March 15, 2019 Update: After months of rumors and speculations, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has officially unveiled the much-hyped Tesla Model Y electric SUV crossover at the company’s Design Studio in Hawthorne. Unlike other Tesla product launches, the Model Y unveiling was a relatively subdued affair. In terms of appearance, the Model Y looks more like a hatchback than an SUV.
Model Y to benefit from the SUV boom
At the unveiling event, Musk showed off a blue Model Y that looks similar to the Model 3, but it is roomier in the back and has a higher roofline. The Tesla CEO spent relatively little time talking about the new SUV crossover. He told the audience that manufacturing automobile is far more complex than you think.
Tesla’s mass-market Model 3 vehicle had received more than 400,000 pre-orders from customers around the world even before a single production unit was built. Only time will tell whether the Model Y would taste similar success. But it’s coming at a time when SUV sales are growing rapidly in the US and many other parts of the world, which could help boost its sales. Model Y is the fifth vehicle to come out of Tesla’s stable.
Elon said during the unveiling, “It has the functionality of an SUV, but it will ride like a sports car. So this thing will be really tight on corners.” He claimed that it’s going to be the “safest mid-sized SUV by far.” Musk expects the vehicle to receive 5-star crash ratings and high safety marks. The SUV crossover is “feature complete” and will be able to “do basically anything just with software upgrades.
It offers what people expect
Its interior looks similar to Model 3, and has enough room for seven people. You can control almost all aspects of the car via controls on the steering wheel, the giant 15-inch touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard, or the stalks on the steering wheel column. It also features a sunroof and 66 cubic feet of cargo space, thanks to the split-folding back seats.
The Tesla Model Y doesn’t bring any revolutionary new features – certainly, there are no falcon wing doors. Instead, it focuses on what customers expect from their electric cars. It is built on the Model 3 platform, which allowed Tesla to develop a new vehicle without burning a lot of cash. It also means Tesla could simplify the production process and bring the SUV crossover to the market at the earliest.
Four models, from $39,000 to $60,000
There are four different variants of Tesla Model Y. The Standard Range will have a range of 230 miles and the top speed of 120mph. It can go from 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds. It will arrive in the spring of 2021 at a price tag of $39,000. This is the cheapest of the lot. Considering Tesla’s struggle with pricing and production, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Standard Range Model Y gets delayed or carries a higher price than announced.
All the other three variants – Long Range, Dual-motor AWD, and Performance – will launch in the fall of 2020. The Long Range version will have a range of 300 miles and the top speed of 130mph. It can go from 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds and is going to cost you $47,000. The Dual-motor AWD variant is going to set you back by $51,000. It will take just 4.8 seconds to go from 0-60mph. With a range of 280 miles, it will have a top speed of 135mph.
The Performance version is going to be the most expensive of the lot at $60,000. Elon Musk claimed it would go from 0-60mph in just 3.5 seconds. However, its range is going to be less than the Long Range model at 280 miles on single charge. The Performance Model Y will have a top speed of 150 mph.
You can reserve your Model Y by putting down a refundable deposit of $2,500. Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives said the $39,000 and $47,000 price points for the Standard Range and Long Range variants would help in the mass adoption of electric vehicles. Tesla already sells an SUV in the form of Model X, but it costs close to $90,000 and caters to the luxury segment.
While the Tesla Model Y will benefit from the growing sales of SUVs, it will not be an easy ride for Tesla. By the time Tesla starts Model Y deliveries, the market will be flooded with electric vehicles – including SUVs – from established players such as Hyundai, Toyota, BMW, Nissan, Ford, General Motors, and others. German and Japanese automakers are going to give Tesla some fierce competition in the electric SUV space.
On top of that, the Elon Musk-led company is not in the best of its financial shape. Tesla recently laid off about 7% of its workforce to cut costs. Earlier this month, the EV maker had to make a $920 million payment to retire convertible bonds, and another $183 million debt is due next month.
Oct.26, 2018 Update: Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been talking about the much-hyped Tesla Model Y on and off for years. He revealed more details about the all-electric crossover during a conference call with investors on Oct.24. The EV maker reported its first quarterly profit during the July-Sept quarter on the back of the Model 3 vehicle. Musk said Model 3 was the “best-selling car in the US in terms of revenue and the 5th best-selling car in terms of volume” during the third quarter. The positive financial results come at a time when Elon Musk is surrounded by multiple controversies.
Musk approves the Tesla Model Y final prototype
Talking about Tesla Model Y, Musk told investors that he “recently approved the prototype to go into production.” It means we could see a big unveiling event sometime soon. The fact that the final prototype has been approved for production suggests the vehicle is far along in the development process. Musk said, “We’ve made significant progress on the Model Y.”
Tesla announced the Model 3 prototype back in 2016, but it wasn’t released to the public until after undergoing additional modifications. The Model Y final prototype has been approved, so whatever we will see at the unveiling will be pretty close to what customers will be driving in the future. Back in May, Elon Musk teased that the Model Y could be unveiled “anytime from late this year to mid next year.” He mentioned March 15, 2019 as a possible Model Y unveiling date.
But consider it real. We could unveil Model Y anytime from late this year to mid next year, so March 15 is about right.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 24, 2018
So far, we have seen close to nothing about the Model Y. A number of job postings for the Model Y project have been spotted in the past. And the teaser images are shadowy, suggesting that there will be no side mirrors. Early rumors suggested that the Model Y would be based on an entirely new platform. But Tesla later decided not to develop a new platform from scratch for Model Y. Instead, the vehicle will be based on Model 3 platform to speed up the development, boost profitability and bring it to the market faster.
Where will Tesla manufacture Model Y?
Volume production won’t begin until 2020, which Tesla has been targeting for a while. Musk has promised that the Model Y would bring about a “manufacturing revolution.” The EV maker faces a big challenge when it comes to Model Y production. The Fremont facility is running to overcapacity. The company had to set up a giant tent in the parking lot of the Fremont factory to meet the demand for Model 3.
So, where will Tesla manufacture Model Y? The Gigafactory is one option. The company currently occupies only about a third of the Gigafactory to make batteries and Model 3 drivetrains. There is plenty of room to set up tools for Model Y assembly there. Another possibility is the upcoming Gigafactory in China. The China factory will start Model 3 production towards the end of 2019. Tesla could also produce Model Y in China, but setting up tools for two different vehicles will be a challenging task.
The mass-market Model 3 has faced many production challenges, but has proved to be a massive hit among consumers. It’s the reason Tesla reported its first quarterly profit in Q3 after years of burning cash. The Model 3 has become one of the top selling cars in the country at a time when sedan sales are declining rapidly in the United States. Large automakers such as Ford are focusing mainly on SUVs and trucks.
The Model Y represents a huge opportunity for Tesla, especially as SUV and crossover sales continue to improve. However, it’s not the only product Elon Musk is excited about. He told investors the one thing he was “personally most excited about” was the upcoming Tesla pickup trick, which he has teased many times in the last few months. The company also has a new Roadster in the pipeline.
Musk told investors that Tesla has “got the most exciting product roadmap of any company on Earth so far.”
May 23, 2018 – In recent Tesla Model Y news, Elon Musk has come forward with a statement that the upcoming car will represent a “manufacturing revolution.” This news comes despite the fact that the company is still struggling to get the mass-market Model 3 out of the door and to customers who have pre-ordered.
This news came in an earnings call in early May where Musk stated that Tesla up to this point had yet to spend any capital expenditures on the Model Y, but that it was spending cash on early product designs – suggesting that this “revolutionary” Tesla Model Y is set to begin production sooner rather than later.
Must has stated that he wants to avoid the pain he’s experiencing with Model 3 production, and will be taking a different approach to the Tesla Model Y when it comes time to produce the vehicles. Musk has long been a proponent of automation when it comes to manufacturing, but has since stated that he may have underestimated the importance of the human element when it comes to manufacturing. Whether this manufacturing revolution means adding in more human influence remains to be seen.
Musk has stated that the majority of the Tesla Y manufacturing process will still be automated, however, which reaffirms the company’s commitment to being a step ahead of the game in more ways than one. The car industry might not be where it needs to be for full automation, however, so it’s possible that some changes may need to be made to the process in order to make sure the Model Y production goes a little more smoothly than what we’ve seen with the Model 3.
The manufacturing changes may be more from a battery design standpoint, however, with news that Musk plans to ditch the 12-volt battery architecture that has been in used in Tesla vehicles thus far. This would dramatically simplify the process of manufacturing the vehicles, and might make it easier for the company to get the Tesla Y out of the factory and into the driveway of eager buyers
Although Musk has stated that Tesla Model Y production would begin this year in the past, he has since revised his prediction – saying that production won’t start until “early 2020” at the earliest. One of the main problems the company is facing is a lack of space to actually produce the vehicles, with the Tesla Fremon factory being “crazy packed.” Where exactly Musk plans to expand the facilities to remains to be seen, but the Tesla Model Y would certainly have to be produced elsewhere.
Feb 8, 2018 – The Tesla Model Y is one of the most important vehicles in the history of the electronic niche, and it seems that the manufacturer has a timeline in mind for this critical product. Notorious CEO Elon Musk indicates that the Model Y will be constructed on a new platform for production in “late 2019 to 2020”.
It had previously been suggested that the Tesla Model Y would utilize the Model 3 platform, with the intention of ensuring that it hit the stores at an earlier date. But this has now apparently been shelved, although the manufacturer itself has given little indication as to why this has been the case.
Nonetheless, a conference call involving Musk indicated that Tesla will begin capital investments for the Model Y by the end of the calendar year. Considering the massive undertaking that manufacturing the Tesla Model Y will be, production plans for the next-generation location are still being discussed.
However, Musk states that these will be revealed within six months at the latest, suggesting that a new factory for the Tesla Model Y will be forthcoming. This will be necessary owing to the significant increase in manufacturing efficiency that Musk envisages for the Tesla Model Y, resulting in a production capacity in excess of 1 million units annually.
“We are going to make some capital investments towards the end of this year related to Model Y. I don’t want to jump the gun on those, but I think we’ve got a good plan. I’m pretty excited about how we’re designing Model Y. It’s really taking a lot of lessons learned from Model 3 and saying how do we design something to be easy to manufacture instead of how to manufacture or difficult, really,” Musk commented during the Q4 2017 earnings call.
Not only does this represent a ramping up of production, but Tesla also intends to deliver these one-million vehicles for a smaller investment than the 500,000 annual production of the Model 3. In order to achieve this, Tesla will obviously have to initialize state of the art production methods, and the Model Y promises to be the most ambitious project that the innovative corporation has worked on thus far.
Musk describes himself as “pretty excited about the Model Y manufacturing,” explaining that Tesla intends to “avoid all the pain that they went through with Model 3 production ramp up.” This will be essential if the ambitious production targets for the Tesla Model Y are to be met.
However, at the time of writing it sounds as if the Model Y will be something of a hybrid vehicle, combining characteristics associated with several of its previous releases. Indeed, the Model Y is the first ever crossover vehicle proposed by Tesla, considered important considering that this segment is growing faster than any other in the US passenger vehicle market.
Tesla currently manufactures one sport utility vehicle, the Model X, and two sedans, and it is considered essential for the company to diversify its product range. In the key US market, it has been noted that consumers are moving away from cars, and toward SUVs and trucks.
December 28, 2017 – The Tesla Model Y is undoubtedly one of the most hotly anticipated vehicles around, yet it could also provide the foundation for yet another Tesla release.
CEO and founder Elon Musk has recently announced that the company will move into the pickup truck game in due course, and that this vehicle will go into production immediately after the Tesla Model Y is released.
With the Tesla Model Y set for a 2019-2020 window, this suggests that the pickup truck could draw strongly on the completed vehicle.
Previous releases from the electric car giant have shared wheelbases and other features, and it seems that the Tesla Model Y may be particularly influential.
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 Tesla 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 Tesla 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 Tesla 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.
2019 date mooted
And with this in mind, there are now murmurings that the car could appear in 2019. Notorious CEO Elon Musk has recently spoken out on the Tesla 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.
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 Tesla 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.