As promised, Tesla has officially entered the midsize crossover segment with its latest EV, the long-rumored Model Y, which starts at $39,000 for the Standard Range (230 miles) model. Higher-spec models will boast ranges of up to 300 miles and 0-60 acceleration times as quick as 3.5 seconds.
“It has the functionality of an SUV, but it will ride like a sports car,” CEO Elon Musk said.
With the company’s Los Angeles Design Studio as a backdrop, Musk took to the stage tonight to reveal the Y after hinting on social media that it would bear a strong family resemblance to the earlier Model 3 compact sedan — only a bit larger.
Model Y, being an SUV, is about 10% bigger than Model 3, so will cost about 10% more & have slightly less range for same battery
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 3, 2019
The new offering should be similar in size to market-leading midsize crossovers like the Honda Pilot, though at a starting price of $39,000, it could be a more likely competitor with cars like the Audi Q5 ($42,950). An optional third row bumps seating capacity to seven and overall cargo volume reaches 66 cubic feet if you include the front trunk storage area and fold the second-row seats down. The Model Y also supports the company’s Autopilot assisted-driving tech, and Musk reiterated he expects the feature to boast full self-driving capability by year’s end.
As with the Model 3 launch, Tesla will be delivering higher-spec models to start, with Long Range, Dual Motor AWD, and Performance trims slated for release in fall 2020. The $39,000 Standard Range model is expected by spring 2021.
Tesla Model Y Comparison
Along with the soon-to-be revamped Roadster, Tesla’s range now includes the S, 3, X, and Y (get it?). Of course, this isn’t Tesla’s first entry into the SUV field. The earlier Model X came to market with its own share of unique design elements, including signature falcon wing doors for second- and third-row occupants. With a starting cost of $88,000, however, the larger X is playing in a different league in terms of size and pricing. The Y is a fair bit smaller and eschews those fancy doors for a more traditional SUV layout. In fact, Musk mentioned how adventurous the company got with the pricier X.
“We kind of got carried away, actually, with the Model X,” he said, likening it to a Fabergé egg combined with a spaceship.
The industry will likely keep a close eye on the Model Y’s somewhat staggered rollout to see if Tesla has learned from past launches, where availability and quality control on initial vehicles were called into question.
For its part, the company touted the progress it’s made in building large numbers of vehicles. Musk mentioned Tesla had produced around 550,000 total vehicles in the past 11 years, but expects to hit the 1 million mark by year’s end. And the company seems optimistic about the Model Y’s chances in the incredibly popular midsize crossover/SUV market, with Musk ending the event saying he expects the Model Y to outsell the S, 3, and X combined.
Featured Image: Tesla