A less expensive version with a 330-mile range is coming. Supposedly.
It's been a long time coming, but it looks like the entry cost of a Tesla Model Y is set to drop from $65,990 to $61,990 via a new configuration.
According to Electrek, via a couple of people tracking code changes on Tesla's official website, a dual-motor all-wheel-drive powertrain, 279-mile range version of the extremely popular crossover is queued up in the configurator with a price tag of $61,990. Currently, the least expensive Model Y configuration is $65,990, with a range of 330 miles. For now, the new configuration only exists in the Tesla website's source code, and there's no indication of when it will go public.
The new configuration appears to match one that was only available to employees since April 2022. The model features Tesla's new 4680 cylindrical battery cells from the Texas Gigafactory and new structural battery pack technology. Also, according to the source, the new standard mile model hits 60 mph in five seconds - just 0.2 seconds more than the existing Long Range model.
Tesla likely started off offering the new configuration to employees as it needed time to ramp up production of the batteries before making them publicly available. Recently, Tesla announced production has ramped up enough for 1,000 cars per week.
Tesla has been coasting along on its existing and essentially unchanged models for a while now. Still, it's clear that between changes in eligibility for the $7,500 federal credit and a massive increase in competition, Tesla needs a cheaper model available in the US.
Elon Musk's self-sabotaging of his personal brand, which is woven into Tesla's company image, can't be helping, either. However, $61,990 isn't a drastically lower price than $65,990 and is not likely to help the Model Y achieve Musk's claim it will become the best-selling car in the world "as soon as next year (2023)." That's currently the Toyota Corolla which starts at $21,550.