Elon Musk’s surprise reveal could be a number of things, but we have our money on the Model Y.
It used to be that car buyers would forgo a sunroof only when buying sports cars in order to keep the center of gravity low. Tesla is poised to change that rule in the near future by replacing its panoramic sunroofs with solar panels. That was only one of the two major announcements that CEO Elon Musk made this week. His other disclosure, possibly one of his most important, was in regards to a surprise reveal that’s set to take place on October 17 that has many thinking we’re about to see the Model Y come to life.
Outlined in part two of his master plan Musk mentioned how he is striving towards a future of autonomous sustainable vehicles and electric shipping vehicles. Then just a few weeks ago, Tesla confirmed that it was working on an all-electric lineup that included a people-carrying minibus, a Ford Transit-fighting cargo van, and an F-150-challenging pickup truck all based on the Model X. As far as we know, the reveal could be any one of those or even be a new piece of technology entirely. However, before part two of Musk’s plan for his companies hit Tesla’s blog, the CEO tweeted that there would be another model reveal following the Model 3. It was to be called the Model Y and be based off of the chassis of the smaller Model 3.
Supposedly, one was to get Falcon Wing doors and the other was not. We’ve already seen the Model 3 and its very normal mode of ingress and egress, so if Monday’s reveal turns out to be a new Tesla vehicle, you can all but place a bet on it being the Model Y. So what exactly is the Model Y? If Musk knows what he’s doing, then it’s a smaller and cheaper SUV alternative to the Model X aimed at those who would otherwise buy a Mercedes GLC or BMW X3. Thankfully, the Model 3 appears to come prepared for the transition. It's tall roofline in the rear leads to an abrupt ending, giving the Model 3 the look of a Model S and Model X spawn that's been shrunk. All it would take to turn the Model 3 into the Model Y is a few changes.
First and most apparent would be the raised suspension. The Model Y might not be the off-roader's first pick to hit the Rubicon with, but the extra inches should help when loading kids into the rear seats. So will the Falcon Wing doors for that matter. Tesla may or may not stretch the body upwards to make it more than just an Crosstrek/Allroad conversion, but we don't expect the original recipe to be altered too much. Whether or not the Model Y is released on the 17th, the evidence only continues to mount. One more piece of evidence that could be highlighting the crossover’s existence is a quiet move pulled by Tesla earlier this week. Without a word, the automaker discontinued its entry-level Model X, the 60D, which started at around $74,000.
That’s likely more money than a midsize crossover buyer is looking to spend, but the move could be a strategy to make room by widening the gap between the top trims of a potential Model Y and its larger Model X sibling. Clues aside, the Model Y simply makes sense. If Tesla wants to maximize its current position under the spotlight while simultaneously expanding its model lineup, a small or mid-sized SUV is the next logical step. Currently, the large German automakers are scrambling to fill the sales leak sprung by the Model S with their own solutions. Porsche is working furiously on the Mission E, which takes many cues from the Model S, and both BMW and Mercedes have debuted their own electric sub brands.
Once the Germans have their electric Model S fighters, they would need entry-level sedans and then SUVs. Leaked images of what could become BMW’s next i vehicle show what appears to be a radical looking SUV. To beat BMW and the rest of the Germans to the punch, a Model Y release would not only make sense, it would serve as an important stepping stone to solidify Tesla as a permanent automaker and not just a fad with fervent supporters keeping it alive. For better or for worse, part of the allure behind Tesla and Musk’s companies as a whole is the fact that nobody knows what they’re going to come up with next. That element of surprise is a card Musk likes to play frequently, and for now, it’s working.
Given that Monday’s reveal is supposed to be an “unexpected” one, there’s really no telling what it could be. But in the interest of seeing a crossover whip from 0-60 mph in Ludicrous mode, we have our fingers crossed that it’s the Model Y.