A Low-Key Elon Musk Unveils the Tesla Model Y Crossover SUV

Model Y

Up to now, Tesla's only offering in the segment has been the Model X, and while it's a very slick (and absurdly fast) people mover, it's also very expensive. "It has the functionality of an SUV, but it will ride like a sports vehicle", CEO Elon Musk told the audience at Tesla's design studio in Hawthorne, Calif.

The Model Y seats seven, and features a panoramic glass roof, front trunk, and split-folding second-row seats. While that vehicle won't be available until spring 2021, the long-range real-wheel drive ($47,000), dual-motor all-wheel drive ($51,000), and performance ($60,000) models are due in fall 2020.

As mentioned, the initial roadmap for Model Y will see the first iteration of the vehicle becoming available in 2020.

It is expected to share many design cues with the Model 3 sedan, though.

"Because of extreme challenges with the Model 3 production, we have to basically allocate all resources to Model 3 production, because otherwise we're going to die", Musk said with a chuckle, eliciting laughs from the crowd.

Model Y
Teased image of Model Y from Tesla

The more affordable Model Y will be produced some months later, hopefully not echoing the lag and drama over the $35k Model 3 Standard Range.

The Model Y is priced at $39k, for the standard range variant, and goes up to $75k for the 7-seater AWD Performance variant with Full Self-Driving capability. Not that that's a bad thing: the Model 3 has already proved itself to be a solid entry into the EV market. Interestingly, South Africa is not listed on the order page, although it was listed when the Model 3 was revealed. Range will be lower, however, with 230 miles available between charges. In the USA, Tesla requires a deposit of $2.500 and lists all variants except the basic model "Standard Range". If the Model Y does away with Tesla's trademark consumer-pleasing uniqueness without improving its efficiency with investor capital, the Model Y could signal the beginning of the end of an automaker that will make a fascinating case study for generations. not with a bang, but with a whimper.

In running the opposite direction from Model X's Fabergé Egg uniqueness and ambition, the Model Y has for the first time put Tesla in the position of facing criticism of a poorly-differentiated design.

Remember, Tesla with the Model 3 claimed that it learned a tremendous amount from the production issues that plagued the Model S and Model X, only to find out that Tesla went off and created brand new production problems with the Model 3 by relying too heavily upon automation. Ordering the auto requires a 2,500 USA dollars refundable deposit.

Tesla Inc's Model Y electric sports utility vehicle is pictured in this undated handout photo released on March 14, 2019. More importantly, it gives us a good glimpse of what Tesla expects to have completed less than a year after its January 6 ground breaking event.

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