The Tesla Model Y is the first mid-size SUV from the electric car maker, completing the firm's tongue-in-cheek S, 3, X, Y vehicle lineup.
It's a smaller version of the Model X, with five or seven seats and a lower price tag.
Details of the Model Y were initially scarce for months following its announcement, but at its official launch at Tesla's LA Design Studio in March 2019 we were given a handful of specs.
Fast-forward a year, and the first customers have taken delivery of their Tesla Model Y – in the US, at least – which means we know a lot more about the all-electric SUV. We've collated all the important information on the Model Y, so here's everything you need to know…
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Tesla Model Y price and availability
You can order a Tesla Model Y right now in the US, with deliveries having started in March 2020, and Tesla is currently quoting an eight-to-12 week lead time for new orders at time of writing (May 2020).
However, currently you can only choose from the pricier dual-motor all-wheel-drive Long Range and Performance models, as the most affordable Tesla Model Y variant (the Standard Range spec level) won't be available until early 2021.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Standard Range||Long Range||Performance|
|Range (miles)||230||316||Up to 315|
|Top Speed (mph)||120||135||Up to 155|
The Tesla Model Y comes as a 5-seater as standard, but a 7-seated Model Y will be made available in 2021 – it'll cost you an additional $3,000 (around £2,500, AU$4,600) for those seats.
Tesla will bring the Model Y to more countries, including the UK and Australia, but details of its price and release date outside of the US have yet to be confirmed.
What is the Tesla Model Y?
"It starts with a Y, ends with a Y, and has Y in the middle," announced Tesla CEO Elon Musk cryptically as he introduced the latest vehicle in his company's lineup at its California Design Studio.
The Tesla Model Y is an all-electric compact SUV, and will be available in three variants: Standard Range, Long Range and Performance.
The Model Y seats up to seven (although initially it's only available as a 5-seater), with a panoramic glass roof like the Model 3, and high seating. The front trunk and split-folding second-row seats provide 68 cubic feet (1.9 cubic meters) of storage space.
The Model Y has no keys, and is instead locked and unlocked using a smartphone app. The car also supports remote unlock, summon, remote pre-conditioning, and speed limit mode. Infotainment is controlled via a single 15-inch touchscreen in the dashboard.
Introducing a compact SUV line makes sense as a move for Tesla, considering the success of compact SUVs like the Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape in the US.
Musk is clearly aware of the value of this market, referring to it at the "biggest product segment in the world", with electric challengers including the likes of the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Audi e-Tron and Kia e-Niro.
Tesla Model Y design
The Model Y design borrows styling points from both the Model 3 and the Model X, as Tesla looked to create its first compact SUV. The low, squat front end echos the Model 3, while the taller mid and rear sections are more reminiscent of the larger Model X.
Those hoping for the gull-wing rear doors of the X to make a return on the Tesla Model Y are out of luck though, as it comes with standard (and dare we say, more practical) doors front and rear.
Depending on the model you choose, you'll have the choice between 19-, 20- and 21-inch wheels, plus five paint colors: Pearl White, Solid Black, Midnight Silver, Deep Blue, and Red. Pearl White is the default color, with all other options costing extra.
Inside you have the choice of five or seven seats (as mentioned, the 7-seat option is arriving in 2021), and you can opt for one of two interior-trim color schemes. Black is standard option, which sees the seats and dash finished in – yup you've guessed it – black.
If you're willing to pay extra though, you can have your Tesla Model Y interior finished in black and white, which adds a large white section to the seats, and white flashes to the dash and door panels.
As mentioned, you get up to 68 cubic feet of storage if you fold down the rear seats, and including the front trunk, as there's no combustion engine taking up space under the hood.
Tesla Model Y performance
The top-spec Performance version of the Tesla Model Y accelerates from 0-60mph in just 3.5 seconds, and boasts a top speed of 155mph.
The Standard Range variant isn't quite as quick, taking 5.9 seconds to reach 60mph from a standing start, and topping out at 120mph. That's still a highly impressive 0-60mph time though, especially when you consider that this is a SUV and not a petite two-seater sports car.
The Standard Range car's battery has a range of 230 miles, while the battery in the Long Range model boosts that to 316 miles. At the launch, Musk claimed that these are the average usable ranges that you can expect from the cars in real life.
Tesla Model Y technology and charging
As with all other Tesla electric cars, the Model Y has a huge touchscreen taking up most of the space above the center console.
The 15-inch landscape screen has the same orientation as the panel in the Model 3. It provides access to infotainment services such as the radio, Spotify and navigation, and also controls for climate, seats and a host of other features.
There's Bluetooth connectivity for your smartphone, allowing you to stream media to the car, and you can set up multiple driver profiles, which can save personalized seat and steering wheel positions, as well as various audio and other settings.
In the center console you'll find storage, four USB ports, and docking for two smartphones. As for audio, the Model Y packs in a premium system comprising 14 speakers, one subwoofer and two amps for immersive sound.
You'll be sitting in comfort too, with 12-way power-adjustable front and rear heated seats.
When it comes to recharging the Tesla Model Y you'll find it still falls way behind traditional, gas-guzzling vehicles in terms of the time it takes to refill.
However, Tesla has an extensive network of 'superchargers' across North America, Europe, the UK, and a number of other countries around the world, which provide super-fast charging.
Usually found at rest stops and service stations, but also in cities, a Tesla supercharger will be able to recharge a Tesla Model Y by 158 miles in 15 minutes.
Tesla Model Y self-driving capability
The Tesla Model Y has the technology to be able to drive itself, but fully autonomous self-driving isn't provided as standard.
What you do get included in the base price is Tesla's autopilot technology, which "enables your car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically for other vehicles and pedestrians within its lane".
Autopilot is for use on highways and multi-lane carriageways, and requires the driver to remain alert and keep their hands on the steering wheel. If the Model Y senses that you're getting distracted it'll cancel the autopilot mode (after a few warnings) and return to manual control.
However, for those of you who like the idea of an autonomous car – and live in a location where it's legal to drive autonomously – you can opt to add full self-driving capability to your Tesla Model Y for the princely sum of $7,000 (around £6,000, AU$10,000).
The Full Self-Driving Capability on the Model Y allows for the following:
- Navigate on Autopilot: automatic driving from highway on-ramp to off-ramp, including interchanges and overtaking slower vehicles.
- Auto Lane Change: automatic lane changes while driving on the highway.
- Autopark: both parallel and perpendicular spaces.
- Summon: your parked car will come and find you anywhere in a parking lot. Really.
- Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control: assisted stops at traffic-controlled intersections.
Coming later this year to Tesla's Full Self-Driving Capability:
- Autosteer on city streets
If the additional cost for the Full Self-Driving Capability on the Model Y is a little steep at the point of you buying the fully electric SUV, you can add the Full Self-Driving Computer at a later date.
However, as Tesla releases more features for its self-driving tech, the post-purchase price of this computer will likely increase as time goes by.
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