After nearly four years of work, Tesla will eventually unveil the compact
Model Y SUV during an event in Los Angeles. While we have not yet seen a
complete picture of the new electric car, Tesla and CEO Elon Musk have
spent the last few years, months and days before the unveiling outline a
decent outline of what to expect.
Generally speaking, the Model Y will be a crucial car for Tesla that
presents the company with a huge opportunity. Simply put, SUVs are selling
like hotcakes these days. Currently they represent about 49% of the new
automotive market in the United States, according to JD Power, and more
than half of the customers who bought a vehicle last year in the $ 30,000
to $ 50,000 price range bought an SUV.
SUVS ARE SELLING LIKE HOTCAKES
In other words, you could build an SUV with Lego and sell it for five
figures in the US right now. So if all goes well, the demand for a machine
like the Model Y should be strong.
We don’t know exactly what’s in store for tonight (and both Tesla and Musk
seem to love surprises), but here are our best guesses.
The Model Y will share approximately 75 percent of the parts that make up
Model 3, so we can expect it to offer similar performance, style and
overall costs. We don’t have the exact specifications on the Y model yet,
but Musk offered ballpark estimates on Twitter just 11 days ago. He said
the Model Y will be about 10 percent larger than a Model 3, cost about 10
percent more and “has a slightly lower range for [the] same battery”.
This means that the Y model should eventually start at around $ 38,500, and
run up to around $ 63,800 (before options like autopilot). Of course, Tesla
is likely to start producing and selling the more expensive versions of the
Model Y when it goes into production in 2020, as they will have higher
margins. One thing to look for tonight is if Musk offers a timeline for the
basic version of Model Y.
If the Model Y has “a slightly lower range” with the same battery, this
means that the basic version (which will probably be referred to as the
“standard model of the Y range”) will offer just under 220 miles at full
load. The most expensive Y model will be able to travel about 300 miles.
Try modifying the latest darkest teaser image that Tesla has released for
Model Y in order to take a look at what it looks like. I challenge you. All
you can achieve is a slightly faded image with a hidden message: “Nice try”.
That said, the difference between the new teaser image and the one Tesla
distributed some years ago is significant. The new image really shows the
shape of the Model Y in a way that the old image does not have. It’s never
easy to get an idea of what a car will look like until you see it in its
entirety (which, duh), but Tesla’s latest teaser gives the impression that
the Model Y looks like a taller Model 3 , more sharply inclined. What
certainly won’t be a car that is large or bulky like the Model X.