Seven-seat Tesla Model Y revealed with 482-km range

by Tom Morgan, Autocar UK 15 Mar 2019

Tesla has officially revealed its Model Y compact SUV, which is set to arrive in 2020.

The company’s fourth mainstream model was unveiled at its Los Angeles design centre by CEO Elon Musk, who confirmed the crossover EV would be capable of around 300 miles (482km) of range in its highest specification.

The Model Y takes design cues from both the Model 3 saloon and Model X SUV, with a glass panoramic roof and optional seven seat layout. It does not retain the gullwing doors found on the more expensive Model X, instead using pillarless doors like the Model 3 and Model S.

The crossover is around 10 percent larger than the Model 3, with which it shares a platform and as much as 75 percent of components. Musk said the Model Y had “the functionality of an SUV, but rides like a sports car,” with a low centre of gravity and 0.23 drag coefficient.

The first versions to arrive will be the Long Range, Dual-Motor All-Wheel Drive and Performance models, due in the autumn of 2020.

The Long Range model will get 300 miles of range, a 130mph (210kph) top speed and 5.5 seconds 0-60mph (96.5kph) time, and will start at $47,000 (Rs 32 lakh). The Dual Motor model will start from $51,000 (Rs 35 lakh) and have a slightly lower 280 miles (450km) of range, but a higher 135mph (217kph) top speed and 4.8 second 0-60mph (96.5kph) time.

The Dual Motor Performance model also gets 280 miles (450km) of range, but increases top speed to 150mph (241kph) and drops the 0-60mph sprint time to 3.5 seconds. It will go on sale for $60,000 around (Rs 42 lakh).

A Standard Range version will follow later in Spring 2021 for $39,000 (Rs 27.1 lakh) with 230 miles (370km) of range, a 120mph (194kph) top speed and 5.9 second 0-60mph time.

The Model Y is compatible with Tesla’s third-generation Superchargers, which are capable of 250kW charging. Cars will be able to recover 75 miles (120km) of range in five minutes, and charge at rates of up to 1,000 miles (1610km) per hour. Tesla now has more than 12,000 Superchargers globally across 36 countries.

Inside, the Model Y has a similar interior layout to the Model 3, with a single 15-inch touchscreen interface containing all of the car’s controls, and no traditional instrument cluster. It will also include the same self-driving hardware including Autopilot, which can be unlocked for a fee and upgraded over-the-air as new features get approval from regulatory bodies.

Split-folding second-row seats and a front boot provide a maximum storage space of 66 cubic feet, or more than 1,800 litres. 

Tesla has yet to confirm where the Model Y will be produced, with latest reports suggesting it could be built at the company’s Gigafactory facility in Reno, Nevada. Model 3 production is understood to remain at the company’s Fremont California manufacturing plant. Chinese cars are expected to be built in Tesla’s Shanghai factory, which is still under construction and projected to be completed by the end of 2019.

The Model Y will likely prove pivotal to Tesla, as the worldwide demand for SUVs is significantly higher than it is for saloons. Musk predicted Tesla would go on to sell more Model Ys than Model S, X and 3 combined. The company opened pre-orders after revealing the car, with customers asked for a $2,500 (Rs 174,000) deposit. Model Y cars with seven seats won't be available until 2021.

The company also faces new challenges from European car makers including Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, which are gearing up to launch their own premium SUVs. Similarly-priced rivals like the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric offer less range. It recently announced a move to online-only sales and plans to close its physical stores, but reversed its decision following customer and employee backlash.

The announcement of the Model Y arrives soon after Tesla’s entry-level Standard Model 3 went on sale in the US at $35,000 (Rs 24 lakh), and the first left-hand drive versions of the more expensive Model 3 Performance arrived in Europe.

The company will be hoping to avoid the manufacturing issues that plagued the Model 3, which bottlenecked production for months following the car’s North American launch. Tesla has since recovered from these early setbacks and is on course to achieve its 10,000 Model 3 cars per week factory target. It is now the world’s top-selling electric car, having sold more than 120,000 examples in the last year. Tesla aims to produce 2,000 Model Y cars per week by September 2020.

With the Model Y now revealed, Tesla’s remaining projects include a Semi lorry, pick-up truck and a new Roadster, which is due to arrive on roads in 2020.


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