The waiting is over: Tesla has finally unveiled the Model Y, an all-electric mid-sized SUV, which is due to begin hitting the streets in Q3 2020.
When Tesla CEO Elon Musk first set out on his dream of making electric cars not only cool, but profitable, the automotive world seemed to let out a collective chuckle.
Thirteen years later and Tesla is one of the coolest car makers on the planet, and with a recent report of taking £2.79 billion in revenue, it clearly isn't doing too badly with sales either.
The Model Y is Tesla’s new compact SUV, and completes the running joke in Elon Musk’s naming scheme, with the Model S, Model X and the recent Model 3. The Model 3 was originally going to be called the E, making it a perfect fit, but due to a legal clash with Ford over the use of the letter E, Tesla went with its visual numerical equivalent, leading to jokes like this:
Details of the Model Y were scarce for months following its announcement, but following its official launch at Tesla's LA Design Studio in March, we finally know some of the car's specs. Below, we've listed everything we know so far.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The compact SUV from electric car giant Tesla
- What’s the range? Up to 230 miles for the standard-range version, 280 miles for the dual-motor AWD and premium versions, and 300 miles for the long-range model.
- How do I reserve one? You can configure your Model Y and place your order on Tesla's website.
- When is it out? Deliveries for the three higher-end models will start in 2020, with the standard-range variant hitting the streets in early 2021.
- What will it cost? Prices start at $39,000 (about £29,000, AU$55,000) for the standard-range version. The long-range variant will be $47,000 (about £35,000, AU$66,000), the dual-motor all-wheel-drive model will be $51,000 (about £38,000, AU$72,000) and the performance version will be $60,000 (about £45,000, AU$85,000).
- How fast is it? The performance variant of the Model Y has a top speed of 150mph.
Tesla Model Y: what is it?
"It starts with a Y, ends with a Y, and has Y in the middle," said Tesla CEO Elon Musk as he introduced the latest vehicle in his company's lineup at its California Design Studio.
The Tesla Model Y is an all-electric compact SUV. It will be available in four variants: standard-range, long-range, dual-motor all-wheel drive, and performance.
The Model Y seats seven, with a panoramic glass roof like the Model 3 and high seating. The front trunk and split-folding second-row seats providing 66 cubic feet (1.9 cubic meters) of storage space.
The Model Y has no keys, and is instead locked and unlocked using a smartphone app. The car also supports remote unlock, summon, remote pre-conditioning, and speed limit mode. Infotainment is controlled via a single 15-inch touchscreen in the dashboard.
Musk says he expects the Model Y to be feature-complete with self-driving later in 2019, once it has regulatory approval. New features will be added via software updates.
Compact SUVs make sense as a move for Tesla, considering the success of other compact SUV’s like the Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape in the US market. Musk is obviously aware of the value of the compact SUV market, referring to it at the “biggest product segment in the world”.
Tesla Model Y: release date
Tesla Model Y deliveries are expected to start in Q3 2020 for the long-range, dual-motor all-wheel drive, and performance variants. Deliveries for the standard-range version are expected to begin in Q1 2021.
Originally Musk had claimed that the Model Y was going to be manufactured in a way entirely independent of the Model 3, and was due for a 2019/2020 release.
However, at a later earnings report, Musk changed his stance and said “The Model Y will be using substantial carryover from Model 3, which means it will come to market much faster.”
Sadly though, that's not going to happen, as on a recent conference call in May 2018, Musk confirmed the Model Y wouldn't enter production until early 2020.
Tesla Model Y: what about performance?
The performance version of the Tesla Model Y will accelerate from 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds, with a top speed of 140mph. The standard-range variant will take 5.9 seconds to reach 60mph, and will have a top speed of 120mph.
The standard battery will have a range of 230 miles, while the long-range battery boosts that to 300 miles. At the launch, Musk noted that this will be the average usable range that you can expect from the car in real life.
Tesla Model Y: how safe is it?
Musk said he expects the Model Y will be the safest mid-sized SUV in the world so far. He noted that the Model 3 has the lowest probability of injury of any car tested by the US government, and predicted that the Model Y will achieve similar results.
The battery pack sits low in the car's floor, giving it a low center of gravity that will provide stability and, according to Musk, make it "ride like a sports car".
The Model Y also has large crumple zones and a rigid substructure to protect you int the event of an accident.
What's next for Tesla?
At the Model Y launch, Musk insisted (tongue firmly in cheek) that Tesla will be on Mars in 10 years, but the company has yet to announce any details of the cars that will follow the Y.
We'll update this article as we learn more about the Model Y and its successors, so keep checking back here for all the latest.
- Want to know more about Tesla's previous offering, the Model 3? Check out: Tesla Model 3 release date, news and features