When Tesla CEO Elon Musk first set out on his dream of making electric cars not only cool, but profitable, the automotive world seemed to let out a collective chuckle.
Update: Elon Musk has confirmed the Model Y will go into production in 2020, which is later than originally expected.
13 years later and Tesla is one of the coolest car makers on the planet, and with a recent report of taking £2.79 billion in revenue, it clearly isn't doing too badly with sales either.
Now that the Model 3 has officially hit the roads, we are looking forward to the next car that Tesla is working on. The Model Y is Tesla’s new compact SUV, and completes the running joke in Elon Musk’s naming scheme, with the Model S, Model X and the recent Model 3.
The Model 3 was originally going to be called the E, making it a perfect fit, but due to a legal clash with Ford over the use of the letter E, Tesla went with it’s visual numerical equivalent.
To be fair, the fact that the Y is coming along makes us a little more comfortable with the joke; it’s still juvenile but at least a car manufacturer hasn’t just plastered the word sex over its range.
Although to be fair, it does mean it can make jokes like this:
S, 3, X on a bridge pic.twitter.com/2E57xqkTVYJuly 29, 2017
There isn’t a great deal known about the Model Y at the moment but everything we know we’ve included below and we’ll keep you up to date with developments as and when we hear them.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The compact SUV from electric car giant Tesla
- What’s the range? Currently unknown
- How do I reserve one? You can’t yet
- When is it out? 2020
- What will it cost? Currently unknown, likely less than the X
- How fast is it? Currently unknown
Tesla Model Y: What is it?
The Model Y will be the first compact SUV offering from the electric car manufacturer. It makes sense as a move for Tesla, considering the success of other compact SUV’s like the Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape in the US market. Musk is obviously aware of the value of the compact SUV market, referring to it at the “biggest product segment in the world”.
According to a tweet from Musk, the Model Y is going to be built off the Model 3 chassis. This is interesting as Tesla already has an SUV (the Model X), so the fact that it’s being built off the chassis of the 3 potentially means it is aiming for a similar customer base.
The Model 3 was a departure from the usual modus operandi; starting at $35,000 (£30,000, about AU$45,700) it was the first car that sat in a price bracket that was more ‘general consumer’ friendly.
According to the tweet from Elon Musk confirming that the Y is going to be built of the 3, he also confirmed that the ‘Spacebus’ was going to be built off the X. This is almost definitely going to be a minibus, but considering Musk’s other project SpaceX, the naming has led people to jokingly speculate that it would be for non-earth driving.
Model Y (compact SUV) off Model 3 chassis. Tesla Bus/Minibus/Spacebus off Model X.July 31, 2016
Information about the Model Y is still pretty thin on the ground considering that it’s in the early stages of its development.
We know what it’s going to look like… well, we have had a very shadowy glimpse of what it’s going to look like thanks to the image shared by Musk.
Tesla Model Y: Release date
Originally Musk had claimed that the Model Y was going to be manufactured in a way entirely independent of the Model 3, and was due for a 2019 / 2020 release.
However, at an earnings report, Musk changed his stance and said “The Model Y will be using substantial carryover from Model 3, which means it will come to market much faster.”
Sadly though, that's not going to happen, as on a recent conference call in May 2018, Musk confirmed the Model Y wouldn't enter production until early 2020.
Tesla Model Y: What we’d like to see
At the moment it looks like the Model Y is going to follow in the footsteps of the Model X in that it is going to have the ‘Falcon doors’ that open up rather than out. While this is a feature that definitely makes an impact, we aren’t sure it’s something we really need.
As with all the electric cars coming to market at the moment, one of the main features that we are really bothered about is range between charging. While the infrastructure to support charging of electric vehicles is improving, it still isn’t in a place where we would feel 100% confident that moving to an all-electric vehicle wouldn’t negatively affect our driving patterns.
Given that the Model 3 has a starting range of approximately 215, there is a possibility that the Y would be similar, but our concern is that the larger car could have a negative impact on range.
Ideally we would like to see the ability to tow that we saw in the Model X carry over to the Model Y. When introduced, it was the first electric car to offer the feature, and to be honest, if the electric car is going to truly replace the combustion engine vehicle, it will need to be able to handle the heavy lifting that its fossil fueled counterparts are currently capable of.
On top of that are the features that we’ve come to know and love from Tesla, like it’s showstopping Ludicrous mode that ramps up the acceleration to (as you’d imagine) ludicrous levels.
As we learn more about the Model Y we will update this piece so keep checking back here for all the latest.
- Want to know more about Tesla's latest offering the Model 3? Check out: Tesla Model 3 release date, news and features