Last night during an event in California, Tesla finally took the wraps off its highly-anticipated Model Y, essentially an SUV version of the popular Model 3. The car comes at a crucial time for the company as it struggles to produce more vehicles. It did manage to catch up on Model 3 orders, but that sent the manufacturer spiraling to the point of a near-death experience, according to CEO Elon Musk. But with SUV sales bursting at the moment, the Model Y could be Tesla’s most important car to date.
With the Model Y, Tesla will sell four different models: the Standard Range, a Long Range, Dual Motor AWD, and a Performance option. Respectively, the company says you’ll get 230 miles of range, 300 miles, 280 miles, and 280 miles. The Performance variant will go from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, and the top speed achievable with the trim will be 150 mph.
Of course, the two models everybody will be paying attention to are the Standard and Long Range. Because not only will the former cost $39,000 ($4,000 more than the Model 3), the latter will go on sale first at $47,000 and stand as the cheapest Model Y people will be able to buy for a period of time.
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Elsewhere, the Model Y is very similar to the Model 3. It includes an exterior design that basically looks like a larger Model 3 but with a hatchback. It doesn’t include any glossy chrome; rather, it uses a matte black finish in areas like the door handles and rims. You also get a foot-activated liftgate in the back for convenience, two storage in the back and front (of unknown dimensions, mind you), and a lower center of gravity since the battery is perfectly centered at the bottom of the vehicle.
Inside, the familiarities don’t stop. Tesla says the Model Y uses 75 percent of the Model 3’s parts, and it’s blatantly obvious. The seats, instrument panel, center console, materials, and overall aesthetic will immediately make you think you’re riding in a Model 3.
Three things do manage to stand out, however, and sort of capitalize on the Model Y’s larger size. For one, there’s a larger panoramic sunroof at the top which looks pretty stunning in Tesla’s renders. You’ll also be able to get a third row of seating in the back, giving you room for up to seven passengers. Finally, the front seats are raised a bit to make getting in and out of the car easier.
As far as launch times go, this is where things get pretty iffy. Tesla’s been known to miss deadlines, and I’d be lying if I said no one was anticipating the company doing the same with the Model Y. The company claims the three pricier trims will go on sale in the fall of 2020, while the $39,000 model will launch in spring of 2021. That’s a while off into the future, possibly long enough that Tesla won’t wind up delaying the vehicle down the road.
We’ve told this story before, however. We always hold out hope that Tesla’s newest vehicle will ship when the company says it will, and it’s a rarity it does. Maybe things will be different with the Model Y, maybe they won’t.
All we can definitively say is that this is an important car for Tesla. So long as it executes it well, the company could have a hit on its hands. Otherwise, it might actually drive the company to the edge of death, a place they’re all too familiar with.