Elon Musk has been actively stoking the Tesla fires again on Twitter. This time, however, the billionaire CEO of Tesla confirmed what many had already expected, and that is yet another model of car to be produced by the automaker: the Model Y.
What is the Tesla Model Y?
As the next vehicle in what Musk calls his S-3-X-Y lineup, the Y will be based on or spun off the platform of the upcoming Model 3, and as a compact SUV, it will likely sit above it and below the Model X in the manufacturer’s pecking order.
The vehicle is supposedly going to look somewhat different to its siblings mainly due to the rumored inclusion of Falcon Wing doors. As for other features at the moment, all we have to go on are design mock-ups by Teslavangelists. As for when we will get to see the vehicle, it’s safe to say that it will not be available until long after the Model 3 is released.
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Musk has never been one to pick numbers randomly out of the air, and neither is he someone who likes to guess. In fact, he usually warns against such things. However, concerning the Model Y, he has placed himself in the position of being possibly overconfident of its ability to meet a certain amount of sales.
In a recent board meeting, he said the following:
“To be clear, 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 500k to 1 million unit per year level.”
As for what this means for the Model Y, the best thing to do is to put Musk’s expected sales into perspective. To do that, we can take a look at Audi’s Q series’ worldwide sales numbers for 2015 and how a similar-sized vehicle to the Model Y, the Audi Q3 or Q5, did in the USA last year.
From all of its vehicle sales last year, Audi achieved a record 1.8 million deliveries, and more specifically, the Q series in its entirety sold just over 500,000 worldwide. So in comparison, Musk is expecting to ship between 500,000 and 1 million Model Y’s worldwide per year! This far outstrips what Audi achieved with the Q3 and Q5 models last year, which totaled 65,235 cars sold. So as you can imagine, the statement from Musk is either an incredibly bold one which will come back to haunt him or one that he is so confident in meeting that it has the board excited and investors reaching for their checkbooks.
How much will it cost?
If you’ve been following the rise of Tesla Motors, then you should already know that it sees itself as an eco-friendly manufacturer with the goal of bringing EVs to the masses. However, the Model X and Model S are extremely pricey and are certainly not aimed at the average driver.
With the introduction of the Model 3, there comes a vehicle that can be considered Tesla’s first affordable vehicle, Currently it is expected to come with a base price of US$35,000, which is far less than the starting prices of other two. The Model Y could cost even less than the Model 3, but seeing as it is placed higher up in the S-3-X-Y lineup, I seriously doubt that is going to be the case. It is more likely to be aimed at wealthy people who can afford luxury cars.
How many Model Ys will Tesla sell? That all depends on how many they can make. Considering the manufacturing issues it has had with the Model X this year, I feel it would be hard pressed to meet a demand of between 500,000 and 1 million Model Ys.
On a more positive note, what Tesla will have when the Model 3 ships is a virtual monopoly on the coolest, most technologically advanced and most affordable car in the world. In fact, I believe that the Model 3 alone will be the most advanced car that any average (non-millionaire) person will have ever seen.
What Tesla needs to do is be able to make the most it can of this advantage and get as many test drives it can. Then when the Model Y is finally available, maybe it will have 500,000 people or more waiting to buy it.
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