Tesla and company observers had said that the midsize, mass-market Model 3 sedan was critical to the EV startup's success, but consumer tastes have favored crossovers, SUVs, and four door pickup trucks. Tesla already sells the Model X crossover, but it starts at $88,000. Midsize crossovers are where the action is and now Tesla now has something to offer in that very competitive market segment.
Last night Tesla's Elon Musk revealed the company's latest vehicle, the Model Y crossover, with the rear-wheel-drive version starting at $47,000, before tax incentives. It has 300 miles of range, can accommodate up to 7 adults if you order the $3,000 optional third row of seating, and can hold up to 66 cubic feet of cargo. The more expensive all-wheel-drive models, the $51,000 Long Range and $60,000 Performance, have slightly less range, at 280 miles. All versions come with a full-length panoramic sunroof.
Buying a more expensive Model Y won't get you more range, but it does add a second traction motor, for the mentioned AWD, as well as more performance. The base model has a top speed of 130 mph with a 0-60 mph time of 5.5 seconds, the AWD Long Range can reach 150 mph and does 0-60 in 4.8 seconds, and the loaded AWD Performance has the same top speed but has a 3.5 second 0-60 time.
The AWD models have a motor on each axle, with precision control of torque helping with traction and handling. Tesla even mentions off-road use, though you can probably expect about as many Model Ys to leave pavement as Bentley Bentaygas. Should one motor stop working, a failsafe mode allows you to get home on a single motor.
The 300 miles of range is plenty to get from New York City to Boston and just about enough to go from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, or Detroit to Chicago. If you do need to top up the charge, Tesla says that one of its 12,000+ Superchargers on well-traveled routes can give drivers an additional 168 miles of range in 15 minutes, for a fee. Tesla ended free access to Supercharging for new Teslas last September.
Tesla's self-driving Autopilot system is a $3,000 option on the Model Y and includes autopark for both parallel and perpendicular parking spaces, a summons feature to bring your car to you from its parking spot, and semi-autonomous driving on both highways and city streets (pending regulatory approval). Other driver assist features, like emergency braking, collision warning, and blind-spot monitoring, are standard equipment.
The interior continues Tesla's tradition of simple and clean cabins, with a low dashboard naked of any instrumentation save for the 15 inch touch screen. All the seats are heated, while the driver and front passenger get 12-way, power adjustable thrones. The back seats fold flat independently for flexible cargo carrying. A 14 speaker, premium sound system with powered subwoofer provides for an immersive audio experience. You can also browse the internet or enjoy your favorite streaming music or media.
Tesla says that production and deliveries will begin in early 2020.