We first heard about the Tesla Model Y all the way back in 2015, when Elon Musk tweeted (and then deleted) a cryptic teaser for an all-electric SUV that would be much cheaper than the luxury-oriented Model X. Last night, at an event in Los Angeles, Musk took the stage to officially reveal the Model Y, which will start rolling out to customers in 2020. Here’s what you need to know about the electric vehicle that’s probably going to sell faster than a novelty flame thrower.
It’s a lot like a Model 3
Despite the Model Y’s crossover SUV-style design, the vehicle shares roughly 75 percent of its parts with the Model 3. Sadly, that means your new affordable electric crossover vehicle won’t get those fancy falcon wing doors found on the higher-end Model X. The Model Y checks in roughly 10 percent bigger than the model 3 sedan, which is already the best-selling electric vehicle on the market, and that extra room allows it to have three rows of seats and can fit up to seven people at once.
The heavy overlap between the Model 3 and its new SUV sibling makes sense since the process of getting the 3 into manufacturing nearly broke the company and its impulsively tweeting CEO. The Model 3 lessons were hard-learned for the company, so applying them in a new vehicle will hopefully help avoid long delays and possible quality control issues as they roll out of the factory.
There are four different versions
Here’s a rundown of the upcoming Model Y options.
The Dual Motor AWD Performance configuration is the most expensive at $60,000. It will have a 280-mile maximum range and go from 0-60 mph in roughly 3.5 seconds. However, those two things are mutually exclusive depending on your driving style since fast acceleration and long battery life do not mix. It arrives in Fall 2020.
The Dual Motor AWD Long Range model will cost $51,000 and will also arrive in Fall 2020. It promises the same 280 mile range, and though the 0-60 mph time drops to 4.8 seconds (which is still plenty fast), you get the benefit of all-wheel drive.
The rear-wheel drive Long Range version is the last model we’ll see in Fall 2020 (assuming no delays) and will eclipse the 300 mile range mark for $47,000.
Like with the Model 3, the cheapest Standard Range option is slated last for release. Starting in Spring 2021, the Standard Range Model Y will do 230 miles on a charge with a sticker price of $39,000. Even at this entry-level, it will still do 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 120 mph.
Tesla will probably sell a lot of them
The sales charts for SUVs and crossover vehicles has steadily increased over the past decade thanks to cheaper gas prices and improving fuel efficiency as well as an ever-increasing need for kids to get to soccer practice. Last year, the top three vehicles sold in the U.S. were, of course, pickup trucks, but the three after that were the Toyota Rav-4, Nissan Rogue, and Honda CR-V, respectively. At the same time, Tesla sold roughly 111,000 of its Model 3 sedans, which would make it the best-selling “luxury” vehicle in the U.S. market.
The model Y takes both of those trends and smashes them together in a conglomeration of metal, rubber, and big 15-inch screens in the cockpit.
It will have some competition
Just a few weeks ago, Volvo announced the Polestar 2, which promises to break the 300 mile-per-charge barrier and improve upon its predecessor for a price comparable to the Model Y’s higher-end versions. There are other competitors up the food chain as well, like Jaguar with its i-Pace electric SUV and even upstart companies like Rivian, which is promising an SUV-style body for its modular EV drivetrain setup.
How to buy it
If you’re already set on buying a Model Y, you can pre-order one by coughing up a $2,500 downpayment. Collecting deposits to fund manufacturing is a trademark Elon Musk move. And while the overlap between the Model 3 and Model Y production processes should help avoid delays, the bad taste from the long wait for the Model 3 may linger a little too much for some buyers.