Tesla CEO Elon Musk told shareholders Tuesday that the last few months have been "hellacious" for building the Tesla Model 3, but that the automaker expects by the end of this month to build 5,000 of the mid-size luxury sedan each week and beyond.
"It's insanely hard to stay alive," Musk added.
The Model 3 may be critical for the automaker to stay alive without turning to investors for more money this year, but the upcoming Tesla Model Y crossover could be critical to vault the automaker's bottom line beyond survival.
Musk told shareholders that the Tesla Model Y would be unveiled in March 2019 with production in early 2020. Musk was mum on details for the Model Y, and it's not clear where the small crossover would be produced.
When it's available, the Tesla Model Y would take on challengers such as the Jaguar I-Pace, BMW iX3, and Mercedes-Benz EQC, which may beat it to market.
Teaser for Tesla Model Y electric SUV due for reveal in 2019
The Model Y is expected to be a scaled-down Model X riding atop the Model 3's platform, complete with falcon doors and all, according to reports.
Although Musk hasn't yet said how much the Model Y will cost when it goes on sale, he added Tuesday that the automaker expects to cross a key battery-cost threshold of $100-per-kilowatt-hour later this year. That could cut the cost of the Model Y significantly and help assuage new buyers who may not receive a federal tax credit for their electric-car purchase.
Musk quelled some speculation Tuesday that the automaker had given up on its plans to produce an electric semi truck by mentioning that the truck—and new Roadster—have undergone significant design improvements since their debut.
Musk didn't mention when either vehicle would show, but it's likely that both would come after the Model Y in 2020. Musk answered a question about producing a compact car smaller than the Model 3 by saying that it's likely that Tesla would offer such a car "in the next five years."
Earlier this year, in an earnings call, Musk said Tesla would cut expenses to help profitability, but didn't expound on those plans Tuesday. Investors have been skeptical that the company can turn a profit anytime soon, although Musk said the company would be profitable by the second half of 2018.