October 27, 2017 – The Tesla Model Y is undoubtedly one of the most important vehicles in the history of the electric car manufacturer. This electric crossover vehicle is expected to emerge in either 2019 or 2020, and is set to play a critical role in the future plans of the corporation.

The notorious CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, has already indicated his desire for the Tesla Model Y to appear in the next couple of years, and it is clear that this car must perform well if Tesla is to meet its major targets.

The innovative company has already set itself the target of achieving one-million cars being manufactured on an annual basis by the year 2020, which suggests that the crossover vehicle will have gone into production by this date. The consensus of opinion is that the Tesla Model Y will be something of an affordable vehicle, which could thrust the electric sedan into the forefront of the mainstream car market.

In order to meet the one-million car target, Tesla has already stated publicly that it will manufacture a new car factory. And this development will be largely tasked with producing the Model Y; a smaller model that will be the most practical, and for that matter most mass-produced, vehicle that Tesla has ever been involved with.

The site for this factory will be Fremont, California, which previously operated a joint-venture between Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Co. Formerly known as New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., or Nummi, the Fremont plant was responsible for models including the Toyota Corolla, the Pontiac Vibe and the Tacoma pickup on two assembly lines from 1984 to 2010.

The city thus has a history in the car manufacturing industry, and it is this expertise and culture that Musk will build on when planning and manufacturing the Tesla plans.

While the electric car revolution has definitely got underway, many believe that there is still considerable room for improvement. It is true that the electric car industry has yet to deliver a killer app, and as such the Tesla Model Y could be the solution to this problem, and one that revolutionizes the industry.

Certainly many consumers would be in favor of moving away from gas guzzlers, even if there are still questions marks about the reliability of the Tesla recharging network. The company has worked tirelessly to build a seamless and convenient recharging network, yet obviously this has yet to achieve the convenience of conventional gasoline-driven vehicles.

If Tesla could produce a vehicle that is both sexy and affordable, while retaining the obvious green credentials of the company, the Model Y could be an absolute game changer for the industry.

It is in this context that the importance of the Tesla Model Y to both the future of electric cars and its developer must be understood. This means it is more likely to appear in 2020 than 2019.

And James Womack, the founder of the Lean Enterprise Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, believes that what Tesla is trying to pull off may be admirable, but will also certainly be challenging.

“It’s a tough trick to launch a new product, a new manufacturing system and a new company, and to make it all work in a crazy, crack-brain schedule that Musk may never have believed in to begin with,” Womack commented.

UPDATE 10-17-2017: Suggestions that the Tesla Model Y could be released in 2019 are begin to gather momentum, as the innovative electric car manufacturer reveals its latest plans. Notorious CEO Elon Musk has recently confirmed the release date for another Tesla vehicle, potentially clearing the way for the Model Y.

Musk stated that the Tesla Semi would be unveiled on October 26, meaning that the Tesla production chain can perhaps now concentrate on producing and releasing this SUV crossover that many consider to be a key vehicle in Tesla’s history.

It is expected that the Model Y will attract a price tag of around $35,000 when it finally emerges.

UPDATE 10-12-2017: It is generally believed that it will still be quite some time before the Tesla Model Y is released, yet recent reports have suggested that this exciting electric vehicle could emerge sooner than expected. The compact SUV is arguably the most important release in the history of Tesla, and Will play a critical role in the future revenue generation of the company.

Tesla Model Y Architecture
Image Source: Tesla Motors (screenshot)

2019 date mooted

And with this in mind, there are now murmurings that the car could appear in 2019. Notorious Tesla CEO Elon Musk has recently spoken out on the Model Y, indicating that the vehicle is definitely in the pipeline and at the forefront of the company’s thoughts. But the manufacturing processes at Tesla have been focused on producing the Model 3 the head of even commencing the Model Y.

Several publications have already provided rendered images of the possible appearance of the Tesla Model Y, and there is little doubt that this is the most highly anticipated electric vehicle ever. The images in question have suggested that the Model Y will ultimately employ side mirrors, which is contrary to earlier suggestions that Tesla would drop these common features in thisvehicle.

It was instead suggested that the technology giant would replace the mirrors with cameras, enabling the peripheral vision of drivers to be significantly improved. However, this is all undoubtedly extremely speculative, as Musk himself has given absolutely no such indications regarding the Tesla Model Y. What we do know for certain is that it will be manufactured and built on a completely new platform, jettisoning wheelbases from previous vehicles.

Earnings call

Speaking to investors in an earnings call earlier this year, Musk suggested that the forthcoming Model Y will be well worth waiting for. “I am really excited about Model Y. There’s been some criticism, like we should sort of derive it from the Model 3 platform. But I think actually we made a mistake in trying to derive the Model X from the Model S platform,” Musk enthused.

Daily commentary on the Tesla Model Y has also been positive. Ben Sullins of the YouTube channel Teslanomics has been one of the automobile enthusiasts to comment on the Model Y, suggesting that the device will have superior specs to the Model 3 “if Tesla can pull it off.” This will undoubtedly be a tantalizing prospect for potential Tesla consumers, with the electric car manufacturer achieving ever greater market penetration and brand awareness.

Sullins also noted that the Model Y will be “a compact SUV built on top of the model 3 platform offering similar capacity and range as the Model X but for a more economical price.” The YouTube content creator is also one of the foremost predictors that the Tesla Model Y will arrive in the market late in 2019, possibly shortly ahead of the key holiday marketplace.

Big seller

It is envisaged that the Tesla Model Y will be a massive seller for the corporation; effectively a crossover electric SUV. Although this is a hyper-competitive marketplace, the general feeling is that there is huge consumer appetite for an electric option within this vehicle classification. Although this will be an entirely new vehicle, certainly the consensus of opinion among market observers is that it will somewhat resemble the Model 3 in design terms. This has been reflected in early concept images of the Tesla Model Y, with designers ignoring the assertion of Musk that this will be based on new technology and design parameters.

Nonetheless, it is believed that the Tesla Model Y may share characteristics with the Model 3, as this would enable the manufacturing process for the vehicle to be greatly simplified. This is, after all, intended to be a relatively affordable vehicle, meaning that manufacturing costs are obviously of critical importance.

The belief that the Model Y will be a huge success has partly been derived from the fact that 500,000 consumers put down reservations for the Tesla Model 3. This is a pretty huge number, and this is despite the fact that it is not possible to see or drive the vehicle ahead of release, while deliveries will not occur until a few years into the future. Furthermore, this sedan is certainly a less practical vehicle that the Tesla Model Y, suggesting that this new electric SUV will be a massive success for the developer.

Challenges ahead

Nonetheless, Tesla certainly faces challenges ahead of the release of the Model Y. Although it has announced its intention to upgrade the infrastructure of the company, the consensus of opinion is that this needs to be enhanced massively ahead of the production run of this vehicle. Indeed, market observers believe that the existing infrastructure of the company is in adequate to produce the existing Model 3, let alone expand to deliver the critically important Tesla Model Y as well.

Tesla currently has only one facility manufacturing cars, which is in Fremont, California just outside of San Francisco. It is expected that the company will shift production of the Model Y to the American state offering the greatest amount of incentives, which could work out in the favor of Tesla. Essentially, it will be able to choose the state offering the greatest tax incentives, with the corporation having previously received a $1.5 billion tax abatement from the state of Nevada.

Scornful Tesla

And Tesla has poured scorn on the suggestion that it is experiencing manufacturing difficulties. “It is important to emphasise that there are no fundamental issues with the Model 3 production or supply chain. We understand what needs to be fixed and we are confident of addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term,” the company commented in an official statement.

The crossover niche is rapidly becoming the most popular vehicle in the United States, and Tesla clearly has serious intentions for this vehicle. Elon Musk stated on an earnings call that “the priority vehicle development after the Model 3 would be the Model Y, the compact SUV because that’s also a car that we expect to see demand in the 500,000 to 1,000,000 unit per year level”. This number would significantly exceed anything that Tesla has achieved previously.

Even considering the meteoric rise of Tesla, when the history of the company is written, it seems highly likely that the Tesla Model Y will play a central role.

Tesla Model Y
Blomst / Pixabay

UPDATE 08-24-2017: There has thus been a huge amount of speculation regarding the Tesla Model Y, which has only intensified the public anticipation of the electric vehicle. What we do know is that Tesla is being increasingly challenged in the electric car marketplace, with numerous competitors offering their own electric vehicles. Big players in the auto marketplace such as BMW and Audi have their own electric technology now, and the days of Tesla dominating the niche unchallenged are certainly numbered.

Indeed, there are at least three other manufacturers who have aspirations to deliver a pure electric crossover at a price point under $40,000, while travelling 250 miles on a single charge. This is already recognized by mainstream carmakers as an incredibly important trend, with Lex Kerssemakers, the CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, having recently spoken out on the subject.

The base price for the Tesla Model Y remains $35,000 according to the latest reports; certainly an affordable electric vehicle. Another key aspect of the electric crossover will be the range of the vehicle. Tesla has been extremely reticent to reveal any information in this area, but it is believed that the cycle on one charge should be in the range of 215 miles.

This figure is already associated with the Tesla Model 3, but there are concerns that the larger Model Y could struggle to achieve the same distance. Nonetheless, Tesla is no doubt beavering away behind the scenes in order to deliver this figure.

Another interesting aspect of the Model Y is that although direct information from Tesla has been in extremely short supply, we do know that the company trademarked the Model Y concept back in 2013. At this time, Tesla also trademarked the Model E, suggesting that we could see numerous new Tesla models emerge in the foreseeable future.

In addition to the deleted tweet that many media outlets have picked up on, another such example slipped under the radar somewhat. In the very same Twitter session, Musk suggested that around twelve months from now there would be a cheaper version of the Model X featuring a 70kWh battery. Musk also rapidly eliminated this tweet from his Twitter feed, but this suggests that the Model Y could benefit from this particular specification.

It is also reasonable to assume that the Model Y will make use of Tesla’s lithium-ion batteries. According to Tesla Chief Technical Officer JB Straubel, this technology will be central to the future of the company, and indeed the corporation expects it to become influential in the motor industry as a whole.

Whispers also suggest that the Model Y might be an SUV crossover vehicle that is bigger than a conventional sedan, but possibly also smaller than a traditional sport utility vehicle. Tesla is continually looking for crossover appeal, as it attempts to increase its market share.

Some speculation is required when attempting to predict the performance-oriented aspects of the Model Y. But it is reasonable to assume that based on the numbers relating to previous Tesla vehicles that it will be capable of something in the region of 400hp. The Model Y may have a shorter battery range than other Tesla electric cars, particularly if it is priced as an affordable alternative, but we should expect a range of over 200 miles.

Certainly it is impossible to predict a precise price range for the Model Y, as Tesla has confirmed absolutely no information on this subject. But it wouldn simply make sense for the corporation to release the vehicle at a price point that would make it competitive and mainstream in nature. This would suggest that the Model Y will retail at a price point considerably more affordable than the Model X.

It is expected that the Model 3 will sell at $35,000 when it is released, so we can expect the Model Y to be in this sort of a ballpark as well. Although it is notable that the major competition for this vehicle retails at a significantly higher price point than that of the mooted figure for the Model 3.