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Tesla Model Y: Everything we know so far about the electric SUV

The first production Tesla Model 3 cars have only just left the factory and now it appears a more affordable SUV, known as the Model Y, is next in line. This is what we know so far.

The Tesla fleet is going to become one car larger, taking the total to four (if you ignore the Roadster), even though the Model 3 is still a long way off for most of the original 500,000-odd customers who put down a pre-order. Elon Musk spilled some details of the Model Y – these are the facts.

What is the Tesla Model Y?

The Tesla Model Y will be smaller, more wallet-friendly sports utility vehicle (SUV) that follows in the footsteps of the Model X but shares more in common with the Model 3. Tesla only makes all-electric cars so you can expect at least one electric motor, two (AKA ‘dual motor’) when all-wheel drive is specified.

Company CEO and founder, Elon Musk, presented a photo of the Model Y during the annual shareholder meeting in California. Though little is given away, it does at least give you a rough of what the profile could be like.

How big will the Tesla Model Y be?

Around the size of the Tesla Model 3 because both cars will share the same underlying architecture. Musk originally said an all-new platform would be built, but has since changed his mind.

Speaking during the earnings call, Musk said: “I think in a prior call, we publicly had said that Model Y, or our compact SUV … would be a totally new architecture.

“Upon the council of my executive team … who reeled me back from the cliffs of insanity – much appreciated – the Model Y will, in fact, be using a substantial carryover from Model 3 in order to bring it to market faster.”

The Tesla Model Y will be smaller than the Model X (which can have up to seven forward-facing seats) to ensure it is cheaper and has its own place in the range. The Tesla Model 3 is said to accommodate five adults so we would expect the same but with a bigger boot.

Will the Tesla Model Y have Falcon Wing doors?

That is really unlikely as it would make keeping the Model Y cheap and made from relatively few parts impossible. But if the image is anything to go by, it could be the first to do away with wing mirrors and use a camera setup instead (where local law allows this to happen).

Other likely additions include Autopilot (the safety features are standard on the Model 3 but Autopilot self-driving and other convenience stuff costs more), the 15-inch touchscreen infotainment display (17 inches in the Model S) and the same ultra-clean interior that can be jazzed up with a strip of wood.

What range will the Tesla Model Y have?

SUVs are typically larger and heavier than their saloon counterparts, so we can see the Model Y going a little further than the 220 miles of the standard Model 3 and the 310 miles of the Model 3 Long Range version. Less than the Model S luxury saloon and Model X family wagon, then, but not too far.

How much will the Tesla Model Y cost?

A bit more than the Tesla Model 3, but probably not too much to prevent it from becoming unattractive financially. A Model 3 Long Range costs from US$44,000, while the standard Model 3 costs from US$35,000. An official UK price is yet to be revealed.

When will the Tesla Model Y arrive?

The Tesla Model Y is set for a 2019 arrival. Looking to cash in on the ever-lucrative SUV market, using the same underlying platform would certainly help it ride the wave of popularity sooner and help Tesla become profitable, especially with reduced research and development costs.

Tesla achieved revenues of US$2.79billion – higher than the general consensus of US$2.51billion. Over the financial quarter it also achieved a net loss of US$336.4million if you look from a GAAP perspective.

How fast will the Tesla Model Y be?

0-60mph takes the Model 3 5.1 seconds in Long Range form and 5.6 seconds otherwise. Top speed is 130mph and 140mph, respectively. With a touch more weight onboard, we can see the Tesla Model Y taking a bit longer to get there and a little slower at the top-end, especially with a squarer shape potentially creating more aerodynamic drag.

Why does Tesla name its cars like this?

In case you had failed to notice, the Tesla product range now makes an interesting message if you put them in a certain order: S 3 X Y. Who says Silicon Valley doesn’t have a sense of humour? In case you were wondering, Ford owns the rights to the Model E hence using a ‘3’ instead.

What is next for Tesla?

An electric minibus is said to be on the cards and there have been mentions of larger vehicles to bear the Tesla badge. But for now, the main focus will be on trying to survive the “production hell”, to use Musk’s own terminology, while it tries to build all those Model 3s.

We will update this article as more details of the Model Y emerge. Be sure to check back soon and consider reading our Tesla Model X review in the meantime.


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