SUVs and crossovers have taken over the passenger car segment of the automotive market, and things won't be any different with electric vehicles.
Tesla looks ready for the battle, as it has two SUVs on offer – the Model X and the new Model Y. The latter is simpler and significantly cheaper, and it will undoubtedly be the company's biggest moneymaker, along with the Model 3.
The Model Y doesn’t have gull-wing doors or any other fancy detail we can find in the Model X. It aims at a much wider range of buyers – those who can't afford the more prestigious bigger brother. Though significantly cheaper, this CUV still offers respectable performances, excellent autonomy, and high-level versatility. It even features three rows of seats, despite the relatively compact size.
To state it simply, the Tesla Model Y is a reference among electric crossovers, a vehicle that has instantly become a gold standard in the fast-growing industry of electric cars.
The First Generation of Tesla Model Y (2020-Present)
It all started in 2013 when Tesla filed to trademark this nameplate. The development immediately began, and the prototype came out in 2015. However, Elon Musk didn’t want to push things too hard, so the engineers took their time to develop this crossover.
After a couple of prototypes, the serial production version was finalised in 2018, and the plan was to start production soon after. However, due to some issues with the Model 3 (on which the Model Y is based), production didn't start until the last quarter of 2019.
The first deliveries began in the first quarter of 2020. Meanwhile, the Tesla Model Y Australia still waits for its debut.
Design-wise, this crossover heavily relies on Model 3. The two models share the same platform and most of the parts. Furthermore, even the styling looks pretty similar, especially at the front, where things are nearly identical.
While the same platform underpins both models, Model Y is slightly bigger. It features a 16-mm longer wheelbase, while the total length goes up to 4,750mm, which is 56-mm longer than Tesla's sedan. Of course, the main difference is in the ground clearance, which is 30-mm higher in the Model Y.
Mechanically, the two models are nearly identical and use the same electric motors and batteries. Due to a heavier weight, this crossover is slightly slower and offers a slightly shorter range.
Other than the 30-mm difference in ground clearance, the suspension setup is largely the same. The base design is identical, which means that you may count on a double-wishbone independent front suspension, while the rear axle comes with an independent multi-link suspension setup.
Logically, the Tesla Model Y features a higher centre of gravity, which causes a little bit of body roll and makes this crossover not as sporty as the sedan sibling, which offers pretty engaging handling and overall performance.
Tesla Model Y Dimensions
- Length: 4,750mm
- Width: 1,920mm
- Height: 1,623mm
- Wheelbase: 2,891mm
- Ground Clearance: 170mm
- Weight: 2,003kg
A tight connection with the Model 3 can be seen on the inside as well. The Tesla Model Y interior features the same dashboard design characterised by a simplistic approach and has no physical buttons and knobs. Instead, everything is controlled via a massive tablet-like touchscreen.
One of the strongest points of this crossover is interior space. The cabin is cleverly designed, and as there is no internal combustion engine at the front, the front seats are moved forward, leaving enough room for two more rows. Therefore, the Model Y comes with three rows of seats, despite its relatively compact size. The cargo area expands all the way to 1,925 litres.
Like any other Tesla model, the Model Y comes with a long list of standard equipment, especially tech features. Although the new model is yet to arrive in Australia, we don't believe that things could be significantly different from models offered in other parts of the world.
Therefore, all versions should come standard with a massive 15-inch touchscreen, as well as navigation, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth, four USB ports, 14-speaker stereo and HD Radio, and an entire pack of advanced driver aids and safety features.
The Tesla Model Y also comes equipped with a Full Self-Driving computer, but buyers have to pay extra to unlock the software. In North America, this feature is called the Full Self-Driving Capability package, and it costs 10,000 USD, which would be around 13,440 AUD.
One of the biggest issues with electric cars has always been cold weather and heating. The first EV cars used electric resistance for heating and could lose up to 40% of their range during cold weather. Even though this probably won’t bother drivers from this part of the world too much, it’s good to know that the Model Y is the first Tesla car that uses a heat pump. According to the company, this method of heating is 300% more efficient.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that this isn’t the first electric car to use a heat pump. Models like Nissan LEAF, Kia Niro, Audi e-Tron, Jaguar I-Pace and BMW i3 have been using heat pumps for a while.
Although the Tesla Model Y Australia Release Date is yet to be announced, we know that there will be two variants of the crossover on the offer. RWD versions won’t be offered, nor will the Standard Range model be. You will have a choice of the two most capable variants – Long Range and Performance.
Both models feature the same battery pack located under the floor. The capacity is 75kWh, and according to Tesla, the Long Range model will feature a max range of 505km, while the Performance model will be capable of 480 kilometres between charges.
Also, both models feature a dual motor setup, with one electric motor on each axle. So, the main difference will be in power. Tesla advertises acceleration and top speed only. The Long Range model can hit 100km/h in about 5 seconds, while the top speed is 217 km/h. On the other hand, the Tesla Model Y Performance needs 3.7 seconds to complete the same sprint, while the top speed is around 240 km/h.
Although Tesla doesn’t offer any numbers regarding max output, unofficial Dyno runs have shown that the Long Range model features a combined output of 384 horsepower (286 kW). The rear electric motor is good for about 283 hp (211 kW), while the front electric motor puts out 197 hp (147 kW). As for the Model Y Performance, the combined output goes up to 456 horsepower (340 kW)
Tesla Model Y Long Range Specs
- Max Output (unofficial): 286kW
- Acceleration (0-100km/h): 5.0s
- Top Speed: 217km/h
- Battery Capacity: 75kWh
- Max Range: 505km
Tesla Model Y Performance Specs
- Max Output (unofficial): 340kW
- Acceleration (0-100km/h): 3.7s
- Top Speed: 241km/h
- Battery Capacity: 75kWh
- Max Range: 480km
The Tesla Model Y is currently assembled in two locations – Freemont, California and Shanghai, China. Further production plans also include Tesla’s new factory in Berlin, Germany.
Will Tesla Prices Go Down in 2022?
The Tesla Model Y is not yet available in this part of the world, but we expect that the first deliveries could start next year. What's important to know is that the price may be lower than was initially expected. As you probably know, Tesla recently lowered the starting price for the Model 3, which is now available at $59,900.
The initial estimations for the Tesla Model Y price in Australia were around $70,000, but with the recent changes, experts suggest the starting price may go down to $65,900. We expect more updates on this matter in the near future.
By Nebojsa Grmusa