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Data: IHS Markit, Tesla; Photos: Toyota, Ford, Tesla; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Elon Musk says the plug-in Tesla Model Y will be the world's best-selling vehicle by next year — or sometime soon.

The big picture: For that to happen, the electric SUV would need to outsell some of the most iconic vehicles in the world: the Toyota Corolla, which sold 1.12 million units worldwide in 2020, as well as the Toyota RAV4 and Ford F-Series pickup truck, which were close behind.

My thought bubble: It's a bold prediction, and Musk is known for making a lot of bold predictions that don't come to pass. Still there's no denying the electric car manufacturer has huge momentum and is struggling to keep up with demand.

  • Model Y is brand new, and production is still ramping up at factories in California and China.
  • Two additional plants in Europe and Texas are under construction.

What Elon's saying: “When it comes to Model Y, we think Model Y will be the best-selling car or vehicle of any kind in the world, and probably, next year. So I am not 100% certain next year, but I think it’s quite likely. I’d say more likely than not that in 2022 Model Y is the best-selling car or truck of any kind in the world.”

  • Musk's confidence follows his claim that its sister Model 3 sedan now outsells the long-reigning BMW 3-series as the world's most popular luxury sedan — electric or gasoline.

Yes, but: Tesla reports deliveries for Model 3 and Y together so it'll be hard to verify his claim.

  • Last year, Tesla sold 442,511 Model 3/Y units, so sales would need to more than double to even come close to being number one.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Aug 3, 2021 - World

A model to predict terror attacks ahead of time

People light candles for the victims Westgate shopping mall attack in Sept. 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

A new study details a theoretical model that can help predict where terrorism attacks will occur up to a week in advance.

Why it matters: Much of the power of a terror attack derives from the quality of surprise. Being able to reliably predict when and where attacks are likely to occur would potentially blunt terror as a tool and reduce the costs of security.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The president of New York City's firefighters union told reporters Wednesday that he's advised unvaccinated members to ignore Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Under de Blasio's order that's due to take effect Friday, unvaccinated city employees would be placed on unpaid leave. But Uniformed Firefighters Association head Andrew Ansbro said he told members that "if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," according to Reuters.

3 hours ago - Health

Study: Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization

A COVID-19 intensive Care Unit in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on May 27, 2021. Photo: Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The readily available antidepressant fluvoxamine significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations, according to a large study published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The clinical trial suggests that a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early.