Following years of rampant speculation, as well as multiple teasers, and a veil of mystery that would make the Manhattan Project feel jealous. Tesla has finally unveiled the long awaited Model Y CUV to the world, and it appears that Tesla is finally ready to take a serious stab at penetrating the growing and increasingly important mid-size CUV market.
The exterior styling of the Model Y is not as ground breaking as some in the industry initially thought it would be, with the Model Y looking alot like its sedan counterpart the Model 3, albeit with a puffed up roof. However, don’t let this seemingly underwhelming facade fool you, there is alot going on here that should make buyers stand up and pay attention. For starters, it is not as exotic as its bigger brand mate the Model X, and the Y ditches the exotic and occasionally glitchy “Falcon Wing” doors in lieu of more traditional units that should please buyers with their simpler and decidedly more conventional open and close procedure. About 75 percent of the Model Y’s components as well as the basic platform are shared with the Model 3, and Elon Musk revealed that 10 percent will be the key number when it comes to the differences between the two, with the Model Y boasting 10 percent more size, as well as a 10 percent bump in price when it eventually makes its way into Tesla showrooms. While it lacks the futuristic flair generated by the Jaguar I-Pace, look for the Model Y’s more conventional albeit very Tesla-esque styling cues to resonate with a lot more buyers.
The interior also appears to share the same clean and super minimalist design that made a splash in the Model 3, with the cabin being dominated by a massive landscape oriented tablet style touchscreen that displays both driver and infotainment information, with the drivers hands being greeted by a simple yet functional steering wheel that features two lone input controls on either spoke. Look for the Model Y to also boast more space over its sedan sibling, with rear passengers in particular enjoying increased levels of head and legroom. A massive sunroof is also part of the package, and it should help shed more light on how airy and roomy the second row seats are for passengers.
But it is ultimately the technology that is crammed into the Model Y that will make it stand out the most among its rivals, and buyers will be happy to hear that Tesla has pulled out all the stops when it comes to making the Model Y standout from many of its electrified rivals. For starters the Model Y arrives with a lot of the 3’s self driving software, including a $5,000 option for “Full self-driving capability” that is lumped on top of the $3,000 AutoPilot option. This combo includes AutoPilot, Autopark, Navigate for Highways, as well as collision avoidance, lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring. The Model Y also offers occupants 66 cubic feet of cargo space, and we expect that figure to be roughly on par with many traditional and EV powered CUVs in the very big sales pie that the Model Y is trying to insert itself into.
Elon Musk also claimed that the Model Y will still be able to offer buyers commendable performance figures, with the Model Y expected to rocket its way to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, with owners being able to drive the Model Y for 300 miles of “true and usable” range. We assume that this figure is in reference to the long-range model, which will be launched first and wield a base price of $47,000. As for the slower and shorter ranged base model, buyers will have to wait until 2021 before they are asked to part with $39,000 for the chance to add this particular variant to their garage.
Dual motor equipped all-wheel drive will also be a part of the package, but a key caveat is that buyers will have to upgrade to either the Long-Range model (which bumps the base price to $51,000) or the $60,000 Performance model. The former is capable of making the sprint to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, hitting a top speed of 135 mph, and doing all of this while still delivering an impressive 280 miles of driving range. Buyers looking to access that vaunted 3.5 second 0 to 60 figure will need to upgrade to the Performance model which features performance designed wheels and brakes, a lowered suspension, alloy pedal covers, a model exclusive track mode, and a carbon fiber rear spoiler.
Musk revealed that he has very high hopes for the Model Y, and claims that the CUV will surpass the S, X, and 3 in overall sales. We will wait and see how that endeavor goes especially considering the sluggish and glitch filled start to the Model 3’s production run which sapped Tesla of much needed cash, and actually forced the company to open a second factory inside a makeshift building to try and keep up with Model 3 production demand. In an apparent attempt to avoid this, Tesla will be splitting Model Y production into two segments with U.S. bound Ys being built at the company’s Gigafactory in Nevada. Model Ys that will be sold in the Chinese market will be built at a Gigafactory which is currently under construction in Shanghai.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.