Whether you like electric cars or simply own Tesla stock, here’s some good news: Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has approved the Model Y prototype for production, and an unveiling is imminent.
Here’s what we know so far:
It will be the fifth vehicle in the Tesla lineup. The Model Y will be a crossover, similar to the Model 3 sedan, but taller and with a hatch. It could feature “Falcon Wing” doors and a panoramic windshield, just like the larger Model X, boasting similar performance as well (200 to 300 miles of range on a single charge, and 3.5- to 5.5-second 0-60 mph acceleration times). Production should start in 2020, while the official unveiling is scheduled for this year, perhaps in March. Now, if we take into account that Tesla plans to release a fully autonomous self-driving system in 2019 (ahead of other car manufacturers), there’s a good chance that the Model Y will have that feature — or something close to it.
As for the design, Tesla
released two outline concept drawings (the larger one is above), which don’t give away too much. You can’t even make out the doors, and you can’t see the back of the car.
However, even a small amount of info was enough to spur the imagination of internet designers, like this one:
Tesla has already built over 150,000 Model 3 vehicles, and Musk plans eventually to sell 500,000 to a million crossovers a year. The price is unknown at this point, but Musk did mention a possible $5,000 price increase over the Model 3, so $40,000 at the low end might be in the ballpark.
So far, only one production location is known: the Tesla Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai. That factory will produce not only the Model Y, but also the Model 3, starting at 250,000 units per year. Tesla’s stated goal is to double the production rate so the factory eventually will be able to produce 500,000 vehicles a year. All of the vehicles produced at Tesla Gigafactory 3 will be built for the Chinese market. This was probably done to counter the effect of the U.S.-China trade war, but it’s unknown where production hubs for the rest of the world will be.
The Verge reports that the Fremont, Calif., car factory is maxed out with Model 3 production, and Gigafactory 1 in Nevada isn’t fit for auto production (without expensive upgrades), so it’s possible that the production for the rest of the world could be switched to a Tesla factory in Europe. Still, Business Insider reported that, according to internal documents, Tesla was planning Model Y production at Gigafactory 1. Tesla responded that those documents were outdated.
As for production itself, Musk claims the Model Y will bring a “manufacturing revolution” in 2020. Much of this has to do with fixing mistakes the company made in producing the Model 3. Not all the details are known, but some problems will be rectified by getting rid of the 12-volt battery architecture, which will reduce wiring complexity and simplify/speed up production. Having said that, the Model Y will still share a certain number of Model 3 parts.
Would you consider buying Tesla’s Model Y? Please let me know in the comment section below.
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