Tesla has now put the Y in S3XY.
The Tesla Model Y is finally being rolled out to people that have paid their deposits. Not only does it complete CEO Elon Musk's childish dream of a S3XY lineup, but Tesla is hoping the Model Y is another game-changer. Indeed, if one million units are built per year as Musk predicts, then it will be for Tesla. The electric car company knows that smaller and less pricey crossovers than the Model X are what customers and the EV industry want and need right now. Electric vehicles haven't been growing as fast in market share as previously predicted, but we've mainly been seeing electric cars released into an overall market dominated by crossovers. Tesla believes the Model Y compact crossover is going to give the electric car market a jolt. Here's what you should know about it.
The opening salvo of Tesla Model Y vehicles are in the five-seat arrangement. Right now, it's the Long Range with all-wheel-drive and Performance models that are being delivered. The Long Range model promises 300 miles from a battery charge and a 5.5 second zero to 60 mph time. A medium-range model is due in 2021 with a 5.9 second 0-60 mph time, a 230-mile range, and, presumably, a lower price tag. A third-row seating package is also due in 2021, along with a two-motor all-wheel-drive option. According to Tesla, the Performance model will hit 60 mph from a standstill in 3.5 seconds.
We were told by Tesla that the standard model would hit 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds, and the Tesla Model Y Performance would make the sprint in 3.5 seconds. Now, Drag Times has its hands on a freshly delivered Performance model and used Vbox telemetry to get some real-world times. According to Telemetry and the Draggy app, the rear-wheel-drive Performance model hit 60 mph in 3.79 seconds. However, another YouTuber used a Racelogic VBOX Sport device to record his Performance model clearing 0-60 mph in 3.3 seconds and 0-100 mph in 8.12 seconds.
The Model Y is built using the Model 3 sedan's platform, but the size specifications are quite different. The Model Y is 2.2 inches longer, and 2.8 inches wider. It's not just wider in body, though, as the track is also increased by 2.2 inches, and the wheelbase is extended by 0.6 inches. The Model Y also has an extra 1.1 inches of ground clearance for a total of 6.6 inches. Most importantly, for a crossover, the Model Y is 7.2 inches taller than the Model 3. The result for the cabin is that the rear passengers get an extra 5.3 inches of legroom and 1.7 inches more headroom. The Model Y also has 58 cubic feet of cargo space.
One of the biggest issues with using an electric vehicle in colder climates is seeing the range drop. Batteries don't do well when their temperature drops dramatically, but the Model Y features something not available on the Model Model 3, S, and X - a heat pump. It doesn't heat the battery but instead removes the need for traditional heating elements used to warm the cabin. The drawback of using an electric resistive heating system is that it draws even more power from a battery already suffering due to the cold. The oversimplified version is that the heat pump pulls warm air from where it's being generated into a reservoir, and Tesla is reversing the air conditioning system, so the coolant is warmed by the reservoir and transferring the warmth into the cabin. It's taking advantage of the coolant's low boiling point to transfer the heat effectively. It's not the first time this technique has been used, but Musk has been singing his engineers' praises for the implementation.
Elon Musk has a habit of over-estimating sales and production figures. In 2016, for example, he expected Tesla to build 500,000 cars by the end of 2018, but only just scraped over the halfway line. In early 2019, he claimed Tesla would build 500,000 cars before quickly backtracking to say 400,000. Tesla then sold 367,500 vehicles in that year. However, 2019 was a record year and the Model 3 is selling well worldwide.
In February, Tesla had to ask customers ordering the seven-seater Model Y if they would like the five-seater version so they could get it sooner. This suggests that Tesla is building the five-seater Model Y at a faster pace than the company can sell them. That's new territory for the company as it has been struggling from the start to meet delivery deadlines. It could also mean that people are waiting for the cheaper models to be made available, which also bodes well for Tesla as it was the huge volume of Model 3 sales that made for its record year in 2019.
According to the Tesla website: "Model Y will have Full Self-Driving capability, enabling automatic driving on city streets and highways pending regulatory approval." For clarity, Self Driving means you have to have your hands on the wheel while the car drives, but, as someone from Tesla just told us, full driving is "For the most part," and you'll have to take over "For example, if there is road works." You can order your Model Y with Full Self Driving now, but it appears you'll need to be as confident in that regulatory approval coming as Tesla when you tick the costly option.
Self Driving has some cool abilities, though, and, when approved, will be able to use the on-board navigation feature to go from highway on-ramp to off-ramp, including interchanges. It will be able to make automatic lane changes and overtake slower cars. It also features auto park for both perpendicular and parallel spaces and can be summoned to come and find you when you're ready to leave again.
The Tesla Model Y Long Range model costs $52,990 before any incentives are applied, such as federal and local tax breaks for electric vehicles. The Performance Model comes in at $60,990. Any color but white paint costs an extra $1,000, and 19-inch Gemini Wheels are standard. Your interior will be black unless you want to pay $1,000 for white, and ordering the seven-seat layout inside costs $3,000. Autopilot is now included as standard, and anyone that paid for it will find the price removed from the order automatically. Full Self Driving capability costs another $7,000.