, RFIs for components of a new vehicle would come roughly two and a half years before production.

The one-and-a-half-year schedule is "aggressive, but possible," one source told Reuters, given that the Model Y will be built on the underpinnings of the Model 3 already in production.

Tesla declined to comment to Reuters on its report or the Model Y time frame.

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The Model Y isn't the only new Tesla the company has said it plans to build next year; the Tesla Semi also has a target launch date of 2019.

Meanwhile, the company has grappled with quality problems and a slow rate of production increase in the Model 3, intended to be its highest-volume vehicle to date.

Eight months after the first, largely hand-built Model 3s were delivered in late July 2017, Tesla said last week it had built 2,000 of the cars in a seven-day period.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk at Tesla Store opening in Westfield Mall, London, Oct 2013

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk at Tesla Store opening in Westfield Mall, London, Oct 2013

That didn't quite achieve the company's promised rate of 2,500 cars a week by March 30, a target date that had already been postponed by six months.

Tesla said then that it expects the Model 3 production rate to "climb rapidly through Q2," and it reiterated a target of "approximately" 5,000 Model 3s a week in "about" three months.

Meanwhile, CEO Elon Musk was interviewed by host Gayle King for a segment on the "CBS This Morning" show that will air on Friday morning, April 13.

Musk told King the Model 3 production saga has been "incredibly difficult and painful the last several months."

He told her he was sleeping on the Fremont factory floor, "because I don't have time to go home and shower," since he believes Tesla employees should not "be experiencing hardship while the CEO is like off on vacation."

The show promises a "first-ever look inside the production line for the Model 3," which may provide footage that engineers at competing automakers will likely view with great interest.